CULLMAN, Ala. – To celebrate the twinning of Cullman and its German sister city Frankweiler, the Cullman German Club built the Frankweiler Fountain on 1st Avenue across from A Touch of German in 1988. One of the German gift shop’s owners at the time, Al Grobe, maintained the fountain until his death in 2003, shortly after which the fountain was shut off. As of Sunday evening, after approximately 18 years, the water was flowing once again.
John Caples and his wife Judith Caples, current owners of A Touch of German, decided to take on the project after the City of Cullman expressed a desire to take down and relocate the nonfunctional fixture. Over the weekend, they installed new lines, fittings and a new pump, then cranked up the fountain early Sunday evening.
John Caples said that the store often gets inquiries about the fountain, adding, “Your heart moves to those folks that have an interest and, with that in mind, that was really what compelled me to get this thing up and running.”
Caples pointed out that his connection to the fountain and shop is one that goes all the way home with him at night. After purchasing the shop from Peggy Grobe and moving to a house he had bought in the Historic District, he discovered that the home had previously been owned by the family of Mary Carson Glasscock, who founded the shop back in the 1970s. Glasscock sold the shop to a group of investors including Grobe in the late 1980s.
Caples told The Tribune that he and his wife will continue making improvements to the downtown landmark, including new plants around the fountain, new multicolored LED lights in and around the structure and a more powerful pump to increase the visibility of the water flow at the top.
“We’re hoping that people that do come by will get to enjoy a piece, a little bit, of the heritage that comes along with being a citizen of Cullman. And with that, it brings a lot of honor for us to do this for the family that actually started A Touch of German.”
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