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HISTORY LIVES: Maennerchor Society Hall


Maennerchor (men’s chorus) was the name given to immigrant German social clubs established in the United States.

The Gossiper dated March 29, 1912, gives the following account of the Doylestown Maennerchor Society from its inception in 1884: “Starting originally as a German singing society with a few members it has grown in numbers and activities until at present it has 99 members, owns its own home, pays sick benefits and has a social section which is very popular. It had its beginning when a very few Germans of the county seat began to meet about at their homes to sing and have social evenings. After a few meetings the members rented a room in the McGinty Building [at 52 East State Street], purchased an organ and had Augustus Siegler as the first music teacher. There were no grand opera stars in the organization, but the members got a great deal of pleasure from their singing of the old German songs; and the popularity of the society grew so rapidly that in January 1886, after one year and six months, the membership was 50.”

• After renting numerous spaces in borough buildings, the Maennerchor membership purchased a lot from the Taylor estate on York Street (now Oakland Avenue). Local architect Oscar Martin was commissioned to build a two-story hall on the property, and the new Maennerchor Hall was opened on Christmas Day 1894. The Daily Democrat reported, “A nicely trimmed Christmas tree stood on the second floor and all the rooms were festooned with flags and bunting.”

• A celebration in 1912 revealed a remodeled and redecorated interior.

• A $25,000 addition opened to the public in February 1938. The Daily Intelligencer announced, “The new wing takes in the old clubhouse building including additional space and two floors including bowling alleys, a club room, offices, ladies lounge and other modern clubhouse departments.”

• On June 23, 1943, an article in The Daily Intelligencer publicized that the Maennerchor had purchased the entire Doylestown airport: farm, landing field and buildings. “When the war is over it is planned to develop this site for a modern and well-equipped summer recreational center with a possibility that the airport may be operated again.”

And, on March 30, 1945, “Thanks to the enterprising vision of the Doylestown Maennerchor here, the county seat appears assured of a first-rate airport by May 1st.”

• On Dec. 26, 1969, The Daily Intelligencer broadcast the club’s plan to build a one-story addition to its existing hall “ enlarge the dancing and dining area. We expect to install a new elongated bar. We will do some remodeling in the interior and there will be new plumbing, wiring and other improvements.”

Today, the Doylestown Maennerchor Society continues as one of the oldest independent, private, social clubs in Doylestown. The bar serves food and drink at 40 E. Oakland Ave.; and the Maennerchor Field at 3700 Cold Spring Creamery Road offers a picnic grove/pavilion with kitchen facilities.

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