Teutonia Männerchor History
The Teutonia Männerchor was founded in 1854. It was an offspring of an organization called “Liederkranz” which was founded in 1851 by Rev. Karl R. Weiterhausen. Later, the Liederkranz became the Freier Männerchor and then the Teutonia Männerchor. The name Teutonia stems from the one of the oldest German Tribes.
The first meetings were held in the basement of an old Lutheran Church on Canal Street, Later, around 1882 the chorus practiced in Dahlingers Hall at 121 Madison Avenue. The Chorus then moved to the old Masonic Hall in Old Allegheny. Under President Henry Bergman, the property of St. Peters Church on Pike Street was purchased on February 28, 1887 (Later renamed Phineas Street). The Charter of Incorporation was approved on April 9, 1887 and the present building was built.
The cost of the land at the time was $5,000.00 and the building was erected for $8,800. The architect was George Ott and the contractor Stipecke Brothers. “Fachwerk“, an exclusive type of German architecture, was used for the exterior of the building. This traditional theme has been maintained to the present time.
The first meeting in the Hall was held on July 15, 1888. The official dedication of the Hall took place on October 15, 1888. The decorations were furnished by the Joseph Horne Company of Pittsburgh. Initiation fees were set at $5.00 and dues at $3.00 per year.
The 50th Anniversary of Teutonia was celebrated in grand style on September 26 & 27, 1904, including a parade through the North Side.
In 1934, it was decided to remodel the first floor of the Hall. Most of the work was done without compensation by members and it became a Ratskeller in true German style. On the 80th Anniversary of the Teutonia, that year it was decided to amend the constitution to honor those members of 25 years of service with an honorary membership “Life Member”: This practice is still continued today. Two adjoining houses were purchased by the club in 1947 for additions to the Hall and $27,000.00 was expended for improvements.
Our monthly newsletter (Teutonia News) was started under the editorship of Frank Riedl in 1951. The 100 year Centennial was celebrated in 1954. A banquet was held in the Upstairs Hall on May 16, 1954 and a concert at Carnegie Hall on Saturday June 12, 1954. The membership at the time was 897 members, including 65 singers in the Male Chorus and 45 singers in the Ladies Chorus.
In 1979, Teutonia celebrated its 125th Anniversary, Seven (7) coats of arms were donated to the club. The crests designate various areas of Germany and are now permanent fixtures on the walls of the Upstairs Hall.
Many improvements were made during the 1980′s and 1990′s. All the outside walls were restored air conditioning was added to the Upstairs Hall and kitchen and bar equipment was replaced. We are a German choral society dedicated to the preservation of German choral singing. Our combined group of the Men and Ladies Chorus present fall and spring concerts yearly, and participate in concerts by other German choral groups in the Pittsburgh and Tri-State area on a regular basis. Our combined choruses number 78 members with 40 regular male singers and 38 lady singers.
Today, Teutonia has over 3,000 members and is still growing. We can look back to our past with pride and to the future with confidence.
As a private club, members are proposed for membership by other members. Prospective members must be age 21 and of good moral character and reputation. Members agree to support the purposes of the club, which are to “further choral singing, our German cultural tradition and good fellowship. A ladies auxiliary membership (non-voting) is available. If you are interested in joining, please speak with one of our members for more information. If you don’t know a member, please talk to our manager. With over 2,600 members, one of your neighbors or co-workers may be a Teutonia member. Membership requires an initiation fee and annual dues.