As the comic icon of the Grand Ole Opry for more than 50 years, and the most cherished $1.98-hat-wearing star Tennessee ever fashioned, no one would have been more proud of a larger-than-life statue made out of chicken wire than Minnie Pearl herself.
Born in the small town of Centerville in 1912, Sarah Ophelia Colley would go on to a decades-long career as a comedienne in the country music world. Performing at the Opry and on TV, she celebrated her country upbringing in semi-autobiographical roles about life in Grinders Switch, loosely based on her own childhood in Hickman County.
Yet oddly, Centerville had no statue of its favorite daughter, having lost the one they did have to a spat between the man who paid for it, and the town muckety-mucks who didn’t like that it blocked traffic.
Stepping in to fill the void was sculptor Ricky Pittman, who wanted to use his unique talents with chicken wire to honor their local hero. The piece stands about eight feet tall, and is really a bust rather than a full statue, but Minnie is all there: wry smile, frilly costume, and her straw hat with the price tag still unabashedly dangling from the brim.
Update as of April 2021: This work of art can now be found along a bluff east of downtown.