In late November 1954, a meteorite landed in Sylacauga, Alabama. It’s probably the most exciting thing that has ever happened in this town; it was such big news, in fact, that the people of Sylacauga decided to erect a monument to the 8.5-pound rock that came crashing through the ceiling of Ann Hodge’s house.
Across from the Comet Drive-in Theatre - no joke - Ann Hodge was taking a short nap on her couch when the meteorite hit. Measuring seven inches wide and about five inches long, the meteorite came crashing through the roof, bounced off of the radio console that Hodge had set up, and hit her on the arm and hip. It didn’t cause serious damage, just a bruise, but Ann Hodge became the first known person to be hit by a space rock.
The meteorite was so large that, as it screamed through the Earth’s atmosphere, it was seen by residents of three different states. And that’s why it has inspired such a following and fascination by many.
Don Lawler, a Kentucky-based stone sculptor, visited the town of Sylacauga not because he was interested in the meteorite - he didn’t know anything about it, actually, and by this time, the real piece of rock was housed nearly 100 miles away in Tuscaloosa’s Alabama Museum of Natural History - but because he was interested in marble. Sylacauga calls itself the Marble City because it sits on top of a high-quality vein of creamy marble that is very desirable to sculptors.
During his visit, Lawler purchased a large slab of marble from the quarry. Once Lawler started researching the town online, the sculptor quickly learned about the meteorite. After completing his research, Lawler carved the abstract memorial to the meteorite into his marble slab and titled it “Falling Star.” Once finished, Lawler sent a photo of his work to the Sylacauga city officials, who organized and raised enough money to purchase the piece. It has since been installed in front of the City Hall and is the star of the annual Marble Fest.