518 VINE STREET, BOONVILLE MISSOURI
Built as the first brick Baptist Church west of the Mississippi River in 1895 Turner hall was sold to the Boonville Turn Verein. Lloyd Geiger Sr. purchased the hall after the Turn Verein was dissolved circa 1936. David Oswald bought the hall from Lloyd in 1992. David and Lesley Oswald continue to own and maintain the historic property.
In his book Boonville, An Illustrated History, Robert L. Dyer states: "The principal German organizations, other than the churches, for maintaining cultural and social traditions were the singing and gymnastics societies known respectively as the "Gesang Vereins" and the "Turn Vereins" (Gesang = Singing; Turn = Gymnastics; Verein = Club or Society) established not long after the arrival of the first significant numbers of Germans in the late 1840's and early 1850's. These groups, which came to be known among the non-Germans in the community simply as the "Turners," traced their origin to the work of Father Freidrich Ludwig Jahn who established the first Turn Verein in Berlin in 1809 at the time Germany was being suppressed by Napoleon. Father Jahn supposedly formed the group to drill his followers in gymnastics and military tactics with the object of making them better soldiers. In later years, however, music, theatricals and oratory were added to the social function in the German community."