ABOUT US ~~ THEN & NOW
Concordia Dance Hall
Built 1891 The Concordia Dance Hall, located in the historic neighborhood known as Goosetown, is one of the last remaining buildings associated with the social life of the German immigrant community in La Crosse. Designed by the local German speaking partnership of Gustav Stolze and Hugo Schick, this large public building has had major exterior alterations but still retains its original form and distinctive square towers with bell-shaped roof and decorative finials.
The original brick exterior and window openings have been covered with stucco and faux half-timbering. The entrance has been altered as well. Still evident is the “1891” date-block positioned high in the middle of the façade between the flanking towers. In the 19th century beer and dance halls were very popular with the large German-American community in La Crosse.
The Concordia Society was established by local German immigrants in 1870. The group was incorporated in 1876 as the Concordia Singing Society and later became known as the Concordia Aid Society. Although singing for entertainment was one of the main functions of the group, additional goals were to practice and cultivate vocal and instrumental virtuosity, perform gymnastic exercises for the mind and body and provide mutual benevolence and financial support for members in need.
One of the member singing groups, The Frohsinn Society, had the Concordia built in 1891 as a community center and dance hall. Previously, the members met in a building on North Third Street. The neighborhood in the roughly ten-block area surrounding the intersection of La Crosse Street and West Avenue (formerly 12th Street) was known as Goosetown for the large number of domestic fowl kept by German immigrants in their backyards. This neighborhood would have been a logical place to locate a dance hall for cancing, parties, singing and drinking beer.
By 1984 the dance hall was no longer profitable and the building was in need of major repairs. In 1994, the remaining members of the Concordia Aid Society voted to sell the property to pay back taxes and other debts. In 1995 Concordia Hall was saved from demolition and extensively renovated as a result of cooperation between the Preservation Alliance of La Crosse, the Concordia Aid Society, Inc. and a volunteer ad hoc group called “Save the Concordia”. Under the leadership of Concordia Aid Society, Inc. member Bernie Duerkop, the Concordia was purchased by a new organization that now runs the hall for a variety of community events including weddings, benefit concerts and old-time and country dances. The Concordia Hall was listed as a La Crosse City Historic Landmark in 1995.