Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Baby Got Back
So, to continue along the line of posts that leave you at a loss for words, I give you now a giant, cast iron Butt. Oh, the possibilities for titles of this post were just mind boggling. Now, many of you know that all of my post titles are also song titles, so I started to go with the old hip-hop mantra, "Take Yo Big Azz Outside"; I mean, how apropos! But, I was afraid that might be a bit too much and went with the more sublime Sir Mix-a-lot classic, "Baby Got Back" and back he does have! I mean, look at that tush! He could crack pecans with those buns.
Now, just in case you are not sure what you are looking at, this is the back side of Birmingham's most famous resident, Vulcan. And no, this butt is not an editorial comment from me to you! I've been meaning to post about this little adventure Jack and I had back in February but, just had not gotten around to it until now. The website highlighted above gives you a very extensive history of Vulcan and all about the surrounding park, which I am proud to say, my former company completely renovated in 2002-03 and in which Vulcan was restored. I didn't get to work on that job, as I was involved in another restoration, and had never visited the park so Jack and I took a day to go see Sweet Cheeks. Seriously though, it is a very cool site and the accompanying museum is nice.
Vulcan was cast in 1904 (I believe) as Birmingham's entry into the St.Louis World Fair to highlight the city's rich steel and iron industry. He was designed and built by Italian sculptor Giuseppe Moretti in 6 months! and is the largest cast iron statue in the whole world. They have an extensive exhibit inside the museum that shows just how Vulcan was built and it is very interesting.
The concrete structure (which my company built), that sits beside Vulcan's pedestal, is an elevator that takes you up to an observation platform. Or you can actually climb the old original stairs inside the pedestal. It was fairly cold and windy that day so we didn't stay up there long. It's a wonderful park in warm weather though. Vulcan sits atop Red Mountain so that adds considerably to his height, and the cold.
Here is my handsome husband trying to figure something out on his camera. Because of the location on Red Mountain it is also the site of 2 TV stations, which you may can see in the background. In his younger days, after the Marines, Jack worked for one of the stations here before moving on to larger stations in Atlanta and beyond.
This in the view from the observation platform of downtown Birmingham. If you enlarge the photo you may be able to see much of the UAB complex, one of the leading medical institutes of the country. Yes, I'm proud of Alabama. We have lots of good things here, big butts and all.
The view looking down, obviously. I thought the map was cool. If you don't like heights this may be a bit of a challenge. The platform that you stand on here is actually a stainless steel grate, so you can see straight down beneath your feet. I am quite used to heights from working construction for so many years but I must say, it did make me just a tad uneasy.!
I thought this was a pretty cool Louise Nevelson inspired sculpture. The guys told me that they uncovered a number of mining artifacts during the construction and many of these went into this and other exhibits in the museum. See, Vulcan actually sits above a large iron ore mine and many of the old tunnels and shafts are still there.
This is a lifesize replica of Vulcan's foot. You can tell Jack was just thrilled to be photographed with it. So, all in all it was a very interesting trip. We had fun and if you are ever in the Magic City I would suggest a visit to Mr. Vulcan. He'll be glad to see you.