Kowaliga Cabin

As we've discussed in a previous post, country music legend Hank Williams was born in Alabama, and spent the majority of his short life here.  In September 1952 he was staying in a cabin on Lake Martin and writing songs.  One of the local place names was Kowaliga, named after a former Creek town.  There was also a life-size wooden carving of an Indian near the lake that locals called Kowaliga, and the statue inspired Williams to write one of the last songs of his career, "Kaw-Liga".

Hank Williams Cabin, Children's Harbor, Eclectic, Elmore County, Alabama

The story names the statue Kaw-Liga, and has him falling in love with another statue of an Indian maiden in the local antique store.  "Kaw-Liga" was recorded during the last recording session of Williams' life, at Castle Studio in Nashville, Tennessee on September 23, 1952.  That sessions also produced "I Could Never Be Ashamed Of You", "Take These Chains From My Heart", and "Your Cheatin' Heart".  While "Your Cheatin' Heart" is now widely considered Williams' masterpiece, it was actually released as the B-side to "Kaw-liga", which was Williams' first posthumously-released single.  "Kaw-liga" also spent 14 weeks at number one on the country charts, compared to only 6 weeks for "Your Cheatin' Heart".

In 1990, the area around the cabin was dedicated as the Lake Martin campus of Children's Harbor.  If you're not already familiar, click the link and check out their website.  Children's Harbor is a great non-profit that was set up to provide a recreation area for long-term seriously ill children and their families.  In 2001 they restored the old cabin, but more importantly opened a second facility at the Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children in Birmingham, Alabama.

The historical marker dedicated to the cabin, along with a transcription of the text and a map showing the location of the marker, are included below.  The actual cabin is inside the entrance to Children's Harbor.

Kowaliga Cabin historical marker, Children's Harbor, Eclectic, Elmore County, Alabama

Kowaliga Cabin historical marker setting, Children's Harbor, Eclectic, Elmore County, Alabama

The Hank Williams Kowaliga Cabin

At this site stands the cabin where country music legend Hank Williams composed he song “Kaw-liga” in August, 1952. The song’s title was derived from the name of a Creek Indian town located on the banks of the Kowaliga Creek until 1836.
Hank’s September 23, 1952 recording of “Kaw-liga” reached number one on the country music charts in 1952 and has since been recorded by numerous country and popular music artists.
Built in 1946 by Darwin and Neil Dobbs, the cabin was restored to its original condition in 2001 by Russell Lands, Inc. as a tribute to Hanks Williams and his music.
— Alabama Historical Association - 2002