|1701 Valley View Dr,
Birmingham, AL 35209
Today we pushed further south into Alabama moving towards the State capital Montgomery. En route we decide to call into Birmingham, Alabama. This town was once a thriving industrial town based around the iron manufacturing industry but as time has passed it has to reinvent itself, focusing on new sectors like medicine.
One thing that had captured our imagination was the Vulcan Park, which is based around a large cast iron statue of the Roman God Vulcan (god of fire and forge). At 56 feet this is the largest cast iron statue in the world, and was built for the 1904 World’s Fair in St Louis to demonstrate Birmingham’s iron industry. It is mounted on top of a large pillar on a hill overlooking the City of Birmingham. On the grounds of the statue is a museum cataloguing Birmingham’s industrial past and it’s history through the Great Depression and role in the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s. One of the things we had noticed on arrival was several school buses full of children on school trips to the park. Fortunately it was lunchtime so we were able to dodge in amongst their lunch munching – what bliss!
I feel a bit sorry Jack and Emily who we continue to drag around museums, to be fair they are good about it but need to be reminded this is their education for this year. So we had to pull them up a few times and make them look at the displays and read the information otherwise we would be through and out of the museum inside 10 minutes. The museum itself had only been open since June so had yet to be wrecked by visitors and although small it was very well presented.
After touring the museum we wanted to go up the monument. The two options were the 150 odd stairs which run up through the inside of the tower or the elevator. Foolishly I decided to take the steps, which only sufficed to remind me what I already knew about my fitness. Karen on the other hand was wiser as her hips were playing her up again she took the elevator. Around the top of the tower is a platform which gives great views, the unfortunate fact for those suffering from vertigo is that the platform is made from a wire mesh. This gives a splendid view past your feet to the base of the tower – and whilst Jack loved it Karen and myself were not so happy so we did not spend a lot of time up there and were quite happy to go back down to terra firma.