Climax leaders upset city was on ‘unfortunate town names’ list

Published 6:05am Monday, August 20, 2012

By JEAN OUZTS

Climax Correspondent

The word Climax is defined: “German: ‘Klimax,’ meaning ‘ladder.’ 1. A series of ideas or events arranged or occurring progressively so that the most forceful is last. 2. The final culminating element in such a series. 3. The highest or turning point of interest or elevation.”

When the founding fathers of a growing little community in the southeast corner of Decatur County, known then only as Bainbridge Junction, decided to incorporate the settlement, they were faced with naming the town. It was thought that this was going to become one of the largest towns and communities in the county, the hub of train travel, both passenger and agricultural.

A town began to grow with brick buildings and a main street. Due to the trains being the reason for the growth, and because the location of the settlement was the highest point on this rail line between Savannah, Georgia, and the Chattahoochee River, the founding fathers came up with the name Climax. But the dream of those founding Fathers of a big prospering city did not happen as they had planned. For a short while the little community did grow and had a bank, telephone office, many stores, a drug store, and a furniture store. But as we have reported many times — with progress came the automobile, and roads to larger towns, and Climax slowly declined.

Recently an article by George Mathis came out in the Atlanta Journal- Constitution about towns with unfortunate names. Mathis’ article referenced a poll recently taken by family history website, www.findmypast.com, which named Climax No. 2 on that “Most Unfortunate Town Names” list.

This bit of news was also reported in the Albany Herald, on several local television stations, and even in the Daily Mail of London, England.

Some in the area greeted this article with mixed emotions, as has always been the case in Climax. We are a close-knit, very defensive little community, that is always ready to defend our hometown. Some saw the humor, while others were offended.

So, I decided to explore the name Climax, and found at least eight other states that have a “Climax” listed. Some say there are 16, including Colorado, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Virginia. There is even a Climax, Saskatchewan, in Canada.

Climax has been host to several of these “other Climaxes” during the annual Swine Time festival, with several representatives from those towns serving as grand marshals in the parade.

Interviewing the Climax City Council and Mayor also brought some interesting points.

Mayor Charles Hadsock stated, “Everyone knows how Climax got its name, from the highest point of elevation on the rail road from Savannah to Chattahoochee. Our little town is growing and prospering and we are very proud to be from Climax, Georgia.”

Newly-appointed council woman Gwen Wingate said, “We are proud of our little town, and it is unfortunate that someone has nothing better to do than to sit and think up unfortunate names. I don’t think we are unfortunate.”

Councilman Robert Thomas said, “My Daddy told me that Climax was named so because it was the highest point from Curry Hill. After working and retiring in Jacksonville, I decided I wanted to come back home to Climax and am proud I did.”

Councilman Robert Jones said, “I think it was wrong to use Climax in a bad light; someone wasn’t thinking right. They should have recognized the town was named for a high point.”

Councilwoman Vanessa Martin stated: “I think Climax is a wonderful place to live. I wasn’t born here, but I can’t think of a better place to live, and it is unfortunate some do not appreciate this.”

County Commissioner Dr. David C. “Butch” Mosely, who is from Climax, was asked about the issue by news station WALB-TV in Albany.

“My reaction was somewhat in disagreement,” he told the station. “The name Climax has so many interpretations, if you think about it.”

So much for a name — it’s all a state of mind, at least we weren’t named after some chewing tobacco company like Climax, Minn., was.

Be glad we didn’t come in No. 1, like Toad Suck, Ark., did.

Here’s the full list: 1. Toad Suck, Ark., 2. Climax, Ga., 3. Boring, Ore., 4. Hooker, Okla., 5. Assawoman, Md., 6. Belchertown, Mass., 7. Roachtown, Ill., 8. Loveladies, N.J., 9. Squabbletown, Calif., 10. Monkeys Eyebrow, Ky.

Jean Ouzts is the Climax correspondent for The Post-Searchlight. You can email her at ouzts.jean@gmail.com.

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