On a hot Saturday afternoon, Carolyn Peinhardt Johnson led the fourth of five walking tours scheduled for June. Gov. Bob Riley is promoting walking tours throughout the state, and Cullman came on board this year.

Johnson began the tour given to about 15 people by explaining Col. Cullmann’s vision for the city.

“When Col. Cullmann came to Cullman, he had the unique idea that he wanted his town with 100-foot-wide streets so that two wagons could pass and wagons could pass on either side, so that is the reason we have the benefit of these wide streets that we have,” said Johnson.

While Crane Hill and Hanceville were on the map before Cullman, those towns do not have the wide streets, said Johnson.

Col. Cullmann also wanted places for schools and churches, she said. The plan called for two cemeteries at either end of 9th Street. There's a city cemetery on the West side of town and a Catholic cemetery on the East side. He also allotted acre lots for city blocks.

“These were things that he originally planned,” said Johnson.

Millie and Otto Evers joined the tour with their daughter and granddaughter who are visiting from Denver, Colo., but Millie Evers admitted she knew the history of Cullman “from memory.”

She said, “We’re just history buffs.” Evers said she lived here all her life except for the three years her husband was in the service.

“I live on the same farm that I was born on,” said Evers.

Daughter Kathy Evers said she comes home every summer to visit her parents.

Johnson said there was a large water tank where the new farmers’ market now stands.

“Otto, you may remember that it had the strawberry design on it and red lights, and every year during the strawberry season, they'd light up those red lights to remind us that it was time for the strawberry festival,” said Johnson addressing Otto Evers.

In the Peinhardt building that now houses Rumors Deli, A. H. Peinhardt shipped strawberries by rail car to the North.

“The strawberries would come in in wagons and they would ship them out in railroad cars, and then they would telegraph ahead that Cullman, Ala., strawberries were being shipped North,” said Johnson. “Then the various towns would stop the trains and buy the strawberries.”

“In 1948 you could buy a crate of strawberries there for $7,” walker Bill Johnson said. “Now it costs $8 to get a u-pick bucket.”

The tour starts at the Cullman County Museum at 211 Second Avenue Northeast. Walkers head south on First Avenue through the warehouse district stopping at Duchess Bakery for a cup of coffee and a doughnut.

They continue south on First Avenue crossing 3rd Street down to 6th Street Southeast where they turn left and head to St. John’s Evangelical Protestant Church for a tour.

From there, walkers head back up Second Avenue touring another historic church, Sacred Heart Catholic Church.

During the tour, Johnson said she regretted to this day that the C.A. Stiefelmeyer home on Second Avenue was torn down. She said it was the most beautiful home in Cullman and had visited it as a child at Christmas time.

“The gingerbread work and the decoration on the home was just beautiful,” said Johnson.” The yards were kept beautifully, and it had a black rod iron fence.”

The Stiefelmeyer Store would have been located in the block between Second and Third Streets to the left of Duchess Bakery. It dated back to the early 1900’s and was the first big store in Cullman, according to Johnson. Groceries, hardware and tools were sold at one end of the store. Customers entered the next door for shoes, the next door for women’s clothing and the next door for household linens.

“The clerks did not handle any money. They put it in a little round container and shipped it up the line and over to Mr. Herman Steinndorff,” said Johnson. “He was the bookkeeper and the money taker. Your change was returned the same way. Only one location handled money in the entire store.”

Bill Johnson said people coming to town in horse and wagon used to park in the back of the building.

“One Hundred years ago, these few blocks would have been bustling with people and commerce on a typical Saturday,” said Johnson. The old Richter Hotel and the first Watson store would have been located to the West across the railroad tracks, she said.

Johnson said Duchess Bakery has been here long before 1939. It was started by Adolph Veigl.

“He was also a bootlegger,” she said. “He would make the donuts and sell them out of the front of the store and sell his moonshine out of the back of the store,” she said.

Sterling Ice Cream Parlor used to be in the building that now houses Buettner Jewelry and Palace Barber Shop was next door.

“Everyone that went into the Palace Barber Shop had their own shaving mug,” said Johnson. “They were all lined up with their names on them. When you went in to get a cut and a shave you would use your own mug.”

The tour features many other historical sites. Jeb Williamson, an accountant whose office is along the route, will lead the final tour next Saturday.

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