Now in it's 122nd year, the Troy German Hall Associatoin has a rich history. The following is taken from a publication celebrating the Hall's centenial in 1990. For web viewing, it has been split into three sections:
"Germania Hall," as we know it today, had its origin in the year 1890. It was born out of necessity, and as the result of overwhelming community acceptance of a Saengerfest held at Appollo Hall, in 1889. [A Saengerfest, also spelled Sängerfeste or Sängerfest, means a "singer's festival". It is a German cultural festival with a focus on music and singing, and choral performance in particular.]
At that time the German community because of their known love of music, and of song in particular, and because of their overall interest in community affairs were requested by the officials of the City of Troy to hold a Concert as part of Troy's Centennial Year Celebration. The Troy Maennerchor, eager to respond, made the necessary arrangements at the Appollo Hall and the "Saengerfest" was destined to be one of the "highlights" of the Centennial Celebration.
For many years, various German societies held their meetings wherever, and whenever they could. Some met in their homes, others in meeting halls scattered throughout the city, still others met at this same Appollo Hall, which was located at the corner of Congress and River streets. The Saengerfest served to point out the desperate need for someplace where the German community could collectively, so to speak, "hang their hats. It also served notice that future events of this type would be supported by the community at large.
Mr. Joseph Pahl, whose club affiliation, or non-affiliation, is not recorded, had the foresight to suggest that an attempt be made to acquire the State Armory, which coincidentally, was then in the process of being prepared for auction. Mr. Pahl attended a meeting of the Troy Turn Verein on December 11, 1 1889, and presented the idea to Mr. August Schlosser, the Turn Verein's President. His suggestion was enthusiastically received. The Turn Verein appointed a committee to inquire into the possibility of making the acquisition.
The committee managed to purchase the Armory for the sum of $8,090.00. The next hurdle was to raise the 10% deposit required for the purchase. Again, a group of Germans, all Turn Verein members supplied the necessary money. The Armory Building then belonged to the German community of Troy and served it well for many years.
A general meeting of all the German societies was called for December 22, 1989. At the meeting, a new society emerged to be known as the Troy German Hall Association. George Happ, John B. Kunz, Frank Wachtel, Charles Liebener and Elias Kehn were the first officers of the new association. It is unclear as to which office each was elected. It was also decided that the Armory be remodeled into a "German Hall" for the use of all German societies and the German people of the city of Troy. Also, at that same meeting, finances were of primary interest. A resolution was adopted authorizing the issuance of 2,000 shares of stock to sell at $5.00 each. Within thirty minutes 500 shares of stock were sold.
Soon thereafter Mr. C. E. Loth, a German architect was retained by the Trustees to prepare plans for extensive alterations. Contracts were awarded, and work began in the spring of 1890. The cost of remodeling and furnishing the building was then the mighty sum of $30,000.00. To help finance the renovation, a fair was conducted from March 10 to 24, 1890, which netted $3,500.00.
Founding The birth of the association from its origins to the erection of its first building
Early Years The association thriving in its hall from 1890 until its demolition in 1952
Recent Years The assocation in its current building from its erection in 1954 to present day
June 26, 1890, witnessed the laying of the cornerstone with a street parade and general celebration marking the event. All German societies united in this event, with the Troy Maennerchor and Troy Saengerbund rendering vocal I selections to the delight of all. Pastors Edward W. Funnann of St. Paul's Evangelical Church and F. A. Walz of the State Street German Methodist Church delivered fitting speeches and the cornerstone was laid, with Werner Strecker as the principal speaker.
Inscribed in the stone were these words:
"Einigkeit Erschuf es-Enigkeit Erhält es"
The Hall was formally opened on October 25 and 26, 1890. The opening featured a vocal and instrumental concert. Many municipal and county officials were present, some of whom made fitting remarks on the establishment of the Hall and the contribution of the German people to the community.
The following German societies were in existence in Troy during the early years of the Halle:
Mistletoe Hain, founded 1845, President Heinrich Leiner
Badischer Kranken und Unterstuetzungs Verein, founded 1890, President Joseph Anselment
Deutscher Club, founded 1891, President H. Ekart
Rhein Loge, founded 1870, President C.W. Rapp
Germania Kranken und Unterstuetzungs Verein, founded 1877, President Rudolph Pohl
Lyra Club, founded 1893, President Mrs. Schlagheit
Although the above mentioned societies existed at the time the Hall came into being, apparently not all found it expedient, for one reason or another, to join the Association at this time. The German people of the City of Troy were rightfully proud of their new hall, especially since no other nationality had such an edifice of their own, not even the German population of Albany, which greatly exceeded that of the city of Troy.