Lawrence, KS (Ongoing)

900 Rhode Island Street

Constructed in 1869, Turnhalle is a two-story example of Vernacular-style Midwest construction. The 9,412 square-foot masonry building was constructed with native limestone. The wood framed addition was added in 1882 with a limestone foundation matching the main hall. Turnhalle is one of the few surviving examples in the U.S. of a Turnverein, a German gymnastics club; it was used as a Turnverein until 1938. In 2014, the Lawrence Preservation Alliance sold Turnhalle to Flint Hills Holding Group LLC to restore the historic building. They are working on state and federal tax credits and the project is going through local, state, and federal reviews. 

The project will include a full rehabilitation of the building. The main floor will be used as a performance venue, with a stage, seating area and bar. The second floor will have an office, box seats and storage. The basement will have a restaurant with a dining room, bar, and commercial kitchen. Nine accessible bathrooms will be added throughout the building. An addition will be added to the back of the building for a green room and other storage. The addition’s fenestration patterns will compliment the historic building and it will be inset to not take away from the existing building. The rehabilitation will make the building code-compliant and accessible. There will also be lighting, electrical, structural, and safety updates. 

The property is a contributing building in the North Rhode Island Street Historic Residential District. It received a Thematic Nomination as part of the Historic Resources of Lawrence from the Kansas Historical Society in 2001. Turnhalle is the most significant building of the German-American group that populated Lawrence, Kansas in the 19th century. It retains a high degree of architectural integrity and exemplifies a rich cultural past in Lawrence. Turnhalle is not currently open, but is set to reopen following rehabilitation. 

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