Travel Channel coming to Sylacauga
by Emily Adams
SYLACAUGA – The Travel Channel will be in Sylacauga this month to film a segment for a new television series, a Travel Channel spokesperson confirmed Thursday.

A production crew will be shooting the “Falling Star” monument in front of City Hall for “Monumental Mysteries,” a recently green-lit series that will scour the country for America’s most extraordinary monuments and their hidden stories.

“From New York’s iconic Chrysler Building that was once the site of a stunning display of an architectural chicanery, to a huge clock on the island of Hawaii where the hands are forever frozen in time – these are just some of the tales revealed,” stated a series summary provided by the Travel Channel. “Hosted by Don Wildman, this series visits the statues, memorials, national parks, gravestones and sculptures which commemorate our nation’s most notorious crimes, scandals, disasters and intriguing events of all time.”

The channel is expected to be in Sylacauga for at least one day mid-month. Plans call for 13 one-hour episodes in the series.

The “Falling Star” monument was sculpted by Don Lawler of Stephensport, Ky., and placed in front of City Hall in 2009, the year of the first Marble Festival. The abstract statue depicts the Hodges meteorite, which famously struck Oak Grove resident Ann Hodges on the hip as she was napping at her home on Nov. 30, 1954. Lawler was inspired to commemorate the event after he heard the story while in Sylacauga to purchase marble.

The eight-and-a-half pound meteorite, now on permanent display at the Alabama Museum of Natural History in Tuscaloosa, is the only space object known to have injured a person. Hodges received nationwide attention for the incident.

The “Falling Star” sculpture was placed downtown as part of the Marble Committee’s efforts to display Sylacauga’s white marble more prominently throughout the city. A second statue called “Sylacauga Emerging” was placed at City Hall last year. The piece by Birmingham-based sculptor Craigger Browne depicts a quarry worker carving himself out of stone. Browne said it represents the city’s rebirth in stone, showing the merging of marble’s industrial, commercial and artistic uses. Several statues carved by visiting sculptors during the annual Marble Festival are also on display in B.B. Comer Library and other locations. The fifth Marble Festival is scheduled for April 9-20. For more information on the event, call 256-245-0961.

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