Meaning gymnastics or physical fitness it is significant for its association with the American Turners, a German-American athletic, cultural, and political association. The Milwaukee group was founded in 1853.
The building was designed by architect Henry C. Koch, and was completed in 1882, with an addition in 1899. In keeping with the Turner movement’s philosophy, the interior is decorated with artwork, including rare murals by German immigrant artists. Stained glass windows are adorned with political slogans relating to the Turner’s progressive political stances.
In 1994 the Governor proclaimed Turner Hall one of the “Ten Most Endangered Historic Sites” in Wisconsin. It was declared a National Landmark Place in 1996. In 2000, The Milwaukee Turners established the Turner Ballroom Preservation Trust to renovate and maintain the building.