Weiss Cottage: Cullman’s Oldest Home

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CULLMAN – In the heart of downtown Cullman, located at 401 1st Ave. SW, there sits a little white house. The house, although delicate and beautiful, is actually the town’s oldest cottage. Simply lovely, the cottage is available for show by appointment through the Cullman County Museum.

The small wood framed cottage is typical of early Cullman homes. Weiss Cottage was originally located on Lot 440 on 6th St. SE. The property and the house were purchased from L&N Railroad on February 24, 1875 by Dr. Aldo Weiss.

Even though the home is very small, Dr. Weiss, his wife Magdalena, and their children Emma, Charles and Clara lived in there comfortably.

Not only was it their home, but it also served as Dr. Weiss’ office.

The family’s goats were housed in the cellar, and their home was often called ‘The Goat House’.

On December 18, 1889, the house was sold to Judge S.L. Fuller and his wife Evelyn. Evelyn Fuller was one of Cullman’s early postmistresses.

The cottage went through several various owners until 1917 when Charles Ruehl bought it. It stayed in the family until 1976, when the owner at the time, Mrs. Inez Ruehl, needed the land the cottage was on for other purposes.

Cullman’s oldest home was then given to the City of Cullman with the stipulation that it be moved from 206 Sixth Ave. SE to 401 1st Ave. SW. The old home was moved and complete restoration began.

The place was furnished with typical 19th century items and became a Bicentennial project for the City of Cullman Federated Women’s Clubs and the Historical Society.

To top off the historic project, the Cullman Garden Club Federation did the planting of the grounds, creating colorful and stunning flowers throughout the home’s surroundings.

On the inside of the cottage, you can see that the windowsills had been actual railroad ties and nails.

A historic quilt is neatly draped over the old bed just inside the front door. It was made by various Homemakers Clubs throughout the county. There are also a few items of Dr. Weiss’ medical equipment on a bookshelf display on the wall opposite the bed near a small rustic table.

During the restoration, several layers of old wallpaper were carefully removed in order to find the original, which was matched and replaced as carefully as possible. The results of the restoration were breathtaking and the small landmark is considered to be one of the town’s many treasures.

Weiss Cottage was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage by the Alabama Historical Commission on January 25, 1977, and was also added to the National Register in April 1985.

Those interested in touring Weiss Cottage can call the Cullman County Museum at 256-739-1258 or 1-800-533-1258.