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History of Iron Man statue

Special to the Enquirer/Morgan County Genealogical Society

Sometime around the turn of the century, Bessemer pharmacist W. D. Taylor commissioned a Birmingham foundry to cast four or five 6-foot-4 Iron Man statues to advertise his product VegaCal, a liver tonic that contained, among other things, 12 percent alcohol. These statues were subsequently installed at various crossroads in the Birmingham area – but one was brought to Morgan County. It arrived by wagon and took several men to unload. It was originally placed in a pasture owned by Howard James at the intersection of Alabama Highway 36 and Forest Chapel Road, but it was then moved to the intersection of Highway 36 and Old Neel Road, which was later renamed Iron Man Road.

The statue’s two hands point north and south, while its two faces point east and west. Its chestplate carries the message “VegaCal Gets the Bile,” and its backplate reads “VegaCal for the Liver.” This is believed to be the last remaining Iron Man statue in the state. It is the only statue of any kind in Morgan County, other than the statues at the county courthouse in Decatur. Because of deterioration, the statue is now mounted on a concrete plinth and is regularly repainted by members of the Hopewell Homemakers Club.