Billy Glenn’s Eight-Story Memorial

By JOEL McNEECE
It’s the tallest building in Calhoun County and easily the most unique. Its owner and builder, Billy Glenn Crutchfield, would tell you “there’s not another one like it in the world.”
“You can’t get these views anywhere else,” Crutchfield said looking over the top of Weyerhaeuser from the balcony of his eight-story building at the end of South Newberger in Bruce.


billy_glen13Billy Glenn Crutchfield is pictured here standing on the balcony of his unique eight-story building in Bruce. The view behind him is looking toward the Bruce Square. Photos by Joel McNeece


By JOEL McNEECE
It’s the tallest building in Calhoun County and easily the most unique. Its owner and builder, Billy Glenn Crutchfield, would tell you “there’s not another one like it in the world.”

“You can’t get these views anywhere else,” Crutchfield said looking over the top of Weyerhaeuser from the balcony of his eight-story building at the end of South Newberger in Bruce.

“I have a place at the beach, but after three days of staring at the water that gets old,” Crutchfield said. “You never get tired of these views.”

The motivation behind the building is a memorial to Crutchfield’s late son Billy Glenn Jr. An urn containing his son’s ashes sits atop the 20-foot flagpole that rises above the skyscraper.

“That is the primary motivation for this,” Crutchfield said. “I wanted something for him unlike anything else.”

He also wanted a home where he could grow old and reflect on his life. The lot at the end of South Newberger, which he purchased from Roy Davis, seemed most appropriate.

Crutchfield, 55, has a startling view in all directions, including a view of the small building at the former Brookwood plant in which he first worked.

Crutchfield’s building towers over the Weyerhaeuser yard. He worked on the railroad with Weyerhaeuser for more than 20 years and retired from there.
Looking north to the square he can see the Bruce Family Medical Clinic (Dr. Bruce Longest’s building). Crutchfield was born in the Bruce Hospital that originally sat on that lot.

He looked east toward Bruce Elementary and pointed out a small building where he was involved in a fight in high school that he describes as “memorable” to say the least.
“There’s no better place to reflect on my life than right here,” Crutchfield said.

The building, made of 8X32 container crates, is an engineering marvel. The crates are all welded together and supported by large bg_building23beams deeply imbedded in the ground.
“This building is as solid as it could be,” Crutchfield said.

It’s not the first container crate building Crutchfield has constructed. His farm near Sarepta has a three-story cabin that is also made from the crates.

An outdoor, platform elevator carries Crutchfield and his visitors to the eighth floor where glass doors on each end provide stunning views. The top floor is also surrounded by an outside balcony on which Crutchfield enjoys putting out a lawn chair and just taking in the sights.

The interior remains a work in progress. Crutchfield has a couch, entertainment center and some countertops in place. The designs for the rest of the living quarters are drawn out in chalk on the floor and walls.

Other than a rented crane to stack the crates on top of each other, all the labor in the building was done by Crutchfield himself.

“I wanted it to truly be a building of my own creation,” Crutchfield said. “That way it’s a true memorial to Billy Glenn (his son).”

Crutchfield’s other motivation was the long-term possibility of the building serving others. He dreams of it ultimately being transformed into a care center for bed-ridden patients, like his late son.

Crutchfield said quality of life is the biggest challenge for someone confined to a bed or wheelchair. His building provides views all over town that he believes would improve that quality of life. To add to that, he’s installed security cameras around the top of the building that allow him to see scenes more up close.

“If you could sit here and see all over town, see the people you know and care about coming and going, you would feel more connected,” Crutchfield said. “That’s important to a person that’s confined to a bed.”

Crutchfield acknowledges that his dream of a care-facility may never happen, but he’s enjoying the work in progress.

“This is allowing me to keep a dream alive,” Crutchfield said. “If nothing else, it gives me happiness just trying to make this dream come true.”

Crutchfield is also quick to admit that he’s aware most people don’t, and won’t, understand the project and may even think less of him for it.

“I know a lot of people just won’t understand,” Crutchfield said. “That’s okay. I’m not doing this to try and impress anybody.”

Crutchfield has written a book that he is in the process of getting published that tells the story of his life and his son, Billy Glenn Jr.

Pictured below is the view of Weyerhaeuser from Crutchfield’s balcony on the south side of his eight-story building.

 

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