Days Gone By - stories from the past

Did you know that Vulcan was once at Fair Park in West End, Birmingham, Alabama?




I was born in Ensley, I believe on a corner of Prince Street. There were streets like ‘Ave. I’–‘G’ and I guess the whole alphabet.

A Catholic church was across the street from us. We would go past there thru the alley to get to my Aunt’s house. She had a boarding house and her cook lived in the backyard. So exciting to go to the cooks house because her walls were papered with the ‘funny papers’ and you walked around the room reading them. She used the ‘rotogravure’ for wallpaper, also.

I use to love coming thru a little park that was close. A tiny little creek ran thru the park and you could smell the creosote in the water. I liked it. A little bridge had been build so you could cross it. Life was a bowl of berries.

And, do I remember the VULCAN. OH, yes. There was a small area around it and it had a merry-go-round. I was four and the first time in my life that I was so insulted!!!!!!!! Wasn’t sure I liked my Mom because we went there (My mother was always taking us to see interesting places) and The Vulcan was one of them.

Vulcan fairgrounds 1906 Vulcan in the distance at the fairgrounds

On this day, I was crazy to ride the merry-go-round, so excited I could hardly bear it. And where did my mother put me??? in one of the benches not on a beautiful horse going up and down. She was afraid I would fall off the horse and sitting there on that bench, my life had ended. I was so ashamed, I would not look at her when we would go by.

I think that little place turned into nothing and for years, the Great Vulcan was just lying around. When I was 9 we moved to Georgia. The Vulcan was revived put up on the mountain and you know the rest of that. It was one of the first places I took my husband when we went to Birmingham. I had then and I still have relatives that live all around in Alabama.

On my father’s side, they lived around the Cullman area and on my mother’s side they lived in Perote area. From one end of the State to the other.

Do you know about the Angwin-Brown (I think I am right about the Brown) Funeral Home in Birmingham? The Angwin part was related to my mother. Cuz Daisy, It became Angwin Funeral Home and I believe, it is still in there. I remember so much more about the few years we lived in Alabama. Life is good. It’s that Lowery bunch that I can’t track down.

(Click to read more of the history of Vulcan)

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Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and All her books can be purchased at and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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  1. It would be interesting to know what years Caroline lived there. I lived on Avenue H a couple of blocks from Baker Elementary School. My best friend attended the Catholic school mentioned, and I’m very familiar with Angwin Funeral Home. From the mention of Vulcan being in pieces on the ground, I suspect Caroline lived in Ensley long before I did.

    1. My Grandfather remembered Vulcan being there.

  2. Yes. I case it when I was a little girl.

  3. About 50 years ago there was a song about the Vulcan that played on the radio for quite a while. It told the story of Vulcan’s travel’s up the rivers to Birmingham.
    It was a very good song, historical, as to how it came to be in existence. It was shipped, I think to New Orleans, or Mobile where it went by river’s to Birmingham.
    I clicked Vulcan song on You Tube, but it didn’t come up. If anyone can get it, please do and post to Facebook or to Alabama pioneers. Thanks

  4. I have a cup and saucer souvenir from the park. It still has the sticker on the saucer. My grandparents lived in Ensley back in the day.

  5. I lived on the same side of the street of the Catholic Church 2 houses away. The Alley ran beside my house. Christmas midnight mass made it terribly hard to go to sleep for Santa to come.

  6. Yes I was born in Bham and lived in Ensley till we moved. Sure has changed. Wow.

  7. I grew up across the creek in Powderly.

  8. Yes. My dad said he once sat on his toe.

  9. The funeral home was Echols-Angwin. Mr. Echols was my husband’s step grandfather. Brown’s is and was in Bessemer.

    1. Thank you for the correction.

  10. Yes , my great grandmother lived there. She remembers when the Vulcan was lying in the ground and they used to climb on it.

  11. He sits atop Red Mountain now.

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