As Tuscaloosa’s official bicentennial day approaches, the City and the University of Alabama are preparing to unveil a statue dedicated to Tuscaloosa’s rich heritage and promising future.

On Dec. 13, a roughly 35-foot-tall statue of the Roman goddess Minerva will be on display at Manderson Landing Park at the Tuscaloosa Riverwalk. Leading up to the statue will be a timeline, crafted with bronze and concrete, that will display the 200-year history of Tuscaloosa.

The statue was designed and sculpted by area artist Caleb O’Connor and the timeline was created by UA professor Craig Wedderspoon. The two were commissioned by the Tuscaloosa Bicentennial Committee to create the celebratory piece.

“They basically just put Caleb and I in a room and let us do whatever we came up with,” Wedderspoon said.

The idea for Minerva was derived from the University of Alabama’s seal, which depicts the goddess with the sun rising behind her. Wedderspoon found inspiration for his timeline by visiting the Warner Transportation Museum, which is next to the Tuscaloosa Public Library and across the street from the Black Warrior River.

“I used that as a starting point to identify significant moments in Tuscaloosa’s history,” Wedderspoon said.

The statue and timeline will be unveiled in a ceremony. Wedderspoon is excited for the moment and the lasting impact he hopes his creation will leave on the community.

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