Oak Grove in Talladega County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)
Stars Fell On Alabama / Hodges Meteorite
Stars Fell On Alabama
November 30, 1954. It was a cold, clear early afternoon when Dr. Moody Jacobs left his office for lunch. In the sky, he saw a trail of dark smoke and heard an explosion before white smoke shot out in several directions. “I thought a plane had exploded,” Moody said. Back by 1 p.m. he received a call to an Oak Grove home to treat Mrs. Ann Hodges who’d been struck by a “comet.” The descending fireball had actually been seen by many people across Alabama that day. The Air Force even searched for a crash. The next day, Julius K. McKinney, a farmer who lived near the Hodges, was driving a wagon when his mules shied away from a black rock in the road. After geological confirmations, McKinney sold the 3½ pound rock to the Smithsonian Institute where it resides today in the Hall of Meteorites. The Hodges and McKinney Aerolites are the only known meteors from that day but other “comets” surely reached the ground the day “Stars Fell On Alabama.”
The Town of Oak Grove, Alabama has the distinction of being home to the first modern instance of a meteorite striking a human being. On this property, owned by the Guy Family, an 8½ pound “comet” crashed into a house that stood 50 yards southwest of this site
Erected 2010 by Alabama Tourism Department and the Town of Oak Grove.
Location. 33° 11.362′ N, 86° 17.671′ W. Marker is in Oak Grove, Alabama, in Talladega County. Marker is on Old U.S. Highway 280 0.2 miles north of Odens Mill Road (County Road 36), on the left when traveling north. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Sylacauga AL 35150, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 8 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Marble City Cemetery Sylacauga (approx. 2.3 miles away); Hightower Brothers Livery Stable (approx. 2.7 miles away); Fort Williams (approx. 2.9 miles away); Sylacauga (approx. 3.4 miles away); Fayetteville (approx. 6.7 miles away); History Of Childersburg (approx. 7.1 miles away); De Soto's Visit (approx. 7.1 miles away); The De Soto Trail (approx. 7.1 miles away).
Also see . . .
1. Encyclopedia of Alabama: Hodges Meteorite Strike (Sylacauga Aerolite). “[Ann] Hodges was napping on her living-room couch at mid-day when the meteorite came through the ceiling, hit a console radio, and smashed into her hip. Awakened by the pain and noise, she thought the gas space heater had exploded. When she noticed a grapefruit-sized rock lying on the floor and a ragged hole in the roof, she assumed children were the culprits. Her mother, Ida Franklin, rushed outside and saw only a black cloud in the sky. ”
2. UA Museum to Observe 50th Anniversary of Hodges Meteorite. “The 7 inch by 5 inch by 5 inch rock, displayed at the Museum underneath a glass case, is covered with a thin black coating from its heated entry, [Dr. John C.] Hall said. It contains several chips, and a patch of tar from the Hodges’ roof remains visible on one tip, he said. The stone was likely a fragment from a meteorite that probably weighed more than 150 pounds when it entered the atmosphere. Meteorites smaller than 150 pounds generally do not survive passage through the earth’s atmosphere, he said.”
3. A Star Fell on Sylacauga. 2006 article by M.J. Ellington in the Decatur Daily News Quote: “Hall believes the only person with a positive experience in the incident was Julius Kempis McKinney, a black farmer. The day after the meteorite struck the Hodges house — Dec. 1, 1954 — McKinney was driving a mule-drawn wagon with a load of firewood a few miles away. A black rock in the road caused his mules to balk. McKinney pushed the strange rock to the side of the road and continued home. That night, after hearing reports of the Hodges incident, McKinney went back to the site, picked up the rock and took it home where his children played with it. ... Experts later confirmed that the 3½-pound object was a smaller part of the Hodges meteorite that apparently split off as it entered the atmosphere.”
4. Hodges Meteorite at the Encyclopedia of Alabama.
Categories. • Disasters • Notable Events •
Credits. This page originally submitted on July 5, 2011, by Timothy Carr of Birmingham, Alabama. This page has been viewed 2,079 times since then. This page was the Marker of the Week November 30, 2014. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on July 5, 2011, by Timothy Carr of Birmingham, Alabama. 3, 4, 5. submitted on July 10, 2011, by Timothy Carr of Birmingham, Alabama. 6. submitted on January 14, 2015, by J. Makali Bruton of San Salvador, El Salvador. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.