August Birk started carving statues from tree trunks with a chain saw. Over more than 20 years, he has graduated to a power tools that enable him to achieve greater detail, but he still cranks up the chain saw when needed.
Now 81, the former plumbing contractor has created 21 different wood sculptures that dot the Cape Girardeau landscape. Some are in public places, some in private yards. A sculpture of a golfer greets visitors and members at the Cape Girardeau Country Club. Cape Girardeau founder Louis Lorimier watches over Cape Rock Park.
Birk's newest project is to redo a sculpture of Ben Franklin damaged by weather. It's expected to be done in time for the return of students at Franklin Elementary School.
The Cape Girardeau Convention and Visitors Bureau's Web site briefly describes Birk's work. Visitors to the city and even residents probably would be interested in a booklet containing pictures of the sculptures and a map showing their locations as well.
Wooden sculptures arrayed around the city are among the many things that makes Cape Girardeau unique. With a bit of promotion -- one recent out-of-town visitor suggested a bigger Internet awareness on sites such as roadsideamerica.com, which currently lists 43 attractions in the Show Me State, but none from Cape Girardeau -- the city could draw even more visitors from the interstate.