Historic Turner Hall has been at the center of Milwaukee’s political, community, and cultural life since its inauguration in 1883. The finest remaining example of a grand building constructed of “cream city brick,” Turner Hall is the headquarters of the Milwaukee Turners, the city’s oldest civic organization. Famous for its evocative ballroom and beautifully decorated restaurant, Turner Hall also has the nation’s most historic continuously operating gymnasium. Monuments, paintings, stained-glass windows, and other decorative elements speak to great events in our city’s history ranging from the Civil War and the rise of the Socialist Party to the roots of “Tin Pan Alley” and the fight against fascism before and during World War II.
See the famous ballroom with its evocative windows, ornamental painting, and exceedingly rare “raked” stage. Visit the beautifully restored Turner Restaurant and learn how to decode the symbols hidden within the Turners’ panorama paintings and stained glass windows. See the gymnasium featuring the best indoor climbing wall in the city. View photographs, banners, statues, and other treasures of Milwaukee’s rich German-American heritage. Walk up and down stairs trodden by Milwaukee’s three socialist mayors and generations of great public speakers and musicians ranging from Eugene Debs and Frank Zeidler to the founder of Milwaukee’s first symphony orchestra and the composer of “After the Ball,” the first popular music hit in U.S. history.
(Due to events taking place in the building that weekend (wedding on Saturday and concert on Sunday), we may not have access to the entire building (such as the ballroom) for the later tours. Also, visitors are not allowed to wander around the building on their own.)