The Cincinnati Central Turners, the first Turnverein in the United States, was founded in 1848. The Turner philosophy of a sound body and a sound mind was practiced at the corner of 13th and Vine in the open air, and shortly after in a small building on Walnut Street, where the Turner Hall was later built. By 1850, the Turner School had 380 boys and 90 girls enrolled in gymnastics classes. This same year saw the Society become incorporated as the German Turner Society of Cincinnati. The following year, they joined the newly founded North American Turner Association (Turnerbund).
In 1851, construction was completed on a building on Walnut Street. By 1859, the building was too small and the well-known Turner Hall was built. In 1852, the national Turner Fest was held in Cincinnati. A year later, a Schützen Company was formed, as well as a band. In 1854, the town of New Ulm, Minnesota was founded by the Cincinnati Turner Settlement Society, led by Wilhelm Pfänder, with the goal of establishing a German-American town on the frontier. During the Civil War, the Turners comprised the entire 9th Ohio Voluntary Infantry Regiment.
In the 19th century, the Turners played an important role in Cincinnati by introducing physical education into the public schools (1892), as well as supporting the instruction of the German language in schools. Before World War I, Turner Hall was the home of the German Theater, and was the central meeting place for the German-American societies of Cincinnati. The Turners also supported a German library and were known for the many cultural programs they sponsored.
In the 1950s, the Turners moved out of the Turner Hall on Walnut St. to their current location on Pinney Lane in Springfield Township. The old Turner Hall was torn down in 1972.
In 1998, the Cincinnati Central Turners celebrated their 150th anniversary. The Turners are the oldest German-American society in Cincinnati and the oldest Turner Society in America.
Contact: Marlene Lintz - 825-7629