Our Town: The Wonders Of Wetumpka, Alabama’s River Region Respite

| August 7, 2017 @ 5:05 am

By Chuck Chandler

A dozen ducks sleep with their heads curled into their back feathers in the early morning near the banks of the Coosa River, having made their home in Gold Star Park. One by one they awaken and waddle to the river, eventually floating near the ramp where 20 vehicles were parked earlier by fishermen who beat the big birds to the punch.

The picturesque public recreation area dedicated to fallen American heroes is a gem in downtown Wetumpka, transforming block after block of formerly rugged riverside into a playground frequented by friendly squirrels and parents with their kids and pets. People walk and jog along the winding sidewalk lined by tall streetlamps with flower pots hanging from each. Some folks are content to sit on benches and take in the view. A huge deck with a tree reaching through the middle hangs over the riverside. A long wooden walkway with periodic observation porches crosses beneath the famous Bibb Graves Bridge that is a symbol of the town of 7,000 residents.

The park seems endless, with picnic tables surrounding a large playground, bathrooms, a gazebo with tables, two stages with bleachers, pedestrian bridges crossing small creeks, a tire swing, slides and a log cabin. A tall marble monument honors John, Charles, Henry, Richard and Quentin Crommelin, local brothers dubbed by Time magazine in 1944 the “Indestructibles” for their heroic efforts in World War II (Charles and Richard later died in battle).Two young girls run ahead of their mother pushing their baby sister in a stroller. They try to look inside the stained glass windows of a 6-foot-wide, 10-foot-long steeple-topped white chapel that is inside a picket fence. They knock on the locked door but “no one is home,” says the older one as they run back to the pathway.

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