Destination Alabama: Birmingham’s Vulcan

Destination Alabama

In CBS 42’s first installment of “Destination Alabama,” CBS 42 news anchor Jack Royer takes a look at Vulcan, Birmingham’s century-old landmark.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — It may be impossible to visit Birmingham without catching a glimpse of Vulcan, the world’s largest cast-iron statue, as it proudly pointing to the future while also reflecting Birmingham’s history of iron and steel.

“I hope that visitors that come to Vulcan Park and Museum and to Birmingham understand the greater picture of our history of who we are from Vulcan, from the steel industry, from civil rights, from our medical community, just understanding of who we are,” said Joe Saling, director of visitor experience at Vulcan Park and Museum.

The 56-foot-tall statue of the Roman god of fire was entered in the 1904 World’s Fair. It had to wait until 1936 before being placed on top of Red Mountain, overlooking the “Magic City.” The statue was taken down in 1999 to undergo a $14 million renovation. It appears today just as it first did in the 1930s. In 2004, it reopened in its current form, with a renovated park, just in time for Vulcan’s 100th birthday. Inside, the Vulcan Museum details the history of the steel and iron industries that made Birmingham the city it is.

“The museum offers an overview of the history of the city of Birmingham so you can learn about the statue of Vulcan, why he was created, and you can learn about the founding of the city and what makes the city unique,” said Jennifer Watts, director of museum programs at Vulcan Park.

It’ll cost you a few bucks to get to the top of Vulcan, but the grounds here at Vulcan Park and Museum are free to the public and so is the magnificent view from high atop Red Mountain.

“It’s great to hear people speak of all that happens up here, all the involvement that we had throughout the city and furthering the city’s reputation,” Saling said. “It’s wonderful to them to have an icon like Vulcan.”


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