Saturday, October 22, 2011

Peinhardt Living History Farm (with photos and video)

CULLMAN, Alabama -- Peinhardt Living History Farm welcomed the public Saturday for its annual Farm Day. Visitors could see an old schoolhouse, barn and log cabin, and see sorghum syrup, hominy and more being made. (See more photos on Facebook.)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Cullman's Living History Cemetery Tour

Tim Richter portrays Oscar Otto Richter

And here's myself and my wife as Cullman undertaker Oscar Fischer and his wife, Lena. (It was dark by the time the first group reached us so most of the video is too dark to see. The audio is good, however.)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Cullman in the 1880s mural being restored

The exterior wall of the building housing the "Cullman in the 1880s" mural, which houses the offices of the Hames Law Firm has been restored after damage caused by the April 27, 2011 tornado. The artist who painted the mural, Jack Tupper, has said he will repaint the portion of the mural that was destroyed. (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Most, if not all, of the original bricks from the building appear to have been saved, as can be seen evidenced in the photo below as Tupper's handiwork appears in haphazard fashion. (It is possible some of the bricks that appear unpainted may be turned backward from their original position, or some may have been lost or destroyed.)

Below are photos of the finished work before the tornado struck and the building after the destruction. You can see the mural at 427 Second Ave. SW. It includes pictures of Kinney Horse and Mule Barn, First Fire Station, Werdt's German Restaurant, Dinckelberg's Santa Claus Store and the First County Courthouse.

Friday, July 8, 2011

German Farmers Market Mural

A photo of the old German Farmers Market is the latest mural in the series of murals across Cullman. It is located on the building next to the Festhalle Market Platz at the corner of First Avenue SE and Arnold Street. Find it on our Mural Map.

Follow The Cullman County Historical Society on Twitter here and Facebook here.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Heitmueller family history in Cullman

Ray Heitmueller, right, talks about his family as Dr. Bill Peinhardt, historical society vice president, holds up a picture of Heitmueller's farm, above, and ancestors, below.

Ray Heitmueller shared a little of how his family came to Cullman and some show-and-tell items at the April meeting of the Cullman County Historical Society.

Since 1968 Heitmueller has lived on the farm first settled by his great-grandfather in the 1870s. The farm, originally 200 acres, has dwindled over the years -- part of going to Lake George when it was first dammed.

Heitmueller noted that several dialects of German were spoken in the North Alabama city founded by Col. Johann G. Cullmann, and that some Germans had trouble understanding others who were from a different region.

The former Cullman High School teacher also showed a helmet worn by his great-grandfather, Henry Otto Heitm├╝ller Sr., in Kaiser Wilhem's army and a farm implement perfected by his Uncle Henry. The scratcher required a farmer to take only one wrench to the field to make adjustments.

The Heitmueller farm didn't have terrace rows, he noted, but rather had nine rows plowed in different directions with ditches to drain water to a meadow.

Heitmueller also noted that not everyone was fond of the city's founder. Some, including his grandfather, said Cullmann "brought a bunch of Germans here and damn near let them starve to death." Other historical society members agreed that there was such sentiment among some settlers.

Henry Heitmueller's scratcher

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Cullman Banana Supply sign restoration

Before and after views of the Cullman Banana Supply/Jazz Feeds signs restoration by Bethan Kerr. Located at 1st Avenue SE and 1st Street NE:
(Photos courtesy Bethany Kerr)

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Leeth Bank and U.S.S. Cullman murals

Fourth Street and Second Avenue SW

On the north side of Village Furniture. 228 Third Ave. SE

See an interactive map of Cullman's murals and historical sites on Google maps here.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Col. Cullmann invention

Cullman founder Col. Johann G. Cullmann patented a device to preserve liquors a few years before moving to Alabama. Cullmann came up with the invention in 1869 while living in Cincinnati.

At the time, the U.S. Patent office required models of everything on file, and Cullmann had a model constructed. Some years later, the Patent Office found it too cumbersome to maintain its ever-growing collection, so it sold the models.

Cullmann's model, along with a certificate of authenticity, has made its way to The Cullman County Historical Society.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Cullman stonemason Leo Schwaiger shares history

Leo Schwaiger, left, listens as Dr. Bill Peinhardt, historical society vice president, discusses the base of the Col. Cullmann statue, built by Schwaiger and his brother.

Brother Joseph Zoettl had already died when one of his creations at St. Bernard Abbey's Ave Maria Grotto was damaged by a falling tree. So stonemason Leo Schwaiger, who had previously been observed by Zoettle building the monastery's church, was called in to do the repair work.

It seems Zoettle's Tower of Babel had fallen victim to the storm-felled tree.

"I told them at the time, 'God still doesn't like that thing,'" Schwaiger said at Sunday's meeting of the Cullman County Historical Society in Cullman, Alabama. That was in the early 1960s, and the 85-year-old has been asked to fix the miniature tower yet again. Work on The Grotto's gift shop damaged the figure a second time. "I told them, "God still doesn't like that thing!"

Schwaiger and his family have been building things for decades in Cullman. It started with his father, Leo Sr., and continues with his grandsons. Leo Sr. helped lay the stones at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church. Leo Jr. and his brothers helped their father build several homes and businesses around town from various rocks, but mostly cut sandstone found in the Cullman area.

His father built the archway over the main entrance to the Cullman City Cemetery from poured concrete. Schwaiger noted that his father invented a concrete mixer in the late 1920s that was built on the bed of a Model T truck. He sent photos to Henry Ford, who wrote back asking for more. The elder Schwaiger complied, only to find his invention patented by Ford -- with no credit given.

Later, he invented the Schwaiger locknut (pictured, left). Ford was interested in it, too, but Schwaiger told him no thanks, patenting it himself and selling it straight to auto parts suppliers.

See one of Schwaiger's humorous creations on our Facebook page.