(ODD)yssey, Blog Post

This Tennessee town has two sculptures of Minnie Pearl, but the chicken-wire statue stole my heart

After writing for It’s a Southern Thing about an amazing statue of Minnie Pearl, the country comedian who was a Grand Ole Opry favorite, I decided to visit it in person. (Click here to read my original story on SouthernThing.com).

The statue was originally placed in downtown Centerville, Tenn., the birthplace of Minnie Pearl, whose real name was Sarah Ophelia Colley Cannon. Pearl always said she was from Grinder’s Switch, which is a real railway switch station located nearby.

Pearl (1912-1996) appeared on the Opry for more than 50 years. Her popular comedy routine was a fun send-up of Southern culture.

The chicken wire sculpture of Minnie Pearl has been moved to a bluff a mile or so from the Centerville town square. (Wil Elrick)
The chicken wire sculpture of Minnie Pearl has been moved to a bluff a mile or so from the Centerville town square. (Wil Elrick)

A few years ago, artist Ricky Pittman created an impressive chicken wire sculpture of Minnie Pearl, complete with the iconic hat and price tag, for the Hickman County Courthouse Square. Between the time I wrote about the statue and my recent visit, the chicken wire sculpture had been moved to a cliffside, set atop a boulder with Minnie Pearl roses plated at the base. The area is called Centerville Bluff Garden. You can find it at the northeast corner of Old State Road 48 and Tennessee Highway 100 North/Central Avenue.

A bronze statue of Pearl was erected in 2020 in front of the Hickman County Courthouse in Centerville, Tenn. (Kelly Kazek)

In 2020, the sculpture was replaced on the courthouse square with a bronze statue of Pearl sitting on a bench, allowing fans to site beside her figure for photos. The bronze sculpture was the creation of artist Jennifer Grisham.

Minnie Pearl (Wikimedia Commons | Public Domain)
A bronze statue of Pearl was erected in 2020 in front of the Hickman County Courthouse in Centerville, Tenn. (Kelly Kazek)

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