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For “outsiders”, Sylacauga is in East Central Alabama, and an incorrect legend, repeated over time and not true, is that the name means “buzzard’s roost”. In reality, a city named Buzzard Roost not too far away in Georgia is the source of the confusion. From the book “Placenames of Georgia” by John H. Goff:

“In several instances mention has been made of the Creek settlement known as Buzzard Roost or Sulenojuh. The Indian name does not translate literally into the English version but signifies ‘having buzzards.’ The correct expression for Buzzard Roost in Muskogee was sulikagi, from suli, buzzard, and kagi, a roosting place. This information in a distorted form can be found in the designation of the present Sylacauga, Alabama.”

The word “sulikagi” sounds like Sylacauga, and that’s at the root of what was so often repeated.

Until the late 1800s, Sylacauga was spelled Syllacogga, which was slang for Chalakagay, home of the Chalaka Tribe. Today’s “Sylacauga” simply evolved as a sounds-like spelling of “Chalakagay”.

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Michael Brannon is a former news and sports anchor from Mobile, Ala. and serves as Director of Business Development, Manager of Digital Projects and Strategy, and Managing Editor of SylacaugaNews.com.