52 week's of Marie's Life

52 weeks captured through photos


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5. Bird’s Eye View (Week 14)

“Veni, vidi, vici.” – “I came, I saw, I conquered”.   ~ spoken by Gaius Julius Caesar

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Vulcan is the Roman God of the forge.  The giant Vulcan statue in Birmingham was created to represent the industrial strength of the region.  And you can climb to the top to get a bird’s eye view of downtown.

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Of course, we took the elevator!

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21. Industrial (Week 13)

“A diamond is a chunk of coal that did well under pressure.”  ~ Henry Kissinger ~

While visiting Birmingham, Alabama, a few weeks ago, we followed the recommendation of TripAdvisors and visited the Sloss Furnaces.  We read that this was an industrial museum.  There is no admission fee and, after checking in, you are free to wander around on your own.  If you are into architecture, industry, or photography – this is a place you must see.

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The city of Birmingham was formed to exploit the raw mineral resources of the area. Every ingredient necessary – coal, limestone, iron ore – to make iron was found within a 30 mile radius. In the 1870s, after a long financial depression, demand for industrial products was picking up throughout the nation. Agriculture had been the basis for Alabama’s economy, but the demand for cotton on the world market had declined causing people in the rural areas to seek out work in the mines, mills, and blast furnaces. Birmingham soon grew into the South’s leading city for heavy industry.

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Due to plastic pipe, ductile iron, foreign industry, and the Clean Air Act of 1970, Sloss Furnaces closed in 1971. In 1977 voters approved a bond to convert the furnaces into an industrial museum. Work commenced to restore the site and make it accessible to the public. Currently it is the only twentieth century blast furnace in the nation being preserved as an industrial museum.

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Sloss Furnaces is used as a backdrop for many concerts and community events.  As we wandered around the site, we came across preparations for their annual haunted house.  Incidentally, the site has been featured on Ghost Hunters.  I thought it would be appropriate to post this theme today, on Halloween.

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44. Speed (Week 12)

“Direction is more important than speed. We are so busy looking at our speedometers that we forget the milestone….”

This replica of one of the 1969 Harley-Davidson Captain America choppers used in the movie “Easy Rider” is on display at the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum.

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Earlier this month my husband and I took a short vacation to Birmingham, Alabama.  The purpose was to go to the Annual Barber Vintage Festival at the Barber Motorsports Park.  In years past, my husband has ridden his motorcycle up with friends to enjoy the motorcycle races and vendors, as well as spending hours wandering five floors of the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum.  This year I opted to join him and we made it a car trip.

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While we waited on races to begin, I watched  antique Indian and Harley-Davidson motorcycles speed around in this “wall of death.”  The Wall of Death is a vintage live action thrill show within a silo-shaped wooden cylinder 30 feet in diameter that motorcycle daredevils perform acrobatic and trick riding in.  Onlookers could watch from the top of a 14 foot board wall.  As they sped around in circles and reached the top rim of the motor drome, I couldn’t help but step back from the wall as I felt the wind of the motorcycles passing inches away from us.

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We knew we would meet up with friends who also rode up for the weekend to watch as vintage motorcycles from all over the world came to race.  It was especially fun to watch as Denny Poneleit, from Sarasota, raced around the track and captured 3rd place.  The next day we left for home, but we heard he took 1st place in his race that day.

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