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Turner Hall

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
County of Milwaukee.
National Register Number: 77000041
Resource type: Building.
Property type: Social - meeting hall. The threat level was Watch in
Congressional District: WI-05 Certified Local Government: YES

Statement of Significance (as of designation - November 15, 1996):
Milwaukee Turner Hall, built in 1882, is among the few surviving 19th-century historic buildings associated with the American Turners, a very influential organization of German Americans. The last Turner clubhouse in Milwaukee, the "German Athens" of America, it exemplifies the major place and multi-faceted role the Milwaukee Turners have held in this national organization. The building also represents the Milwaukee Turners' unheralded role in political reform from the antislavery movement in the 1850s through the era of progressive municipal reform.

Turner Hall faces the threat of vulnerability to fire damage and decay of historic finishes due to a lack of a sprinklered fire protection system. The ballroom needs a HVAC system to protect the historic finishes. There are plans to add a freight elevator serving the ballroom as well as to act as an additional fire escape improving life safety. New restrooms are also planned to complete a $2,000,000 stabilization upgrade to the facility. Windows have been replaced and the roof repaired.

The Turner Ballroom Preservation Trust is supporting the $2 million stabilization project for the ballroom. In July 2004, a $350,000 project to provide and upgrade electrical service, basic lighting and power to the ballroom and replacement of missing plaster ceiling was completed. The Trust also received a $385,000 matching grant from Save America's Treasures in 2004 to be used to install a fire protection system and upgrade other obsolete systems.

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