On March 3, twenty-two German immigrants organized the “Buffalo
Turngemeinde”, located in Roth Hall at Cypress and Michigan
Streets. Soon more space was needed and they moved to Gillig Hall on
Genesee near Michigan Street. Dramatics, a singing group and
musicals were added to the Cultural Program.
Buffalo hosted the National Convention of American Turners. Showing
fearless character and love for liberty, a platform denouncing
slavery was adopted. A system of education in development of mind
and body was requested for all children.
The Unrest-Young Turners bought land on Ellicott Street near Genesee
and began calling themselves “Vorwaerts” (Forward). The Genesee
Street location added a shooting gallery and called themselves
“Socialen Haenner Turnverein”.
The Civil War broke out and all but ten of the “Vorwaerts”
joined the Union Army. They were forced to give up their building.
When they returned after the war, another building was leased on
The two groups consolidated into one society on Ellicott Street and
adopted the name of “Buffalo Turn Verein”.
The Buffalo Turn Verein was incorporated on May 13.
The building on Ellicott that was previously owned in 1856 was
repurchased and enlarged. It had been known as “National Hall”,
then “Sangerbund Hall” and now was called “Turn Hall”
Steps were taken to introduce physical education into the public
schools. It succeeded and in 1910 there were two Turner teachers in
Heavy financial burdens followed by a fire destroyed the Ellicott
Street building. Temporary quarters were found at 22 Genesee Street,
then a church at 378 Oak Street, back to 264 Oak Street and finally
to club rooms at 27 High Street.
A lot was acquired at High and Ellicott Streets and the cornerstone
for a new building was laid in 1913.
The High Street building was enlarged and remodeled to accommodate
the growing club.
The 30th National
Turnfest was held in Buffalo at All-High Stadium. The largest and
most successful event held to date attracted over 5000 athletes.
Dorothy Wilhelm of Buffalo won the athletics competition in a field
of 2500 women.
The Depression brought financial difficulties. Through the efforts
of influential Turners substantial mortgage reduction was realized
and they were able to keep their building.
The mortgage was retired and a celebration was held on November 24.
June 29 began the week long 38th
Forced out of the High Street location due to urban development,
money received was insufficient for a new building. Facilities at
Park School were rented for two years.
A church with school was leased at 383 Wheatfield Street in North
Tonawanda. Again through the efforts of Turners’ members
additional monies were received for the High Street building.
Wheatfield building was purchased and remodeled. Two health studios,
sauna, two gymnasiums, cultural room, game room and Rathskeller were
to high utility costs and the weak economy, Turners was forced to
sell the Wheatfield building.
home in Lincoln School in the Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School
District. The gymnasium was equipped, the cafeteria was remodeled
into a Mini-Gym with wall to wall carpeting and a spring floor and
one classroom was used for fitness and meetings.
moved to our current location in the former Phillip Sheridan School
at 3200 Elmwood Avenue. The facility includes a fully equipped Main
Gym and a smaller Mini-Gym with equipment especially designed for
1999 Buffalo TurnVerein was reincorporated and officially became Buffalo Turners, Inc.