TURNER BALLROOM PRESERVATION TRUST
Turner Hall Ballroom is a two-story, 7,000-plus square feet space with a 31-foot by 56-foot raked stage on the east end and an expansive balcony that sweeps around the west and north ends. Since the late nineteenth century, the Ballroom has played host to a wide range of social, cultural, and political events. Turner Hall was a showplace for the panoramic painters and other German immigrant artists who dominated the Milwaukee art scene until the 1920’s and throughout the early 1900’s; Milwaukee residents visited this space for weekly concerts, dances, gymnastic competitions and theatrical presentations.
Two ceiling fires damaged the ballroom in 1933 and again in 1941, ultimately causing the Milwaukee Turners to close its doors. Unfortunately, due to two world wars against Germany and the resulting anti-German sentiment, and a major economic depression, the Turners were unable to raise the social and financial capital to reopen this grand space.
Now, after more than 70-years of neglect, the Turners have initiated a campaign to restore not only the physical space, but also the spirit of public use and enjoyment for which the space was originally intended. In 2000, the Turner Ballroom Preservation Trust (TBPT) was established, by members of the Milwaukee Turners, with the purpose of renovating, maintaining, and managing the historic Turner Hall Ballroom for civic and cultural purposes.
In the spirit of the Milwaukee Turners, the Turner Ballroom Preservation Trust provides premiere event rental space and a unique and accessible venue for established and emerging artists by showcasing and supporting Milwaukee’s vibrant and diverse arts community at a destination for people of all ideas, ages, cultures & ethnic groups in the renovated historic Turner Ballroom.
To establish Turner Hall Ballroom as a renovated historic treasure recognized as a leading venue for Milwaukee’s thriving art scene that showcases and supports a diversity of established and emerging artists. As a crossroads for ethnicities and generations, the ballroom has set a new standard by transforming a historic building into a popular forum for Milwaukee’s artistic, creative and civic thought. It is a downtown destination in a neighborhood alive with art, people and ideas.
Our Renovation Plans
With strong support from residents and community businesses, we have begun the renovation process. Designed using the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Majestic Theatre as a model, the initial renovation process took place in two phases over the summers of 2004 and 2006.
The architect and construction manager for the restoration are David Uihlein of Uihlein-Wilson Architects and Antonio Estevez of Gilbane. Both Mr. Uihlein and Mr. Estevez have many years of experience in historic preservation and have worked extensively with renovation and restoration of historic properties throughout the greater Milwaukee area.
Supporting the Restoration Effort
The Turner Ballroom Preservation Trust is looking to the local and national philanthropic community, public grant programs and individual donors to assure that this National Landmark can be enjoyed by future generations.
For more information about how to support the Turner Hall Ballroom renovation effort, please contact:
Turner Ballroom Preservation Trust
1034 N 4th Street, Milwaukee, WI 53203
Turner Ballroom Preservation Trust Board of Directors
Bruce Block (Secretary)
Leslie Fillingham (Treasurer)
Gary Grunau (Chair)
Julilly Kohler (Co-Chair)