Main Births etc
Cordele, Georgia
—  City  —
Cordele City Hall
Motto: Gateway to South Georgia[1]
Location in Crisp County and the state of Georgia
Coordinates: 31°57′51″N 83°46′38″W / 31.96417, -83.77722Coordinates: 31°57′51″N 83°46′38″W / 31.96417, -83.77722
Country United States
State Georgia
County Crisp
 • Total 10.2 sq mi (26.5 km2)
 • Land 10.2 sq mi (26.3 km2)
 • Water 0.08 sq mi (0.2 km2)
Elevation 315 ft (96 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 11,147
 • Density 1,099/sq mi (424.4/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 31010, 31015
Area code(s) 229
FIPS code 13-19616[2]
GNIS feature ID 0312971[3]

Cordele is a city in Crisp County, Georgia, United States. The population was 11,147 at the 2010 census.[4] The city is the county seat of Crisp County.[5]

Cordele calls itself the Watermelon Capital of the World.[6]


Cordele was incorporated on January 1, 1888,[7] and named for Cordelia Hawkins, eldest daughter of Colonel Samuel Hawkins, the president of the Savannah, Americus and Montgomery Railway.[8]

In November 1864, the area that is now Cordele served as the temporary capital of Georgia. During the last days of the Confederacy, Georgia's war governor Joseph E. Brown used his rural farm house to escape the wrath of Sherman's March to the Sea. During that time the farm house which Brown called "Dooly County Place" served as the official capital for only a few days. It was replaced in 1890 by the Suwanee Hotel, located in what became downtown Cordele. The hotel was destroyed by a fire in late 1994 and was rebuilt.

Cordele was founded in 1888 by J.E.D. Shipp of Americus. The town was located at the junction of two major railroads–the Savannah, Americus & Montgomery line and the Georgia Southern and Florida. As the railroads brought more people and business to the newly settled territory, Cordele experienced phenomenal growth. Before 1905 Cordele was located in southern Dooly County, 9 miles (14 km) from the county seat in Vienna. With Cordele's continued progress, many in the community felt the need for a seat of government to be closer than Vienna. Crisp County was formed in 1905 by taking a portion of southern Dooly County, and Cordele became its county seat.

By August 1930, Cordele housed the Crisp County Hydroelectric System, the first county-owned electric system. Located on the Flint River, the hydroelectric plant continues to operate, and the resulting Lake Blackshear has attracted residents to its waterfront properties.

On April 2, 1936, a tornado struck Cordele, killing 23 persons.


Cordele is located north of the center of Crisp County at 31°57′51″N 83°46′38″W / 31.96417, -83.77722 (31.964178, -83.777277).[9] U.S. Route 41 passes through the city as Seventh Street and leads north 9 miles (14 km) to Vienna and south 20 miles (32 km) to Ashburn. U.S. Route 280 (16th Avenue) crosses US 41 in the center of the city and leads east 29 miles (47 km) to Abbeville and west 31 miles (50 km) to Americus. Interstate 75 passes through the east side of the city, with access from exits 99, 101, and 102, and leads 65 miles (105 km) north to Macon and 103 miles (166 km) south to the Florida state line. Georgia State Route 300 leads from the south side of the city 37 miles (60 km) southwest to Albany.

According to the United States Census Bureau, Cordele has a total area of 10.2 square miles (26.5 km2), of which 10.2 square miles (26.3 km2) is land and 0.077 square miles (0.2 km2), or 0.82%, is water.[4]


As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 11,608 people, 4,303 households, and 2,839 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,222.5 people per square mile (471.8/km²). There were 4,782 housing units at an average density of 503.6 per square mile (194.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 31.90% White, 65.03% African American, 0.06% Native American, 0.84% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 1.19% from other races, and 0.91% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.95% of the population.

There were 4,303 households out of which 35.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 31.1% were married couples living together, 30.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.0% were non-families. 30.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.59 and the average family size was 3.22.

In the city the population was spread out with 31.6% under the age of 18, 10.2% from 18 to 24, 25.6% from 25 to 44, 18.1% from 45 to 64, and 14.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 81.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 74.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $17,615, and the median income for a family was $21,677. Males had a median income of $23,253 versus $17,282 for females. The per capita income for the city was $12,746. About 38.1% of families and 41.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 59.2% of those under age 18 and 26.7% of those age 65 or over.

Arts and culture[]

Annual cultural events[]

Cordele hosts an annual Watermelon Festival each July.[10]

Museums and other points of interest[]

In 1968 a Titan I missile was erected by the Rotary Club of Cordele at the intersection of I-75 and U.S. 280 East.[11]


Crisp County School District[]

The Crisp County School District holds grades pre-school to grade twelve, that consists of four elementary schools, a middle school, and a high school.[12] The district has 266 full-time teachers and over 4,337 students.[13]

  • A. S. Clark Elementary School
  • Blackshear Trail Elementary School
  • J. S. Pate Elementary School
  • Southwestern Elementary School
  • Crisp County Middle School
  • Crisp County High School


Major highways[]

  • I-75.svg Interstate 75 / SR 401
  • US 41.svg U.S. Route 41 / Georgia 7.svg State Route 7
  • US 280.svg U.S. Route 280 / Georgia 30.svg State Route 30
  • Georgia 33.svg State Route 33
  • Georgia 90.svg State Route 90
  • Georgia 257.svg State Route 257
  • Georgia 300.svg State Route 300 (Georgia-Florida Parkway)

The Cordele Inland Port is operated by a private company, Cordele Intermodal Services, which offers rail service via the Heart of Georgia Railroad and Georgia Central Railroad, from their rail ramp in Cordele to the Georgia Ports Authority in Savannah. Class I railroads CSX and Norfolk Southern pass through Cordele. Shortline railroad, Heart of Georgia currently interchanges with CSX in downtown Cordele.

Notable people[]

  • Buster Brown, blues and R&B singer born in Cordele[14]
  • Janie Lou Gibbs, serial killer who poisoned her husband, three sons, and grandson. She was convicted in 1967.
  • Mac Hyman, fiction writer known for his best-selling novel No Time for Sergeants and Take Now Thy Son; born in Cordele and a lifelong resident[15]
  • T. J. Jackson, Olympian and NFL wide receiver
  • Marcus Lamb, president of international Christian TV network Daystar
  • Deworski Odom, sprinter born in Cordele
  • Jody Powell, served as the White House Press Secretary under President Jimmy Carter; born in Cordele[16]
  • Andre Ramsey, offensive lineman for the Buffalo Bills
  • Tree Rollins, former NBA basketball player and Cordele native who attended Crisp County High School
  • Joe Williams, jazz singer and Cosby Show grandfather; born in Cordele[17]


  1. ^ "City of Cordele Georgia Website". City of Cordele Georgia Website. Retrieved July 31, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  4. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Cordele city, Georgia". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved July 31, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  6. ^ City of Cordele official website
  7. ^ "Cordele". Georgia Gov. Retrieved September 6, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Profile for Cordele, Georgia, GA". ePodunk. Retrieved September 6, 2012. 
  9. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  10. ^ "Cordele". Georgia Department of Community Affairs. Retrieved September 6, 2012. 
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^ Georgia Board of Education, Retrieved June 6, 2010.
  13. ^ School Stats, Retrieved June 6, 2010.
  14. ^ "Buster Brown". all music. Retrieved September 6, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Mac Hyman (1923-1963)". The New Georgia Encyclopedia. Retrieved September 6, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Jody Powell". NNDB. Retrieved September 6, 2012. 
  17. ^ "Joe Williams". all about jazz. Retrieved September 6, 2012. 

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