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Chuck Berry Statue Installed in the Loop

An 8 foot bronze statue of Chuck Berry has been installed in a plaza in the Loop in University City, Missouri, across the street from Blueberry Hill, where Berry performs once a month.

The man considered "The Father of Rock and Roll" now has a permanent tribute to him in University City.

An 8 foot bronze statue of Chuck Berry was installed in the Loop early Friday morning in a plaza across the street from , where Berry still performs once a month.

"I'm going to brag. They got a statue of my dad in U City," an excited Charles Berry Jr. told University City Patch after the installation. "My dad, he's the coolest dude on the planet to me."

Berry Jr. said he was overwhelmed by the beauty of the plaza and the statue.

"It's a great tribute to my father," said Berry Jr. "It's absolutely gorgeous. It exceeded my expectations."

The statue depicts a young Berry, wearing a tuxedo, guitar in hand.

"That's the way Chuck wanted it...lots of hair and a good dress," said sculptor Harry Weber, who oversaw Friday's installation of his sculpture. "I can't say my own work looks fantastic but I'm glad to see the final version of it," Weber said.

"It looks fantastic," said Joe Edwards, owner of Blueberry Hill and other Loop establishments,who helped spearheard the statue project. "You can almost feel Chuck moving even though that's a solid bronze statue."

Berry's son said University City is renowned for being an entertainment and fun mecca and the statue is yet another reason for people to come to the Loop. He said the statue adds a tremendous amount to his father's legacy.

"This is going to be a big deal," said Berry Jr.

An excited Earl Higgins of University City was on hand for the statue's installation. 

"This is a wonderful day and I think the area will be changed for the positive forever because of this," said Higgins. "I think it (statue) will attract people from all over the world."

University City Raymond Moore said he's a huge fan of Berry's and woke up early to see the statue placed in the plaza. 

I" think it's a great tribute to him and it's good for University City as a whole."

The statue wasn't without some obstacles. Winter weather delayed its installation for months. And more recently, opposing the statue garnered 100 signatures.

Longtime resident and former University City Councilmember Elsie Glickert argued that the statue should not be placed on city owned property. Also, she said Berry's criminal record made him an inappropriate person to honor.

In Berry's defense, Edward noted that in 2000, Berry received a Kennedy Center Honor, considered by most to be the highest honor an artist can receive in America.

Berry has done stints in prison for robbery and prostitution violations. And in the 1980s, he settled a civil suit brought by women who accused him of videotaping them in the bathroom of his Wentzville restaurant.

"Let's accentuate the positive and separate the man's personal life from his artistic life," said Edwards. "That's what we're here to honor, not anything else."

The official dedication of the statue is slated for July 29 at 10:00am. Chuck Berry and his family will attend the ceremony. 

Richard Keeling July 01, 2011 at 04:06 PM
Nice photos and article, Myra!
Nick Frederiksen July 02, 2011 at 04:50 PM
Several days ago I posted a comment and it has disappeared. I will repeat it and if there is a reason it is deleted please advise me to that reason. I repeat my post. Congratulations to Mayor Welsh and the council for being objective on the statue of Chuck Berry on City Property. Many of those who support Mayor Welsh have taken the opposite stand. Mayor Welsh researced the legality of the installation and made a decision that allows the Council to move on with other issues. Mayor Welsh originated the idea of having FAIR U City this Memorial Day. I asked Joe Edwards if I could put a yard size Fair U City announcement in front of his curb area. He told me that his policy prohibited any "Non Profit" group from posting such a sign, he would allow an advertisement on the bulletin board next to the restrooms in side. The trolley is non-profit and Commerce Bank has trolley car on the parking lot. His refusal is a strong indication that his decison was made based on his political relationship with those who oppose Mayor Welsh I ask that Joe Edwards be more objective when the entity of U City needs support. Note that the sign would have been in the City Easmet flower boxes that are maintained by a non-profit organization.Joe and I will meet to discuss this and other issues. We all can learn from the objectivity of Mayor Shelley Welsh. The Fair was well attended and put forth a positive image of our Great Community.
Earl Higgins July 02, 2011 at 07:57 PM
Nick, I have no idea why your post disappeared-I've had similar things happen on this and other forums, but I do remember I saw it. So don't despair, your message did get out loud and clear (and so is this one). To be truthful, I have always found Joe Edwards to be very reasonable and approachable (as I have also found the mayor to be). Seriously, don't automatically assume that the reason he didn't want Fair U City signs in the flower boxes along Delmar was politically motivated. I'm not an expert on such matters, but I can think of a few quite reasonable reasons why that would be problematic. Anyway, the truth is, this probably isn't the forum to discuss it, I think when you talk to Joe Edwards, you will find him reasonable and you guys can come up with an equitable solution for next year. Good job with Fair U City, I'm already looking forward to it for next year!
Earl Higgins July 02, 2011 at 08:32 PM
With all due respect to those who oppose the statue, I would like to remind them that the truth is, ALL of our heroes have some flaws. We would like to believe people are "pure good" or "pure evil", with no gray area in between. But real life just doesn't work that way, we are all far more complicated than that. Didn't a great man once say, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."? Can anyone of us truthfully say we've never, ever made a mistake, not even 52 years ago? If we decide now that anybody who we choose to celebrate must have 100% clean criminal record and pass some sort of moral litmus test, I respectfully submit that half the stars in the St. Louis Walk of Fame would have to be taken out (and this isn't supposed to be a knock on the Walk of Fame; compile any such list of celebrities and the result would be similar). Is that really the path we want to take? I would rather learn the truth about my heroes, flaws and all, to me it just shows how we are all human, we have all made mistakes, but that doesn't mean we are worthless human beings. Maybe Chuck Berry has made mistakes, a long time ago, and he has done what society has asked of him to pay for his mistakes. His immense influence on American culture, and indeed worldwide culture, is beyond question. If he is "good enough" to be honored by the Kennedy Center, and he is one of our own, then it would be crazy not to honor him locally.
Myra Lopez July 02, 2011 at 09:57 PM
Nick your comment was not deleted. It's posted under a previous story relating to Chuck Berry. Here is the link. http://patch.com/A-jHsr. When people post, the previous posts move down. But I have not deleted any comments. And when I do deleted a comment I make every attempt to email the person and explain the reason. I do know AOL has been making upgrades to the system and sometimes when that happens there are hiccups to the system which occasionally means deletions. Why this happens, I do not know. But your post was not deleted. It's attached to the Chick Berry story concerning the City Council's backing of the statue's installation.

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