Bellville Turnverein Pavilion: Virtual Visit April 22, 2020

bellville turnverin hall

Because of COVID-19, we are unable to physically visit any dance halls. I’ve decided to do a virtual visit, gathering information from websites, email, books and personal conversations as applicable. We hope to actually dance on the floor at some time. In the meantime, enjoy some history and photos of this virtual tour.

Bellville Turnverein, 966 East Main Street (Hwy 529), Bellville, just past the intersection of FM 159 and 529.  According to Stephen Dean’s book Historic Dance Halls of East Central Texas, the City of Bellville purchased the property and pavilion in 1937. Photos are from Stephen Dean’s data base. Information from Bellville Turnverein Project

“In the late 1800’s Bellville had two organizations that sponsored community-wide social activities. In 1883 the Social Club purchased this 14.7 acres of land from Herman Miller for the sum of $760 and had planned construction of a pavilion that didn’t materialize. In 1885 the Bellville Turnverein Gut Heil was formed by German immigrants – encouraging gymnastics (turnen) and athletics, a club (verein) for good health (gut heil). With the need for a place for community-wide social activities including physical exercise, dances, celebrations and meetings, they purchased the property in 1895 from the Social Club. In August of 1897, a contract was let to German immigrant carpenter Joachim Hintz of Milheim to build a social hall. The hall, which seated up to 400 for dances, was completed in October of 1897 at a cost of $2,500.

Joachim Hintz was a skilled carpenter who came to Austin County from Germany in 1855 at the age of 14, Joachim Hintz left an indelible mark on Austin County. As architect & builder of three of the “dance halls” that are part of our historic culture, he conceived the unique 12 & 8-sided halls built around a central pole, his trademark. A tribute to the design & fine carpentry is the fact that they all are still in use today… each being over 100 years old.”

Geronimo Trevino III, in his book Dance Halls and Last Calls A History of Texas Country Music stated the extra long lumber for this twelve sided building was shipped directly from the mills. He also said a grant from the Federal Works Progress Administration enabled the city to update the pavilion with modern amenities and it continues to serve as a focal point for many community gatherings.

The hall is currently undergoing restoration. If you’d like to help: Donate Information

Bellville Turnverin marker

Bellville Turnverin dance floor

bellville turnverin bbq area

bellville turnverin covered area

bellville turnverin outside wall

For official photos, check out the Bellville Turnverein website.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s