An important part of late 19th century culture in St. Louis were the many social clubs around the city. The clubs served a variety of ethnic, social, professional and cultural functions. We know of few pre-1900 club buildings that have not been demolished.
An example of a very popular German-American club building is the St. Louis Turnverein at 1930 Salisbury Street, in Hyde Park. Many German societies had been in existence since the 1840's, and included benevolent associations, singing clubs, craft unions and the Turnverein, or gymnastic societies, which emphasized body building, fellowship and sometimes political activities. Also called the North St. Louis Turners Hall, this symmetrical brick building was constructed about 1880. The two-story symmetrical brick building has an unusual mansard roof with three pyramidal towers. The first story has a center entry leading to the club rooms on the second floor; adjacent bays contain storefronts, which provided rental income to support the club's activities. The building contains several meeting halls, an auditorium, a large gymnasium and bowling alley in the basement.