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Wisconsin National Register of Historic Places

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Facade detail (J. DeRose photo)

General view (B. McCormick photo)

Turner Hall
1034 N. 4th Street, Milwaukee, Milwaukee County
Architect: H.C. Koch
Date of Construction: 1882

Turner Hall is one of the few surviving buildings associated with the American Turners. German-Americans founded the Turners in Milwaukee in 1853. They are largely known for their efforts in social reform and their involvement with physical education, mainly gymnastics, and the arts. Turner Hall is a showcase of the German-American culture and a political center for the Milwaukee community.

H.C. Koch, a German immigrant architect, designed the hall in the High Victorian Romanesque style. Koch was known for employing this style in his designs of churches and courthouses. Architects typically used Romanesque for public buildings because it portrays a sense of civic monumentality. A heavy cornice separates the ground floor from the upper stories. Bold masses of brick and stone are cut by arches, joined by towers, and topped with dramatic roofs. The architectural articulation of the main fašade consists of tall, ornamental spandrels, arched windows, and massive stone lintels. Turner Hall is one of the most significant of H.C. Koch's designs in Milwaukee.

Milwaukee was the center of panorama painting in the late 1800s. The Turners' interest in this type art is clearly represented on the interior of the building. There are twelve murals painted by German panoramic artists that depict scenes of importance to the Turner movement. There are also murals of famous German villages and scenes.

Turner Hall continues to be a social and cultural facility today and is open to the public during normal business hours.


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