CULLMAN, Ala. – The German Christmas pyramid, or Weihnachtspyramide, is a well-known feature in Cullman that celebrates the city’s German heritage. Perhaps lesser known is the charming glockenspiel clock that is the focal point of the King Edward Plaza Shopping Center in southeast Cullman. At the top of every hour, the clock comes to life and is a must-see (and hear!).
A glockenspiel clock makes music while figurines move or tell a story. The most famous and elaborate one in the world is the Rathaus-Glockenspiel in Munich, Germany; it consists of 43 bells and 32 life-sized figurines.
The King Edward Plaza Shopping Center is owned by Drinkard Development, and its glockenspiel clock, although not as fancy as the Rathaus-Glockenspiel, is simply delightful and fun. The clock tower has panels on each side of the clock’s face that depict outdoor scenes. Beneath the clock and panels is a banner made to look like a piece of music that reads “Ist das nicht eine Schnitzel Bank,” part of the lyrics of “The Schnitzelbank Song,” which was written and passed along by German immigrants in the United States in the 1800s.
At the top of each hour, the glockenspiel clock comes to life as several verses of “The Schnitzelbank Song” are played and the panels rotate to reveal wonderful surprises.
From the left panel is a figurine of Roy Drinkard wearing his signature suit and red bow tie. The right panel reveals Drinkard’s beloved dog. The clock and tower were designed, fabricated and installed by the Verdin Company in 1996, but the clock was recently renovated. The Verdin Company said in an October 2019 Facebook post, “About a year ago Verdin artisans repainted the figurines, outdoor scene and clock banner, fabricated new electrical components, clock dial and lighting and installed an updated digital carillon system.”
When “The Schnitzelbanlk Song” comes to an end, Drinkard is heard calling for his dog, who barks in response. The figurines move and play out the scene before the panels turn back around and the countdown begins to the top of the next hour.
The glockenspiel clock is uniquely Cullman and well worth the visit. You may find yourself humming or whistling the catchy “Ist das nicht eine SchnitzelBank” for days to come.
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