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Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Nord St. Louis Turnverein Burns

Tragedy! The Nord St. Louis Turnverein was mostly destroyed by fire on the night before July 4.

Check out our coverage here.


The St. Louis Post-Dispatch ran an article today that claims that the fire is a "total loss." This is untrue, because the steel-structure 1898 gym remains stable and could be reserved.

A neighbor reported seeing the Henry Rollins Band, the Dead Milkmen, Naked Raygun and other bands at the Turnverein during the 1970s and 1980s when promoters booked many shows there.


John B said...

One summer back in the late nineties, I met a member of the Hyde Park Turnverein, Frank Mirth. Along with a some area residents and Metropolites we tried to raise an awareness of the building's plight - we cleaned the building up a bit and hosted a tour of the building for members of Metropolis, in hopes of inspiring some momentum. At the time the building was stilled owned by the Turners, most of whom had left the city. The best idea our limited imaginations could seem to muster was to somehow reinvigorate the membership of this group with folks interested in bringing the building back to some kind of life - perhaps as a youth recreation center, perhaps as the world's coolest clubhouse - who knows - At that point, the building could have been very easily stabilized as it was just beginning to suffer the effects of needing a new roof. The Turners member who was involved with us, arranged a meeting with the existing membership group. I remember that meeting distinctly: a gathering in a suburban ranch home somewhere in South County. Our group presented the Turners with the energetic although naive idea. Our proposal was received with wholesale rejection. The Turners wanted nothing to do with us or the neighborhood. The only solution was to buy them out. Being relatively young, and without resources, or the savvy to raise resources, our will fizzled out along with the summer's heat. A couple years late Frank Mirth passed away.

Of course the building's ownership changed hands. Like so many other speculator types, the Turnverein's ultimate owners, not giving a damn about the area's historic resources did little to protect their investment. The rest is history.

samizdat said...

I think we should bring back tar-and-feathering. The problem being, as mentioned in eco's article, where to start.Ugh!

Anonymous said...

Please share pictures of the gym or those sections of the Turnverein that appear salvageable.

Thomas said...

Thanks for the admittedly upsetting pics. I happened by there a couple months ago and snapped a few. I wasn't happy with the compositions and would up deleting them. Wish I'd kept them... just because.

I have to say there's a quick passage in the article affiliated with this that registered with me, namely the loss of the North Side's German population as one of the reasons for such a slow decay of a real gem of North City. Assimilation has costs and the loss of culture(s) is so magnified when looking at such a set of photos.

Too sad.

Anonymous said...

Old country Germans tend to be some of the most anti-black people around.

Not so sure it was a "slow" decay. When the Germans fled the arrival of black people, they pretty much sealed the fate of their abandoned legacy.

Given the number of times I heard my immigrant German grandparents utter the "N-word" from their South Jersey, suburban Philly home, I think I know.

Some might justify their racism based on the brutal attack aqainst my grandfather's brother by a group of black men. Not me.

The funny thing is, the Germans back in Germany seem a lot less racist towards black people; it's the American ones who have the problem.

Well, that's not the whole situation. Homeland Germans today do have their "issues" with immigrant Bosnians and Turks.

Maybe it all owes back to that "master race" idea.