February 18, 1904
Vulcan sculptor and Italian artist Giuseppe Moretti arrived in Birmingham on Feb. 18, 1904 but was not met at Union Station as planned and had to find his own way to the Commercial Club’s office in the National Bank of Birmingham building. Moretti cast Vulcan, the largest cast-iron statue ever made, for the 1904 World’s Fair. He agreed to charged only $6,000 for the massive plaster model of Vulcan, which was to be the Magic City’s contribution to the St. Louis Exposition. He created the plaster in New Jersey, accompanied it to Alabama to oversee its casting in iron in 1904 and then traveled with the pieces to St. Louis, where Vulcan was assembled. Moretti’s most important works in Alabama, other than Vulcan, include the Mary Cahalan statue in Linn Park, the Patrick O’Reilly statue at St. Vincent’s Hospital, and the work most prized by Moretti himself, Head of Christ.
Read more at Bhamwiki.
Giuseppe Moretti poses here with a model of his sculpture of Vulcan, commissioned in 1903 by the Commercial Club of Birmingham to represent Alabama at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, Birmingham Public Library Archives)
Vulcan Statue and Park, 1996. (Richard K. Anderson Jr., Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)
Sculptor Giuseppe Moretti, center, and a group of workmen pose before the lower right leg of the statue of Vulcan in 1904, the year it was displayed at the St. Louis World’s Fair. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of Birmingham Public Library Archives)
Giuseppe Moretti’s Vulcan statue stands amid other displays in the Palace of Mines and Metallurgy at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. It earned silver medals for its creator, Giuseppe Moretti, and iron and steel manufacturers James R. McWane and J. A. MacKnight, who commissioned the monumental sculpture. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of the A.S. Williams III Americana Collection. The University of Alabama Libraries)
Colossal iron statue of Vulcan, in the Mines Building, St. Louis World’s Fair, c. 1904. (Underwood & Underwood, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)
Vulcan statue, Birmingham, 2010. (The George F. Landegger Collection of Alabama Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith’s America, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)
The Patrick O’Reilly statue at St Vincent’s Hospital. (Birmingham Public Library Archives, Bhamwiki)
The Mary Cahalan statue in Linn Park, 2011. (Bhamwiki)
E.C. Kropp postcard featuring the Head of Christ by Giuseppe Moretti, c. 1940s. (Auburn University Libraries, Wikipedia)
For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.