AL Town Ruled Dead, but Fredonia Still Kicking

Residents in the tiny Chambers County community of Fredonia say their town isn't dead. But it's been officially declared dead.

More than a century ago, a mayor and town council governed over residents, shops and factories. All of that disappeared after the railroad passed the town by in about 1900.

Last year, the Chambers County Commission declared the town officially dead.

Probate Judge John Crowder, who ordered the charter revoked Dec. 2, says he had to follow the law.

The revocation was aimed at keeping sales taxes in the hands of the county --sales taxes pledged against bonds to pay for incentives they hope will draw industry and jobs to the area.

Fredonia residents are concerned that development might be forced upon them, so they want the town charter back. They hope to restart a town government for the more than 100 residents in a
one-mile radius.

Jack Cumbee, a resident who filed a court appeal of the charter revocation, says a town has the power to stop what he calls
"unwanted intrusion."

Fredonia was first charted as a town in 1840. It was re-chartered two other times -- the last time in 1876.

Today, the only things that remotely could be called businesses are the soda machine and pay telephone outside one of two shuttered stores that remain standing in Fredonia -- a wide spot in the road several miles east of U.S. 431.

J.J. Frickert, who lives in Fredonia with her husband, says, "It's rural, and it's beautiful. We want to have that dark sky at night."

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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