We were saddened to learn of the fire on Sunday, January 13, 2008, which destroyed the 101 year old Turn Verein building. The German Turn Verein society, dedicated to physical training, has its local roots in the earliest years of the establishment of Lawrence.
Turn Hall was a magnificent building, particularly inside. Because of the diversity of activities and events it had to embrace, the building featured a gymnasium that could accommodate gymnastics, volleyball and other sports. There was an ornately crafted bar with openings looking down on two ninepin bowling alleys. A dance hall was included on the third floor. It featured a stage for performances. In addition to performances by Turners, the Garrett Players performed there as well. The room was decorated with numerous murals.
Ann Marie (Kopacz) Meile and her family actually lived in the building from 1959 to 1963 and later next door. In her oral history she describes the interior and the events that occurred there. Shortly we will feature excerpts from her oral history.