Chicago Landmarks

Vorwaerts Turner Hall

Front elevation 2009     Address: 2431 W. Roosevelt Rd.
Year Built: 1896 - 1897
Architect: George L. Pfeiffer
Date Designated a Chicago Landmark: November 18, 2009

Vorwaerts Turnhalle The Vorwaerts Turner Hall is a rare-surviving example of a German Turner Hall, an unusual building type that housed neighborhood athletic clubs in Chicago's German ethnic neighborhoods in the late 19th century. The building was constructed by the Turnverein Vorwaerts (Forwards Turners), one of 34 such German gymnastic clubs in Chicago, with other turner clubs located throughout the United States and Germany in the 19th century. The building's limestone fašade is carved with the bust of Friedrich Ludwig Jahn, the German founder of the Turner Movement, and the intertwined letters "FFST," which stand for the German words "Frisch, Fromm, Stark & Treu," and represents the basic principles of the turner movement: "Healthy, Upright, Strong & True." In addition to gymnastics, members of the Turnverein Vorwaerts helped establish physical education programs in Chicago's public schools and recreation facilities in the city's parks.

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