My last full day in Birmingham, I visited Vulcan Park and Museum at the top of Red Mountain. From the park, visitors can see the city of Birmingham which sits in the valley below. While we picked a clear, sunny day to visit, the wind was fierce and cold. We ventured up the statue’s base to see the best views, but it was so windy and cold, we didn’t stay long! Please learn from my mistake and visit the Vulcan Park and Museum when it’s warm and NOT windy!
Vulcan is the largest cast iron statue in the world, standing at 56 feet tall. It portrays the Roman god Vulcan, god of fire and forge, standing with his arm raised high. The Vulcan statue has become the city symbol of Birmingham, reflecting its founding as the iron and steel capital of the south.
Vulcan originally was created for the 1904 World’s Fair) in St. Louis. Other cities offered to purchase the statue, but Birmingham kept it and settled it permanently on Red Mountain in the 1930’s.
In the 1990’s, civic leaders funded a major overhaul to preserve Vulcan. They also created an educational museum to share Birmingham’s history. The first exhibits illustrate Birmingham’s early history as a “company town,” focused on industry. Then visitors get an up close look at the Vulcan statue’s creation, history, and restoration.
The museum takes guests through Birmingham’s economic collapse during the Depression, civil unrest of the 1960’s. The “Birmingham Today” exhibit shares the city’s rebirth in new areas of business: banking, medical research and education. Walls of windows offer guests a great (wind-free) view of Birmingham today.
To plan your visit to Vulcan, visit the park’s website. In addition to regular hours, the park is open every evening from 6-10 p.m. for great views of the city lights.
If you can’t get to Birmingham, check out museums and statues in your area. Contact your local Convention and Visitor Bureau (CVB) to discover local secrets. Who knows? You might just find something new to love about your hometown!
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Special thanks to the Birmingham CVB and the Vulcan Park and Museum staff for arranging my visit. I look forward to returning this spring when trees and flowers have bloomed and the winter winds are long gone!