Miss Fancy statue revealed at entrance to Birmingham’s Historic Avondale Park [PHOTOS]

Miss Fancy
Miss Fancy at night! (VĂ©ronique Vanblaere)

The long-awaited statue of Miss Fancy, an elephant who roamed the neighborhoods of Avondale, Woodlawn and Forest Park between 1913 and 1934 was revealed on Saturday at the entrance of Historic Avondale Park.

Miss Fancy is Everywhere

A61BE562 4E3C 454A AECE 0BC51C331CAE Miss Fancy statue revealed at entrance to Birmingham’s Historic Avondale Park [PHOTOS]
Miss Fancy’s massive imprint can be seen all around the city, especially in the Avondale. Photo provided by Avondale Brewing’s instagram

A star attraction of the original Birmingham Zoo in Avondale Park, Miss Fancy was known to visit the students at nearby Avondale Elementary School, to be fed snack and give rides to the children. Rumor has it — she would walk around the neighborhood and take a “peek” inside homes and shops.

Fast forward a century later, Miss Fancy is seen all over the Avondale neighborhood. She is the icon for Avondale Brewery, there are murals of her on once blank walls and if you go to the local bookstore, she is featured in children’s books. 

Fulfilling a Dream 

Back in 2012,  a small statue of Miss Fancy in Avondale Park was damaged and later disappeared (it was found in 2021 and since then installed on the west side of Avondale Park).

After this happened, Ron Council, a beloved Avondale community leader, made it his mission to bring back Miss Fancy, but this time with a statue that depicted a life sized Miss Fancy.

Unfortunately, Ron passed away before he could see Miss Fancy in the park one more time. His wife, Martha, then made it her mission to pick up where he left off and make sure others could see what he and the Friends of Avondale Park had in mind. 

“This was a vision that my husband had before he passed away in 2014,” said Martha. “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. It’s been more than 10 years in the making, and to see this beautiful idea of a statue finally coming to fruition is just wonderful.”

Coincil Family
Council Family with artist Nelson Grice. L to R – Bryan Council, Nelson Grice, Martha Council and Thyme Council (Larry O. Gay)

Following the Creation of Miss Fancy

Over the past year, the artist of the new Miss Fancy statue, Nelson Grice, allowed Bham Now to report every step of the statue’s construction and the delivery of the statue last month.

Here are the stories:

A Special Day   

A  special moment, Martha Council summed up the special day for her family and the neighborhood.

“Saturday, December 10, 2022 was a very special day – not only for the spectacular weather, but for the gathering of so many friends and neighbors celebrating the unveiling of Miss Fancy, a 6’ x 9’ x 13′, 2,500-lb. bronze elephant sculpted by Nelson Grice. Remembering Ron, a true believer in Birmingham and Avondale Park, it was delightful to see folks have their pictures made with Miss Fancy as their background and hopefully will always be a location for many to see as they leave the airport or take a walk around the neighborhood and enjoy a public/private work of art.”

Miss Fancy
Miss Fancy statue at Avondale Park. (Larry O. Gay)

Have you seen the new Miss Fancy statue yet? Take a pic and share it with us on social media by tagging @bhamnow

Pat Byington
Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.

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