Moore’s soldier statue stationed outside library

Published 6:08 pm Monday, April 1, 2019

VALLEY —  Chuck Moore’s Saluting Soldier statue is now on display outside Bradshaw-Chambers County Library in Valley.

Accompanied by a dog, the soldier is about seven feet tall in height and is made of items that were once in use in local mills. His big, red head is a fire extinguisher cut in two, and his eyes, ears and nose were fashioned from items inside Riverdale Mill.

“I cut that nose out of gear blanks,” Moore said. “I cut it with a band saw and then grinded it into shape. I must have spent a full eight-hour day on that nose.”

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Some of Moore’s work was recently on display at an art show sponsored by Valley Arts Council at the library. He also has some works on display at the Sweetland Amphitheater and at city hall in LaGrange. Some of his best-known work, Rusty and the Iron Family, is on display near the CV Railway Trail at the Langdale Mill site.

There will be a ceremony to dedicate the statute, possibly on Memorial Day or on the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landing, which will be June 6 this year.

Moore said the soldier will be tough enough to stand up to all kinds of weather.

His posture comes from a pair of long rods that connect the base to the shoulder and are held in place by large bolts. It’s all on the inside and can’t be seen. One of the more visible features is something that looks like a large clock on his chest. It was once a pressure gauge inside the Carter Mill.

The knees were made from what used to be a slubber box and the hands from a knotter machine. Also, in this robot-like creation are plates from a Sulzer loom and a hobby head that was once in Fairfax Mill.

Moore retrieved many of these items from junk piles.

“They let me have what I wanted when they were taking everything out,” he said.

With lots of imagination and grit, he’s reassembled it into something new and different. Moore’s creations have a way of making people smile and to shake their heads and wonder, “How in the world did anyone ever come up with that?”

Perhaps Moore’s best works are those he’s done with heart pine. Over the years he’s been able to acquire some of the thick wooden beams that once supported the historic mills in the Valley.

These beams were cut from huge longleaf pine trees that were very common in the Southern forests of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Many of these trees were virgin timber — hundreds of years old. Almost all of them are gone now, and the only place one can find that kind of wood is in an old building that’s being born down.

Moore has reshaped these thick pieces of wood into images of Native Americans, textile workers and animals. A beam from Lanett Mill looks like a hawk and another one has been reshaped into a crow.