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Finding other Vulcans in Birmingham
By Tom Adkinson

birmingham vulcan
Birmingham vulcan; image by Tom Adkinson.

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – That 50-ton hunk of cast iron on top of Red Mountain isn’t the only place to find the Roman god of forge and fire in Birmingham. Scout around the Magic City, and you’ll find other representations of the mythological figure, such as these two. Vulcan looks down on both of them.

A human-sized sculpture decorates Railroad Park, a 19-acre greenspace along 1st Avenue. The park is nicknamed “Birmingham’s Living Room” because it’s such a comfortable place to gather and enjoy being outside. It has a lake, paths and open space for picnics, Frisbee tossing and catching some rays. Joggers can use this Vulcan to help them count laps on the interlocking routes through the park, while others can use it as a place to rendezvous. A few blocks away, a two-dimensional Vulcan figure is in an expansive mural at Hop City Beer and Wine on 3rd Avenue South. Vulcan, the blacksmith, probably would appreciate the fact Hop City has 66 beers on tap, plus access to 1,200 beer brands and 1,000 wines. Its Barleygarden Kitchen adds extra appeal with selections such as a pork chop and mac entree and a beets and goat cheese salad.

birmingham mural vulcan
Birmingham mural vulcan; image by Tom Adkinson.

Meanwhile, the giant Vulcan continues to attract admirers year-round. It was built for the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair and is the largest cast iron sculpture in the world. It moved to Red Mountain in the 1930s, was taken down in 1999 for a $15.5 million renovation and reopened in 2004. It is the centerpiece of a 10-acre park, and $6 buys you a ride up the statue for long-range views, including ones to Railroad Park and Hop City Beer down below.

Trip-planning resources:,, and

(Travel writer Tom Adkinson’s new book, 100 Things To Do in Nashville Before You Die, is available at

Published January 17, 2020

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