Hank Williams’ Kaw-Liga Was Based on a Real Wooden Indian
In 1952, Hank Williams was enjoying a little fishing getaway on Lake Martin near his home in Montgomery, Alabama. From his cabin on the lake, Hank could look across the road at a restaurant under construction which would take its name after a local legendary Indian, Kowaliga.
As construction progressed the restaurant owners added a wooden Indian which came from a local Pontiac dealership. As Hank watched the wooden statue from his vacation home, he conceived an idea for a song about the wooden Indian and a wooden female Indian who stood close by in an antique store. The result was the tune Kaw-liga that he recorded at his last studio session on September 23, 1952. Hank would be dead three months later.
Kaw-liga was released just after Hank's funeral and immediately went to number one and stayed there for 14 weeks, What happened to the actual wooden Indian? He was stolen shortly after the song named after him hit the charts. He has been replaced three times since 1952 and still stands guard over the restaurant that bears his name. Hank's cabin has been renovated and is still there across the road from Kowaliga IV.