Vulcan Park & Museum celebrate ten years - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Vulcan Park & Museum celebrate ten years

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BIRMINGHAM - AL -

If you've lived in Birmingham in the last ten years, chances are you've visited Vulcan Park and Museum.

Before the park re-opened in 2004 it was shut down in the late 90s.

The statue of Vulcan became so heavily damaged it was considered unsafe to set foot in the park. The community came together to help restore Vulcan, and his park.

This weekend marks the tenth anniversary since the park re-opened. Admission is a dollar off for all guests, day or night.

Those with ties to this park want people to experience it and understand why the park and the statue of Vulcan mean so much to Birmingham.

Darlene Negrotto, president and CEO of Vulcan Park and Museum, looks back on the ten year history of the current park.

"It's hard to believe so much time has passed," she says.

Negrotto knows the park and its statue date back even further.

Designed by Italian artist Giuseppe Moretti and cast from local iron in 1904, Vulcan made its first appearance at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis. 

It represented the prowess of Birmingham's booming iron industry.

He was brought back to Birmingham and placed on top of Red Mountain in the 1930s.

There he stood, until the late 90s.

"Back in 1999, Vulcan Park and the statue looked very different than what it does today," explains Negrotto. "The statue itself had fallen into disrepair when he was put on the mountain in the 30s. They filled his torso with concrete. His metal exterior had cracked. There was a lot of water intrusion. He began to rust and rusted to the point that it was quite dangerous."

The park was shut down. With that, came the creation of the Vulcan Park Foundation, a group aimed at restoring the statue and the park.

Steve Yoder served on the Vulcan Park foundation at the time.

"It took five years to repair it. And we were kind of running in place," recalls Yoder. "While we were repairing it, we were also raising the money to repair it."

$16 million was raised for the project. And in 2004, the park and its prized statue
were back in business.

For Yoder, the re-opening of Vulcan Park helped bring about the renaissance of Birmingham,
by offering a sense of pride.

Yoder says, "The park around the statue, that is at one of the highest points in city, and is the symbol of the city... It was pretty clear that it had to be fixed up in a way that everyone would look at it and say, 'this is good.'

This Saturday, if you want to take in the history of this statue and the history of Birmingham, there will be one dollar off admission in honor of the tenth anniversary of the re-opening of this park. Click here for more information.

 

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