Tuesday, March 11, 2008


The city of Birmingham, Alabama, has been guarded for more than 100 years by a statue of Vulcan, the pagan god of metallurgy. Vulcan was thought to be the perfect protector for Birmingham, long a steelmaking giant of American industry.

Vulcan’s first home, however, wasn’t Birmingham-- it was St. Louis, Missouri. Vulcan was created for the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. Vulcan was a somewhat controversial fellow, however-- the sculptor created him naked, as sculptors are wont to do, and the mighty Vulcan’s bare backside and-- err-- male apparatus offended some residents of Our Fair City. So a compromise of sorts was reached under the terms of which (so to speak) Vulcan’s mighty-- err-- male apparatus was covered with an apron, which in fact covered his manhood but left his mighty male backside four sheets to the wind.

After the Fair, Vulcan was disassembled and shipped to Birmingham. After his reassembly, he was the center of controversy for some time, because the suburb towards which his backside faced didn’t like having his “moons” always in view. Ah, the sacrifices we must make for the sake of art…


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