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
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
For official photos, check out the Bellville Turnverein website.