I am always amazed when I find city names in a place like England that we have sister cities of in the US. Names that I thought were strictly US names I have come to realize are not very original at all. I knew about the obvious ones like York and New York, Jersey and New Jersey, Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds and Lincoln. I also knew that here in Alabama we have a Birmingham named after the Birmingham in England. We say “Bir ming HAM” Brits say “Bir minghim”.
Since we are here in Bir ming HAM, Alabama visiting family I thought I’d show my British friends around a bit.
I have visited the Birmingham area many times over the past 20 years or so. I came to the city today with new eyes and decided to look at it through the eyes of a tourist. Rob and I happened to be near the city center and I remarked a major Birmingham landmark, statue of Vulcan, I had never seen up close. Drivers can see Vulcan from the interstate. I had seen him lording above the traffic for years and knew he must have a story to tell.
We took a quick drive to the top of Red Mountain over looking the Birmingham skyline to get a close up look at this Greek god of Steel.
Vulcan is the world’s largest cast iron statue. The statue was designed by Italian artist Giuseppe Moretti and cast from local iron in 1904. The symbol of steel, Vulcan has overlooked Alabama’s largest city from atop Red Mountain since the 1930s.
During the decades after the Civil War Birmingham became the leading producer of iron and steel in the southeastern United States. The raw materials used in the production of these metals are iron ore, limestone, coal and dolomite. In some parts of the Birmingham area the deposits of these mineral was only a few miles apart.
The Red Mountain, upon which Vulcan stands was a large iron ore mine. The shafts of this ore deposit mine stretched some 15 miles.
So we learned something new about our home state today. Tomorrow is the 4th of July. We will celebrate the birthday of our country. My nieces and I are working on a red, white and blue dessert. We will grill dinner outdoors and enjoy time with family and fireworks, perhaps the ones from Red Mountain. We will see how the day pans out.