Cordele, also known as The Watermelon Capital of the World, is a city in Crisp County, Georgia, United States. The population was 11,608 at the 2000 census. The city is the county seat of Crisp County. Cordele is located along Interstate 75, 140 miles south of Atlanta and 100 miles north of the Florida state line.
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.
The small town of Cordele, GA was founded in the southern part of Dooly County in 1888 by J.E.D. Shipp of Americus. The city of Cordele was incorporated on December 22, 1888. It drew great benefits from the presence of two major railroads-the Savannah, Americus & Montgomery line and the Georgia Southern and Florida. It was named after Cordelia Hawkins, daughter of the president of the SAM railroad, and the town flourished from the junction of the two railroads.