To Birmingham AL
Before arriving at our hotel in Birmingham AL we stopped in a few cities: Knoxville TN, Chattanooga TN, Fort Payne AL and Gadsden AL. Each one was selected for a unique attraction that we wanted to visit and photograph.
In Knoxville we found a large bronze sculpture of an oarsman which appears to paddle a boat that’s half-submerged in the sidewalk. It was sculpted by David L. Phelps in 1988.
Leaving town we spotted the Sunsphere which is a 266 foot high hexagonal steel truss structure, topped with a 75 foot gold-colored glass sphere that served as the symbol of the 1982 World’s Fair.
We also noticed the nice college building from the interstate: South College traces its history to 1882 when Jacob T. Johnson established a branch of Nashville Business College in downtown Knoxville. That institution later changed its name to Knoxville Business College.
For most of its history, the school's offerings were primarily in fields such as accounting and business, with computer-related fields added over time. Since 1989, the curriculum has expanded to include paralegal and legal studies, criminal justice, elementary education, and a variety of health related subjects.
We proceeded to visit Ohio’s tribute, erected in 1890 at the Chattanooga National Cemetery, to honor Andrews Raiders. On April 12, 1862 James Andrews led 21 Union volunteers to capture a Rebel train and drive it back North. A replica of the locomotive, known as The General, sits on the monument. Some of the men escaped, a few were exchanged and eight were hanged and are buried behind the monument.
The band known as Alabama came from Fort Payne AL. They had 41 number one hits! So, as you can see, it made sense that the local citizens show a little pride that “Dem good ‘ol boys did good!” Hence, bronze statues were erected at a corner of the local park downtown.
Not every place we go to visit is a home run. While Gadsden AL seems to be a wonderful and successful town by the Coosa River we chose unwisely. We wanted to see a tribute to Air Conditioning. We know it was invented to fight Malaria during the building of the Panama Canal. AC didn’t help with the mosquitos but it started a whole new industry. This was a puny exhibit.
Birmingham was founded and grew into the largest industrial center in the South because of the iron and steel industries. Local foundries transformed enormous quantities of Birmingham iron into useful products like stoves, sewing machines, fire hydrants, manhole covers, and iron pipe that were shipped throughout the country.
So, it makes sense that a statue of Vulcan (the Roman god of fire and forge) be used as the city symbol to reflect its roots in the iron and steel industry. The statue is the world's largest iron-ore statue, and among the nation’s tallest.
We got the opportunity to go up and view the town as dusk approached. Ellen lost her nerves at the top.