Cross on Priceville Mountain to go up this week
By Catherine Godbey
For the Enquirer
After 17 years, Johnny Maxwell’s vision of installing a cross on top of Priceville Mountain is nearing reality. On Tuesday, the materials needed to create the base of the cross arrived at the site along Alabama 67.
“Watching the materials come in, I felt every emotion you could contemplate. It was not really a relief, but more of a praise feeling that God came through again,” said Maxwell, pastor of Nature’s Trail Church in Priceville.
The cross will be erected on Thursday or Friday of next week, depending on the weather. To accomplish the feat, Mike Rozier Construction of Mississippi, which built the cross, will use a 250-ton crane to slide the cross down a 6-foot-wide pipe, which sits in 156 yards of concrete and six tons of rebar.
At 120 feet tall, the steel cross will stand 5 feet shorter than the cross at Gardendale Baptist Church on Interstate 65 north of Birmingham. Located 2 miles from Interstate 65, the cross in Priceville will be viewable from Hartselle, Decatur and Limestone County.
Rozier encouraged individuals to witness the installation of the cross.
In January, Maxwell traveled to Saltillo, Mississippi, to see the last cross Rozier completed.
“This town of 2,000 probably had 4,000 people there. The interstate and the state highway were backed up. People were standing shoulder to shoulder. It was unreal,” Maxwell said. “When you watch this unbelievably magnificent cross go up in the sky and hear the prayer prayed over it, it’s very moving.”
The cross is part of a three-phase project. The first phase includes erecting the cross and installing the electrical.
“The lighting and electrical were initially part of phase two, but we moved it to phase one because an electrical contractor is donating all the electrical. That is huge for us. It is a $50,000 donation,” Maxwell said.
The second phase will include landscaping and creating a dozen outdoor prayers stations that represent the 12 tribes of Israel. The third phase will involve building homes on the land for unwed mothers.
“The plan is to give them a head start with education and childcare while they go to school and get their feet on the ground,” Maxwell said.
To finance the project, Maxwell and his prayer partners are relying on donations from the community. The first phase is estimated to cost $300,000. Individuals interested can donate online at thecrossofnorthalabama.com or at Traditions Bank in Priceville.
For information on when the cross will go up, visit thecrossofnorthalabama.com or The Cross of North Alabama Facebook page.