Evansville Shipyard May 22, 1943
The Evansville in WWII Digital Collection was funded with a grant from the US Institute of Museum and Library Services, administered by the Indiana State Library. In 2012, the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library has digitized and created keyword searchable local industry newsletters. EVPL collaborated with the Evansville Museum of Arts, History, and Science and the University of Southern Indiana to bring the public thousands of Evansville Shipyard photographs and war bond posters.
On Wednesday, May 22 at 11:00 a.m. the Evansville Museum unveiled the new home for the Vulcan Statue that, in July of 2012, was moved from the basement of the Old Courthouse. The Vanderburgh County Commissioners approved the donation of Vulcan to the Evansville Museum in 2009.
Since the moving of Vulcan, Oakland City, Indiana artist Bob Zasadny has restored the statue and the Museum has constructed a new exhibit space. The approximately nine and a half foot tall metal statue has been returned as close to the original look as possible. Vulcan has had his anvil, hammer, and shoes reconstructed, along with repairing one of his arms that was severely damaged.
The Vulcan statue’s new exhibit space is in an area of the Museum that focuses on Evansville’s history from 1812 through the turn of the 20th Century. The statue is complemented by a plow made by Vulcan Plow, a photographic mural backdrop of downtown Evansville in the late 1890s, and a limestone capped brick wall representing the top of the building on First Street where he stood for almost 50 years. Construction of this area was made possible through funding from former educator and antiques expert James A. Sanders.
Beginning in circa 1888, the statue of Vulcan stood on the roof of Heilman Plow Works (later known as Vulcan Plow), one of Evansville’s largest manufacturing companies of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Vulcan, the Roman god of fire and husband of Venus, was later adopted as the god of foundry and metalworking. Vulcan was the trademark of Heilman Plow Works. Today, the statue is an impressive reminder not only of Vulcan Plow Company, but also of Evansville’s industrial past.
Vulcan initially stood on the second floor ledge over the original office doorway of Heilman in the 400 block of Northwest First Street. Later it was moved to the roof of the new Vulcan Plow Company office building at the corner of Northwest First and Ingle Streets. The statue remained there until 1957 when the building was torn down. The statue later stood in the family garden of Dr. Frederick & Bertha Kiechle on Southeast First Street. It then went to the Jim Sanders farm near New Harmony. Mr. Sanders subsequently donated Vulcan to the Conrad Baker Foundation, later known as the Old Courthouse Preservative Society.
The Mullins Manufacturing Company made the hollow sheet metal statue Vulcan in Salem, Ohio. Mullins was famous for its statues, and between 1880 and 1920 their artisans produced hundreds.