Cullman County Museum April Walking Tours preparing for five weekends (UPDATED)

'…To tour Cullman and learn about our German heritage and the many unique characters who have lived here, starting with our founder John Cullmann.' – Drew Green, Director of the Cullman County Museum

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(Cullman Tribune file photo)

CULLMAN, Ala. – This spring will mark the 10th anniversary of the Cullman April Walking Tours and with five weekends this year, the Cullman County Museum has much in store for visitors.

Museum Director Drew Green helped kick start the program locally when he joined the CCM in 2012. Green said the Walking Tours are being held statewide during the month of April.

With many unknown stories about Cullman, Green said the weekend walks will be a great way for residents and visitors to learn about early Cullman.

“This is a great way to learn about the history of your town. How many times have you driven or walked passed a building or empty lot and wondered what the history of it was? For example, there is a large cement pad behind Vincent Furniture… what was in this space emptied by the 2011 tornado?” Green posed. “Esther’s Opera House–Cullman had a rich tradition of appreciating culture and music. The first club was The Symphony Club and John Cullmann’s niece Julia Hartung (who he convinced along with her doctor husband to move to Cullman) had studied at the Richard Wagner Studio in Germany. She, in turn, taught many of Cullman’s early music teachers,” he explained.

Each year, the tours are given by different local historians. Green said this year will be no different.

“I will once again direct the tours. This year we have a bonus fifth Saturday in April. Each Saturday, a different local historian will lead the tours,” he said. “Guides for this year will include Michael Sullins, Dr. Bill Peinhardt, Ben South, Julie Burks and Green. Each guide is allowed to choose their own route based on their interest so each Saturday will be different. The Cullman County Museum provides research and information to include in the tours once the guide has chosen their route.”

 As a free event, Green said the importance of the tours for the museum, besides learning about Cullman’s history, is to provide more exposure for the museum to folks who may not know it’s here.

“Several times a month, we have a local visitor who “didn’t know about the museum.” Sometimes, the best treasures are located in your own backyard,” he said. “We are fortunate that our early leaders appreciated the importance of Cullman’s unique history and preserving it. I am thankful for the continued support of our current mayor and city council. The walking tours are an interesting way to call attention to this unique local treasure.”

 As this story was finished before Green could solidify tour guides, he did list the stops past tours have visited.

“As I mentioned, each guide will decide on the route and stops, and they have not committed yet. In the past, we have stopped by such sites as Cullman’s First Church, St. John’s, Cullman’s Oldest house, the Weiss Cottage (which is currently being restored), the German Bank Building (Mary Carter Paint Store), the Depot etc. While the tours officially end, many of the leaders will continue on if there is an interest and sites those on the tour are interested in learning about can be explored,” he said.

If Green had one sentence to pitch the Walking Tours to a group looking for something entertaining and informative, he said, “After almost three years of being confined by the pandemic, it is nice to get out in a relatively safe way; to tour Cullman and learn about our German heritage and the many unique characters who have lived here, starting with our founder John Cullmann.” 

The walks begin at 10:00 a.m. on the front steps of the Cullman County Museum, rain or shine, and the museum will be open at no-charge every Saturday in April. An assorted lot of local experts will take you on a literal stroll through Cullman’s history while sharing interesting facts and stories not known to many residents. The tour takes roughly one hour to complete.

Masks and social distancing are required inside the museum.

More information about the April Walking Tours is available on the Alabama Tourism Department website at: https://www.alabama.travel/.

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