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GERMANIA HALL

GERMANIA HALL, located at 532 Erie (2416 E. 9th) St., was built by the Germania Turnverein in 1888 to house their gymnastic facilities and serve as a meeting place. Germania Turnverein was organized on 7 Sept. 1876 by east side residents who were former members of the Cleveland Turnverein. Their new $65,000 hall on Erie St. was built under the leadership of Wilhelm Kauffmann with assistance from Paul Schneider, Adolf Mayer, Dr. Carl Zapp, Louis Uhl, and others. The hall, which included a bowling alley, a long bar, a gym, a restaurant, and a 3rd-floor ballroom, was used by the Germania Turnverein for 20 years. When the group merged in 1908 with Turnverein Vorwaerts and moved into the latter organization's VORWAERTS TURNER HALL, Germania Hall became known as Acme Hall. During World War I, it was used by radicals as a site for meetings, one of which featured an antiwar speech by Eugene V. Debs. By 1920 it had gained such a reputation as a radical rendezvous that Rev. Frank Baker, director of its new occupant, GOODWILL INDUSTRIES, claimed that the first thing he did was to raise the American flag over the hall. Described in the 1930s as "an old castle-like building" at E. 9th and Carnegie, the former Germania Hall served as the local headquarters of Goodwill Industries until it was scheduled for demolition to make way for the INNERBELT FREEWAY in the mid-1950s.