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Once upon a time, Kowaliga was an obscure area of Lake Martin, inhabited by only a few cabins and the occasional campers. Things changed, though, in 1952 when the legendary country singer Hank Williams immortalized the little village in song.
According to Bob McKinnon, a friend who was present at the time, Hank wrote the song while staying at Darwin Dobb's cabin on Lake Martin. The song, written about 6 months before Hank's death, is about a wooden Indian named "Kow-liga."
The Indian referred to in the song was originally owned by the Pontiac dealership in Sylacauga, and was moved to Lake Martin after Pontiac decided to revamp its image. Unfortunately, in years gone by too many of Hank's fans took home parts of the statue as souvenirs, and the original Indian is now gone. However, there is another statue guarding the doors at Sinclair's on the Lake, in memory of old "Kow-liga."
Since 1952, Kowaliga has experienced tremendous growth, due largely to Hank's music. The area now has a marina, a general store, many rental cabins, Cecil's on the Lake, and, last but not least, Children's Harbor, an organization devoted to helping seriously ill children and their families.