Our History

 

The Concordia Gymnastic Society was founded in 1875. It was named after Concordia Park on the near south side of Saint Louis. Facilities in the park were used for the initial activities of the organization. In 1877 Concordia moved to its first home located at 13th and Arsenal. At this location, exercise classes and instruction in gymnastics were a regular part of the schedule. Most of the members at that time were from the surrounding neighborhoods of Soulard, Benton Park and Senate Square. It was also a center of the neighborhood cultural and entertainment scene. It is often referred to as Concordia Turners. The word “Turner” is the German word for Gymnast.

 

The building of Interstate 55 necessitated moving to our present location on Gravois Road in 1962. The original portion of the building, The Black Forest Room, was the very popular Black Forest Restaurant. Additional buildings were subsequently added through the years. The current facilities include two gymnasiums, a dance/martial arts studio, handball/racquetball court, fitness center, men’s and women’s locker rooms, kitchen, bar, rental halls outdoor swimming pool and sand volleyball court.

 

The purpose of our organization is to promote the health and well-being of our members and our society. While we have a strong emphasis on gymnastics, we also support a wide variety of athletic and social activities to meet the changing needs of our members.

 

Concordia is a member of a national organization called the American Turners. It is composed of similar organizations located throughout the United States. The first Turner societies in the United States were organized toward the close of the year 1848. Trace the history of physical education in the United States and you trace the history of the American Turners. The American Turners spent much of the first half of the 20th Century promoting the addition of physical education to U.S. schools. They also created the first College of Physical Education. The school still operates today as a division of the Indiana University in Indianapolis. The American Turners is among the oldest continuously operating athletic organizations in the world.

 

St. Louis Turner Societies

Since 1850, there have been more than a dozen Turner Societies formed in St. Louis. Only Concordia remains as an active society today. Most societies had closed down by the middle part of the twentieth century, with some closing decades earlier.

This map shows the locations of Turner Halls in St. Louis since 1850. Most no longer exist. However, a handful still do, but are being used for purposes other than that for which they were originally built.

 

Historic Artifacts

Here are links to some scanned documents and photos from the Concordia Turners archives. They are presented in no particular order. However, we are actively working on organizing those things we do have and will someday (soon, hopefully) present a complete online history of the Concordia Turners.

Current or past members who may be in possesion of photos, pamphlets, magazines or any other sort of historical Concordia artifacts are encouraged to contact the office or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the information. We will scan these items and then return them to your possession.

1999: 50th Turnfest Program

1975: 100th Anniversary of Concordia Turners

1926: Turner Song Book

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Design by : Concordia Turners.