Teutonia Mäennerchor Hall
Backstory and Context
During the mid-late 1800s, a massive wave of immigrants of European immigrants flocked to Northeast and Midwest sections of the United States. For example, Pennsylvania experienced many German immigrants coming to the East Allegheny area. The population of German immigrants dominated East Allegheny, which is one of the reason why the area is often referred as Duestchtown" or Germantown. This large migration of German immigrants also brought a huge influence of German cultural interests, such as music.One of the major cultural impacts that German immigrants integrated into both Pittsburgh and the United States was "Gesangvereine," a term used for German singing societies. These signing societies became institutions where both German immigrants and people interested in German opera and hymn. One of the most oldest and popular societies was the "Teutonia Männerchor" ("The German Men Choir').
In 1851, Reverend Karl R. Weitershausen and a group of German-American men called the "Liedertafel," a term used to describe a group or society that gathers to sing and practice the male parts of songs. Weiterhausen and "Liedertafel" would meet at the Weitershausen Church located on Canal Street. The group would celebrate their German roots by singing hymns of the homeland, and in 1854, Weitershausen and "Lidertafel" created the church choir, "Teutonia Männerchor, which will later become one of the most popular German singing societies within Pennsylvania.
The Teutonia Männerchor" would meet at the Dahlingers Hall at 121 Madison Avenue, and over a 30-year span, the numbers kept increasing so significantly, the choir needed to find their own place where they could practice and rehearse their songs. In 1881, the choir raised money by selling "building shares" and the Teutonia Männerchor Hall was built. Constructed by local architect, George Ott, the hall is a two-story building, and is one of Ott's few surviving designs in the area. The main hall was originally designed to be an adaptable space, with movable seating for concerts, and tables and chairs for banquets and other events inspired by the German heritage and culture. Both the hall and the center became a center of German culture and interest within Pennsylvania.
In 1934, the hall incorporated a German-style Rathskeller on the first floor to give the hall a more authentic German atmosphere. During the late-1930s, another drastic change of the German singing societies was the implementation of "Damechor," a women's choir. In 1935, a "Damechor" was added onto the "Teutonia Männechor" society, and soon both choirs merged together and formed one union. During WWII, another huge wave of German immigrants came to Pittsburgh, which added more numbers to the "Teutonia Männerchor" and the German population of East Allegheny County, PA. The hall held concerts and performances to raise funds for German and Central European relief groups during the war. Also, the society even encouraged some of its members to join the armed forces to help out with the war effort.
In 2004, the hall was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. As of today, the hall still stands in the Dutchtown District of Allegheny County, Pittsburgh, PA where visitors can enjoy German food, alcohol, music, and dance. The hall holds some events to celebrate German festivities, such as Schlachtfes dinners and Oktoberfest. The Teutonia Mânnerchor Hall is the home of one the oldest Gesangvereines in Pittsburgh and continues to carry on the traditional practices of German song and dance.
About The Teutonia Männerchor, Teutonia Männerchor.. n.d. Accessed November 2nd 2019. http://pghmannerchor.com/Early-Days.
Cultery, Jean. Teutonia Männerchor Hall Form, National Park Service. March 30th 2004. Accessed November 2nd 2019. https://s3.amazonaws.com/NARAprodstorage/lz/electronic-records/rg-079/NPS_PA/04000439.pdf.