April Walking Tours begin, will continue Saturday

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Cullman County Museum Director Drew Green speaks to tour participants Saturday near the old Cullman Banana Supply Building. (Christy Perry for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The first of four historic walking tours began Saturday morning at the Cullman County Museum. Begun by the Alabama Tourism Department 10 years ago, the April Walking Tours take place every Saturday morning in April in several communities throughout the state. 

Kicking off this year’s tours was guide Dr. Bill Peinhardt, who was accompanied by his cousin W.C. Peinhardt and Cullman County Museum Director Drew Green. They were joined by approximately 25 people. The group first walked to the Festhalle where everyone learned about the important role the railroad played in the history of Cullman. 

The railroad was built after the Civil War around 1870, and Colonel Johann G. Cullmann brought the first of five German families to the area.

“Strawberries were the crop they were most efficient at,” according to Dr. Peinhardt, who said German was spoken here until the 1930s. 

The Peinhardt family was a supplier of the mules used on the farms in Cullman in the early 1900s. The mules would come in from Pulaski, Tennessee’s Milky Way Farms to the Peinhardts. When the mules came in and were led to the mule barns it was ,”quite a sight to see,” said C.W. Peinhardt.

Next the tour headed to the Cullman Banana Supply Building, around the block to the Cullman Power Board and to Sacred Heart Catholic Church before returning to the museum. Guests learned of many interesting facts such as the Cullman Power Board building was once a grocery store and strawberries were once Cullman’s number one agricultural export with bananas being the major import. 

Roberta McClellan spoke about the history of strawberries and how “they put Cullman on the map.” The original Strawberry Festival was a week-long celebration and brought thousands of people to Cullman.

McClellan explained, “The first Strawberry Festival in 1939 had a parade with 50 floats. There were Strawberry Kings and Queens. It was a really huge event.”

The free walking tours will continue this Saturday with tour guide Michael Sullins. The tour will begin at 10 a.m. on the steps of the Cullman County Museum and last for approximately one hour. There is no charge.

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Christy Perry

christy@cullmantribune.com