A few weeks back I was involved in a conversation and someone mentioned the former German Hall that was on Beaver Street in Albany. Therefore I decided to put together a blog post about German Hall. The following is an excerpt from my MA thesis.
|German Hall post card|
|German Hall Post|
For over forty years, the numerous German societies longed for a “Deutsche Halle” or German Hall. Circa 1904, the German Hall Association was formed to aid the German desire for a hall. On January 18, 1908, their dream came true. The Albany German Hall, costing $125,000, opened at 48 Beaver Street. The hall included large assembly rooms, a ball room, kitchens, a spacious banquet hall reputed to be the largest in the city, a grill, restaurant, and a bowling alley. The German Hall was an elaborate cultural landmark that became the dominant venue for German societies and clubs in the city.
|Schenectady Herold Journal Ad|
|Times Union Ad Feb 1913|
As late as 1915, the German Hall Association promoted the study of the German language for the younger generation. They also encouraged its study in schools and various institutions throughout the city. The hall association suggested that all parents of Germanic descent teach their children to speak, read, and write the German language. On October 2, 1914, the hall was toured by a large New York City theatrical concern with the intention of leasing the hall as a theatre. The hall was considered a promising site because very few alterations to the building were necessary. The writer of this work was unable to determine the outcome of this venture, but concludes that the deal fell through. Although the hall was home to most of Albany’s German societies and was the site for many successful concerts, the German Hall Association seemed always to be short on cash. The Association owed the Albany Trust Company $60,000.
|Times Union 31 July 1918 1:3|
Regrettably, on July 31, 1918, the German Hall was sold to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows for $68,000.  Over fifty years later, Edgar Van Olinda, a Times Union journalist, wrote in his weekly column “Around the Town” of the atmosphere inside the defunct German Hall. He asked,
…do you remember German Hall…where no ladies were admitted without a male escort? And the small Hungarian orchestra that played there, lending a strange, exotic touch to the scene? And the fat oiley [sic] violinist, strolling between the several tables playing his wailing Gypsy melodies for the occupants of the red table clothed drinking and eating pads? And the watery-eyed, silent little timpanist, wearing white cotton gloves, making soft, rippling music with his felt-covered mallets on the spinet-like instrument called a cymbalon?
 Ibid., October 2, 1914, 1:3.
 Ibid., July 31, 1918, 1:3. Schenectady Herold-Journal, June 1, 1917, 5:2; February 8, 1918, 1:6; June 21, 1918, 1:4.
 Times Union, January 14, 1970, 6:1.