Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Cullman County Historical Society holding Christmas Tour of Homes this weekend

The new headquarters of the Cullman County Historical Society and a renovated downtown commercial building are among the homes to be featured in the society’s annual Christmas Tour of Homes on Sunday, December 5.

The historic Hays House (pictured above) at 611 First Ave. SW will be open from 2 until 5 p.m. for tours and to sell tickets to the tour. The Historical Society dedicated the former home of Dr. Luther Hays as its new headquarters in November. Dr. Hays began practicing medicine in Cullman in 1901. The home he built with his wife Ethel features a wrap-around porch typical of Southern houses. In addition to his family’s quarters, the house also held his medical office.

The offices of Lee Powell Cotton States, (pictured right) will also be open for the tour. Lee and Ginger Powell bought the two story commercial building two years ago, with plans to make it office space for his insurance business and a loft home upstairs for their young family. The building has housed several businesses in recent years but is best known as the Nehi Building. The local Royal Crown bottling company mixed its fizzy concoctions on the second floor and bottled and sold them on the first floor.

The home of Jay and Alice Page, is on the Alabama Historic Commission’s Register of Landmarks and Historic Buildings. It is a Jacobean Revival style house and its beautiful and original architectural features have been preserved. The home was built by Dwight and Gladys Fuller. Bertha Cooper, a longtime employee of Leeth Bank, lived in the house for many years. It was featured in the Dot Graf book, "If Walls Could Talk."

The Hartung-Bonham home, was built in 1930 by Dr. Phillip Hartung, the grand-nephew of Col. Johann Gottfried Cullmann, our town’s founder. It remained in the possession of his descendants until this century. The Dutch Colonial style home is now owned by Becky Bonham. When the house was built, it was part of Cullman’s medical district. A small hospital was located nearby. Many of the nearby homes were doctors’ homes and offices. A front room of the house likely was an office for Dr. Hartung and is now a studio for Bonham.

The home of Charlotte and the late William Meredith, was also built in the 1930s by Charles Edward Young. Mr. Young also built the house next door and lived there with his mother. He built the Meredith house as a three-unit apartment building. When Suzanne and Neil Freeman (Cullman’s former superintendent of education) bought the houses from the Young estate, they totally renovated both as single-family homes.

Tickets for the tour will be sold at the Hays House, as well as at each home on the tour. They cost $10. Proceeds from the sale of tickets are used by the Cullman County Historical Society for its projects in the community, including the new murals of historic scenes on downtown buildings. The Historic Society is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization.

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