Colonel Johann Gottfried Cullmann was born on July 2, 1823, in Bavaria, Germany. He enrolled in college in Zweibruken at the age of 13 and graduated as a civil engineer. In 1865, Cullmann left his wife and three children behind to seek freedom from war activities in America. After much travel, he found his way to North Alabama and settled in the place now known as the C
ity of Cullman in 1873. He brought along 14 German families and supervised the settling of the area. In a few short years, Cullmann supervised the relocation of over one thousand people to his new home. Although given credit for the area's German heritage, Colonel Cullmann often remarked, "I live in America and I am an American."
Ave Maria Room (MEETING ROOM SEATS 45)
The Ave Maria Grotto, located on the grounds of Alabama's first and only Benedictine Abbey, consists of over 125 miniatures, reproductions of famous churches, shrines and buildings from all over the world. Founded in 1891, the Grotto was the handiwork of Brother Joseph Zoetti, a monk of St. Bernard Abbey for almost 70 years. He gathered his ideas from extensive readings of history and the Bible. Brother Joseph built his final model, the Basilica in Lourdes, at the age of 80, in 1958.
The Depot (TIERED CLASSROOM SEATS 60)
Rail travel was a critically important part of the development of Cullman. In the early 1870's, Colonel Johann G. Cullmann and Albert Fink, then Vice President of L&N Railroad, agreed to the development of a railway through Cullman County. In the early 1880's, the first Depot was erected to serve rail travel. The tracks were later lowered thirty feet in an effort to reduce noise and pollution in the colony. After completion of the new tracks, Cullman's second Depot was built in 1913 one and one half miles from its original location. Passenger service was discontinued from the Depot in 1968. However, the building remains as a part of Cullman's landscape today and serves as headquarters for United Way of Cullman County.