15 June 2017

Eintracht Halle

Eintracht Halle located at 371 South Pearl Street was for many years the headquarters for German-Americans in Albany's "South End" until it became a casualty of World War I. Numerous German societies or Verein called Eintracht Halle home. Today, the building is just a memory. It was torn down a few back along with other dilapidated buildings on South Pearl Street.

Eintracht Hall, right
Frederick Andes was the proprietor of Andes’ Hall, a lager-bier house, located at 371-373 South Pearl Street, circa 1875-1877. Andes was also first ward alderman in 1874. This locale soon became known as Eintracht Halle and was operated by Nicholas Wink from 1878 until his death on January 8, 1894. For decades, the Halle was the largest and most popular meeting place for the city’s numerous German-American societies.

On September 3, 1885, a fire that may have originated from children playing with matches started in the rear of Eintracht Halle. A strong breeze rapidly spread the fire to adjacent structures. In the end, the fire consumed and gutted one full city block bounded by Fourth Avenue, South Pearl, Alexander, and Broad Streets. Fortunately, there were no fatalities from the fire in the densely populated block.[1] All of the destroyed buildings were rebuilt.

The following was found in an Albany Evening Times newspaper dated, 18 September 1885:

The Eintracht singing society last evening appointed a committee consisting of Max Kurth, Peter Lasch and Frank Miller to prepare for the incorporation of the society. Trustees elected were: Active members, Peter Lasch, William Beyer, August Rapp and Chris. Frank; passive members, Joseph Belser, max Kurth, and John Zweers. They were instructed to purchase the former site of Eintracht hall, including a lot 23 by 66 feet on Broad street, for $5,100. L. Wink, Andrew Strube and William Hosebein were appointed to confer with the several singing societies of Albany relative to purchasing stock in the new hall. The original plans of the architect have been changed so as to provide for a three-storied instead of a two-storied building.

After Wink’s death, his wife operated the establishment for two years until relinquishing it to Gustav Wickert in 1896. Wickert was its proprietor until 1905, when Anthony F. Henzel took it over until his death on December 16, 1915. The final manager of Eintracht Halle was Joseph Van Wagner. He ran the Halle for only one year, 1916. Nevertheless, after America became a belligerent in the First World War, enough pressure for German-Americans to suppress their identity forced the popular spot to close. The building was vacant between 1917 and 1919, until Albany Knitting Company occupied the building in 1920.

Undated advertisement from an Albany City Directory

Eintracht Halle was home to numerous Gesangvereine or singing societies. One of which took the name Eintracht, which will be the focus of an upcoming article.

[1] Albany Argus, September 4, 1885, 8:2.