UPDATE: Location finalized for new Miss Fancy statue in Avondale Park

Miss Fancy
Artist Nelson Grice holding a model of the 13-foot Miss Fancy Statue. (Nelson Grice)

We’ve got an update on the highly anticipated 13-foot Miss Fancy statue coming to Avondale Park this spring. The statue finally has an official location—right at the entrance of Avondale Park. Keep reading for all the details.

An elephant with history

You probably recognize Miss Fancy as the mascot of Avondale Brewing Co., but do you know the history behind her?

Miss Fancy was an Indian elephant that called Avondale Park home back in 1913-1914, when it was a public zoo. People reportedly could even see her by looking out their kitchen windows. Local kids loved riding and feeding Miss Fancy, they even raised money in school to keep her in Avondale.

If you’d like to learn more about her history, we wrote all about her legacy here: Who is Miss Fancy? Birmingham’s Beloved Beast

A Tale of Two Miss Fancy Statues!

Miss Fancy is back on her pedestal in Avondale Park! Hurray! Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now.
The original Miss Fancy statue in Avondale Park. (Pat Byington/Bham Now)

In 2012, a bronze statue of Birmingham’s fave elephant was added in Avondale Park. After only 2 short years, Miss Fancy’s statue was damaged by a drunk driver and mysteriously disappeared.

Shortly, after that incident, Ron Council of Friends of Avondale Park, one of the neighborhood’s most beloved civic leaders, made it his mission to bring the statue back to its home. Tragically, he passed away before he could see Miss Fancy return to her former glory.

“This was a vision that my husband had, he passed away about seven years ago. It was a part of his vision for Avondale Park to have a large statue that resembled the original Miss Fancy. We decided to pursue that so it could be a part of his legacy. We’re going on the eighth year of working on this now, so to see it finally coming to fruition is just wonderful.”

Martha Council

While Martha and the fans of Fancy and her husband Ron raised money to erect a new Miss Fancy statue, the original Miss Fancy was re-discovered in 2020 by Avondale resident Leslie Smuckler.

Group photo restore Miss Fancy
The A Team stands around Miss Fancy. (Leslie Smukler)

As reported in Bham Now, the damaged statue was found tucked away in a storage room inside Legion Field. Once released from the Old Gray Lady’s (Legion Field’s nickname) the original statue from 2012 was repaired and returned to Avondale Park in June of 2021.

Meanwhile, Nelson Grice, a local sculpture artist, has been working hard on the 13-foot rendition of Miss Fancy. It’s currently in the bronze pouring stages and is slated to be completed sometime this spring.

Bottom line: This spring, two beautifully crafted Miss Fancy statues will reside in Avondale Park.

Front and center

Avondale
You’ll see a life-size Miss Fancy as you enter Avondale Park. (Pat Byington/Bham Now)

The new, larger Miss Fancy statue will be proudly displayed at the entrance of Avondale Park, an ideal location for Birmingham visitors to see.

“It’s probably every sculptor’s dream to be able to do a large outdoor piece with this sort of significance to it. I hope it will become a real staple in the narrative of Birmingham.”

Nelson Grice, sculptor

According to Grice, the statue is, well, elephant-sized:

  • From tail to trunk—10 feet long
  • From bottom of base to top of trunk—13 feet
  • Width—6 feet

We can’t wait to see her come to life.

If you’d like to contribute to the legacy, Friends of Avondale Park is accepting donations that will go towards the installation and upkeep of Miss Fancy. Follow this link, scroll to the “Giving” section and be sure to mention in the comment section that you’re donating for the new Miss Fancy statue.

Follow Nelson on Facebook and Instagram for updates on Miss Fancy’s progress.

Are you excited to welcome this new statue to Avondale Park? Tag us @bhamnow and let us know.

Gabby Gervais
Gabby Gervais
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