On the corner of Ninth and Rhode Island streets stands a massive stone building that belies its age. It is over 100 years old. A marker set near the top reads:
For 50 years this building and it Turnverein members were, in their prime, serving the German-American families in the community. Then 1917 and World War I changed everything. Today, after another 50 years, the sturdy old building is again useful and appreciated. But in another way.
After the war, things started up again, but the hall never regained its popularity. In 1938 the building was sold to Philip Ernst. The society retained a small lodge room, but Ernest leased the rest of the building to the Rumsey Vehicle Company where toys were manufactured for a short time. The national guard then used it until their Armory was built. Next, the Salvation Army maintained an outlet store for several years.
Finally the building was "discovered" by Ed Down, who saw its possibilities for his line of audio business. Since 1965, Down has been renovating the interior. The walls and ceiling have been covered with plastic to keep out all dust. Not only is something of Old Lawrence being preserved, but bits of KU as well. When you enter on East Ninth, which is now the "front door," you walk through a four-foot doorway. The wooden steps to the basement are flanked by a low stone wall made from stone taken from old Fraser Hall. At the foot of the stairs on each side is a bronze newel light lined in colored glass.
These lights came out of Blake Hall. On this floor, which is considered the first floor, is all of the audio equipment for cutting records. On the second floor, which was the gym floor, with its 18 foot ceiling, is used as an echo chamber.
from War Nerves Blight German Role by Elfriede Fischer Rowe