Education Vinemont Elementary students get extra dose of history | CullmanSense

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Vinemont Elementary students get extra dose of history

Dr. Teeter shows students a map of the planned community of Vinemont. / Jacqueline Hill

VINEMONT - Recently, fifth-grade students at Vinemont Elementary School got an extra serving of history on their plates as retired VES Principal Dr. Jane Teeter spoke about the history of Vinemont.  She began with a classroom presentation, complete with original period maps showing the ambitious plans land speculators and developers had for the Alabama Vineyard and Winery Company (which helped give Vinemont its name), and then led students and teachers on a bus tour around town.

According to Teeter, “Once known as Holmes’ Gap, Pinnacle (because the town marked the highest point on the railroad line for hundreds of miles), and then Vinemont, the area has a rich history with colorful stories.”

Among Teeter’s favorite tales she enjoys relating to the kids is the documented stranger-than-fiction tale of the one-room Vinemont jail built close to the railroad tracks, until a few mischievous boys decided to tie the building to a passing train.

Fifth-grade teacher Jacqueline Hill reported, “As the school bus traveled its historic route she pointed out where the stagecoach used to make its stop, the hotel with mineral springs, a theme park and a jail.  One of the fifth-grade students, Joseph Gardner, said, ‘My favorite part of the tour was learning that at one time there was a hotel at Vinemont, and it is unbelievable that Vinemont used to have a jail.’  Several of the fifth graders were not enthused about taking a historic trip around Vinemont when the teachers first started talking about it, but afterwards many of the fifth graders said, ‘It was neat that all that stuff used to be here.’”

The special history class, which is in its seventh year, usually includes a craft project in addition to the tour, but this year’s program featured Dr. William Mann of Dr. Bill’s Mountain Music talking about and demonstrating two historical American musical instruments: the banjo and Appalachian dulcimer.

Hill described the students’ reactions.

“As Dr. Mann began to work his magic and the beautiful music serenaded the students, Gage Duncan turned around to one of the teachers and mouthed, ‘He is so good,’ while one of the girls said, ‘That is so beautiful.’  When asked which instrument was their favorite they couldn’t remember the name of the instrument, but would use their hands to show the shape of the instrument, which was the dulcimer.  They thought the music was lively, and they also liked knowing that it was an easy instrument to play.  Some of the students mentioned they would like to learn to play the dulcimer.”

Of the day’s events as a whole, Hill added, “The fifth-grade teachers felt like this was one of the best Christmas events because members from the Cullman County community shared their knowledge of the past to make a present-day activity not only educational, but also unforgettable for the students.”

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  • Jacqueline Hill
    Dr. William Mann and Dr. Jane Teeter led the history presentations.
  • Jacqueline Hill
    Dr. Mann plays a reproduction 1840s-era banjo for the students.
  • W.C. Mann
    Original period map showing the ambitious plans land speculators and developers had for the Alabama Vineyard and Winery Company (which helped give Vinemont its name).