Cumberland Insurance Group Unveils Minerva Sculpture

January 1, 2010


(L-R) Georgia artist Beverly Babb and Cumberland Insurance
Group President and CEO Robert P. Brady.

The Minerva sculpture, which is made of steel, is 8 feet high,
14 feet long, and weighs 1,500 pounds.

 

BRIDGETON, NJ: In February of 1844, a group of Bridgeton, New Jersey area residents met at Potter’s Tavern to launch a new mutual insurance company which would provide fire insurance coverage at the lowest possible cost to farms, private residences, and small businesses located in and around southern New Jersey. The Company came to be symbolized by an early 1800s fire engine called the Minerva. In recognition of this beginning, the Company recently unveiled a full size replica of the Minerva at the main lobby circle of their Shiloh Pike corporate offices.

According to Cumberland Insurance Group President and CEO Robert P. Brady, “The Minerva is a very important part of Cumberland’s history. Organized fire protection in the City of Bridgeton started in 1819. Sometime around 1840, the City’s original volunteer fire brigade was replaced by the Minerva Volunteer Fire Company. These volunteers used a horse drawn hand pumper fire wagon they called the Minerva. After the formation of the Cumberland Mutual Fire Insurance Company, we worked closely with the organized fire brigades in the area. This cooperation ranged from fire inspection services to outright ownership of fire apparatus such as the Minerva.”

“The Minerva Fire Company disbanded sometime in the 1850s, and unfortunately, the original apparatus was lost,” Brady continued. “However, the Minerva continued to live on as it became a part of our Company logo. Early in 2007, the Board of Directors, spearheaded by Chairman Leo Hogan, commissioned the creation of a Minerva sculpture. After a long journey all the way from Carlton, Georgia, the sculpture has finally arrived.”

The 8' x 14' x 5' Minerva sculpture was created by Georgia artist Beverly Babb. The steel sculpture weighs 1,500 pounds and contains over 100 yards of welds. Babb graduated from welding school in 1995, and for several years worked in large welding factories on the West Coast. In 2001, she moved to Carlton where she set up her workshop and began creating her incredible steel sculptures. Since then she has had shows in several galleries, including Galapagos Art Space in New York City, Jittery Joe’s in Athens, Georgia, and Ciné in Athens, Georgia. She won First Place prizes for her sculptures in the 2008 and the 2009 Lyndon House Juried Art Exhibits.

Although the idea of creating a replica of the Minerva had been percolating for a while, the actual project arose out of a chance meeting Leo Hogan had in 2007. “I happened to be on vacation in the same location as Beverly’s parents, Jack and Juliette,” Hogan said. “After spending some time with them, somehow the conversation about Beverly came up. Upon my return from vacation, I passed the information on to our advertising agency, Lee Tofanelli and Associates, Inc., who contacted her and began the process. After speaking with her and presenting some of her work and drawings to the Board, we decided that she would be the perfect person to bring the Minerva back to life.”

“It has been a great experience working on this project,” Babb said. “Once Cumberland decided to proceed with the sculpture, I needed some good photos of what the Minerva looked like. The Company only had one small photo, so after some research, I located a fire engine very similar to the original Minerva at the Fire Museum of Maryland in Lutherville. I visited the Museum and was able to take several photos to guide me in the creative process. I then worked with Tofanelli and Associates on the initial designs which were presented to Cumberland Insurance for review. Once approved, the actual construction took about six months. I actually had to move to a friend’s studio so I would have enough space to complete the finished product. We received plenty of interested looks and some wonderful comments as we moved it on a trailer from Georgia to Bridgeton.”

“With the installation of the sculpture complete, the Minerva will once again proudly stand as a shining monument to Cumberland’s roots, honor the employees who for over 165 years have worked to make Cumberland a success, and pay tribute to the firefighters of today who continue to protect our homes and businesses,” Hogan concluded.

The Cumberland Insurance Group, established in 1844, is celebrating its 165th anniversary and currently serves over 120,000 policyholders in the states of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland. In 2008, the Company had Total Admitted Assets of $315,595,220 and a Policyholders’ Surplus of $140,166,468. For more information about The Cumberland Insurance Group, or to find an independent agent near you, please visit www.cumberlandgroup.com.

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