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Racine Societies and Organizations

As published in "The History of Racine and Kenosha Counties" (Chicago: 1879)

Socialer Turnverein
The Socialer Turnverein was organized in March, 1854, with about forty members, and by special act of Legislature it was incorporated in 1864. At various times it has maintained an amateur theatre and gymnasium, also a glee singing club and a debating society. It has always been connected with the North American Turner Bund. The Society purchased the old Methodist Church building on College avenue, between Fifth and Sixth streets, in 1872. They made repairs on the house, built a brick addition, 35x4O feet, and erected a stage, at a cost of $4,000, making the entire property as remodeled, cost $8,800. The hall has a seating capacity for about 500 people. The stage is well appointed, and supplied with proper scenery. The society has a present membership of thirty-five.
Its present officers are: E. J. Hueffner, President
Louis Dahringer, Secretary
George Rickaman, Treasurer.

Dania Society
The Dania Society was organized May 19, 1867, by the following original members:
Julius H. Stahr
Lars Rasmussen
O. R. Bruun
H. C. Hansen
P. Jorgensen
J. Rasmussen
Hans Petersen
Rasmus Larsen
Nels Jorgensen.
The first officers were:
Julius H. Stahr, President; and Treasurer
O. R. Bruun, Secretary
December 6, 1876, the Society was regularly incorporated under the laws of the State. The following were the first officers under the incorporation:
Nels Berthramsen, President
Matt. Myrup, Vice President
William Hestrup, Assistant Vice President
Jens Hansen, Treasurer; elected December 7, 1876.
The fine two-story frame building known as Dania Hall, was erected during 1876, at a cost, including the lot, of $5,350. The hall is supplied with a good stage and appropriate scenery. The Society also owns a valuable library. The value of the real estate, building, furniture, fixtures and library, is estimated at $8,000. On the 7th day of December, 1876, the Society had a membership of ninety-four. The present officers are:
Chris. Myrup, President
A. Schouboe, Vice President
Nels Johnson, Secretary
H. C. Olsen, Assistant Secretary
Jens Petersen, Treasurer
Jens Moller, Assistant Treasurer.
The object of the Society is to cultivate its members in music, debating and public speaking, also to study the sciences and languages. It is a benevolent society as well, giving support in case of sickness, and material aid to the families of deceased members. The present membership numbers 120. Dania Hall is located on State street.

Bohemian Society of Racine
The Bohemian Society of Racine was founded on the 3d day of March, 1861, under the name of "Slovanska Lipa," which means, literally translated, "The Slavonian Lime Tree," that tree having been held sacred among the ancient Slavonians whose public meetings and religious gatherings used to be held under its widespread branches. The Society organized by the election of the following officers:
Hanus B. Letowsky, President
Hanus A. Hubachek, Vice President
Joseph Nowotny, Secretary
Anthony Kraupa, Treasurer
Frank Korizek, Librarian
Anthony Kraynik and Frank Tribyl, Trustees.
In the year 1871, a Bohemian Gymnastic Association was formed, called "Sokol," which, however, in the fall of 1871, united with the "Slovanska Lipa," and the name of the consolidated society was changed to "Narodni Jednota " (National Union). The new articles of incorporation were recorded June 3, 1876. The objects of the Society are mental advancement, social intercourse and mutual support in case of need and sickness. The Society maintains a Bohemian Sunday school, with secular instruction; has a well-assorted Bohemian library of 400 volumes, besides a collection of maps and pictures, and meets once a month at the Dania Hall on State street. Present membership in good standing, forty. Present officers:
President, Joseph Velfi
Vice President, Anthony Kraynik
Secretary, Frank Stenicka
Treasurer, Ignace Bures
Janitor, John Nesetril
Trustees, Joseph Kristerius, M. M. Secor, Frank Nehoda.
Receipts of the Society during the year ending May 1, 1879, a little over $600. The property of the Navodni Jednota exceeds $2,000 in value.

Avon Club
The Avon Club was organized in the fall of 1863, with Prof. S. H. Peabody as Leader and A. C. Sanford, Secretary. Its meetings were held bi-weekly during the winter months, were devoted to reading Shakespeare's plays. Its meetings were kept up till the fall of 1871, when Prof. Peabody moved to Amherst, Illinois, to accept a Professorship in the Massachusetts State Agricultural College. In the fall of 1877, the Club was revived, with Prof. O. S. Wescott as Leader, and continued its regular sessions till the following April. It suspended its readings for the summer, and entered upon the study of Dante's Divina Comedia, having first secured the services of Rev. J. J. Elmendorf, Professor of English Literature in Racine College as their instructor. This course extended till Christmas. The first week in January, 1879, the Avon Club, under the direction of Prof. Elmendorf, took up the study of Shakespeare's English historical plays, embracing King Lear, King John, Richard II, Henry IV, two parts, Henry V, Richard III, and Henry VIII. The present membership of the Club numbers twenty-seven.

Merchant Tailors' Union Protective Society
The Merchant Tailors' Union Protective Society was organized in March, 1879. Officers:
John James, President
Henry Cooke, Secretary
H. Ritter and A. Garnkaeufer, Directors.

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