Sunday, December 4, 2011

Cullman, Alabama

Col. Cullman, founder
After making long drives to trailheads two days in a row, we wanted to stay closer to home today.  Several things around the home front were needing attention.  The chores weren’t going to take all day, so we decided to walk about beautiful, downtown Cullman, Alabama.

To our surprise there was a volksmarch in Cullman.  In the past, we have always tried to do a volksmarch or some other walking tour of all the towns we visit.  We’ve kinda gotten out of that habit, so it was nice to do that for a change.

American Volkssport Association (AVA) is a fitness oriented club with an emphasis on walking.  They have walking events all over the country.  We’re not members of the club, but all events are open to the public.  There are two types of events--the traditional events and the year-round events.  The traditional events are more like a club outing and is more “organized” than the year-round events.  We rarely participate in a traditional event.  The year-round events are more like a self-guided tour.  You go whenever you want to.  The local club chapter is responsible for having materials available for walkers.  These materials, usually a map, route information, and a brief description of what you might see, are in the “walk box” located at the start point.  Since people drive to the start point, then walk the route, the start point is usually at a business where there is plenty of parking and the business is open seven days a week.  Most often, the walk boxes are located at a hotel.  For our walk today, the walk box was at a grocery store, but that’s a little unusual.  Walkers ask for the box, take out the map and directions, sign the log, and off they go.  There is no charge for the materials.  Walks are 10K in length and often have a 5K option.  We did the 5K option today.
Sitting in Santa's chair at a small city park

We have enjoyed many AVA walks, we’ve also been disappointed in many.  A lot depends on the town.  Often the walks are in the downtown areas.  That’s to take advantage of the cities historical points of interest.  All capitol cities have volksmarches and all go right past (or right through) the capitol building.  Downtown areas are also where the sidewalks are and crossing signals at major intersections.  We all know that many downtown areas are somewhat unsavory and not a place we’d choose to walk.  This is the biggest drawback for us.  We read the description on the internet and look at the map carefully before we do a walk.  If we get into a place where we don’t feel comfortable, we just turn around and retrace our steps.  So, enough about the AVA; on to our walk today.
L & N Train Depot

Our start point today was at the old L and N (Louisville and Nashville) depot.  It may have been the most interesting building on our route today.  It’s a Mission style building constructed in 1913.  Today it is used by United Way and was locked on this Sunday morning.  Gene peeked in the windows, though, and the wooden floors and ticket windows are still there.
Replica of Col Cullman's home, now the County Museum
This wasn't listed on the description, but we thought it an interesting old structure.

The route took us past City Hall and other government buildings for Cullman County, past the old downtown churches, and the historic residential section.  The government buildings have been repaired, the old churches and the brick homes seemed to have faired fairly well, but the rest of the area was hard hit by a tornado last April.  Storm damage was evident everywhere and one block seemed to have been completely wiped out.  It was sad to see.  I was reminded of the recent post by Mary of The Great RV Escape and her moving story of the destruction and devastation of the tornado that hit Joplin, Missouri last spring.
Sacred Heart Catholic Church
Sacred Heart at a slightly different angle, and fewer traffic lights.
St John's Evangelical Protestant Church
Built in 1887, this was the home of Joel Brown, Alabama Supreme Court Justice

We completed our 3-mile walk which brought us back to the car at the old train depot and were home in time for lunch.  This is a good way to get a little exercise and we often learn something in the process.  It was a nice outing and just what we needed for today.
Evidence of tornado damage
Look what we found--a muffler man.

If the rain will hold off until Monday evening, we’ll probably do another hike tomorrow.

That’s it from me for today.  Thanks for tagging along.


  1. great pictures of the churches!!...sounds like it was a great Sunday!!!..hope Monday is even better!!

  2. Great that Cullman had a volksmarch...some really neat buildings around to see. Sounds like a really good day!

  3. I'd never heard of a volksmarch! It looked like a great experience and you took a lot of great photos of some beautiful churches!

  4. haha..that painting of the fire looks real