SONS OF HERMAN HALL
History of the Hall
The Sons of Hermann Hall in Dallas has a long and colorful history. The two Texas Sons of Hermann lodges in the hall today are Dallas #22 and Columbia #66.
Dallas Lodge #22 was chartered in 1890 as Uhland lodge #22. Columbia Lodge was chartered in 1893. In 1910 the then four Dallas lodges (out of necessity and, more importantly, unity) pooled their resources and built the hall at 3414 Elm. The grand opening was held in April of 1911. The Dallas Sons of Hermann Hall is a Texas Historic Landmark. We are very proud of it and hope you will visit soon.
We are very fortunate to have many life-long members of both lodges willing to share their memories of the Hall in days gone by. We hold the stories told by these members, some of whom first visited the hall as infants, as precious and priceless. The Historical Committee is assembling an extensive collection of Sons of Hermann Hall memorabilia. Come by and have a look! We’ll post some of it here as the collection grows.
Please visit the Sons of Hermann Hall soon. Better still, join our family and become a member!
(Many thanks to Brother Pete Baerwaldt and the Historical Society for the history of the Sons of Hermann Hall)
Here is a bowling ribbon, circa 1913, generously donated by Brother Charles Halgey of Dallas Lodge # 22. Stop by the hall soon to see more bowling memorabilia from the Sons of Hermann Hall Historical Society collection!
The Order of the Sons of Hermann was organized in New York City in 1840 by a small band of men of German descent. This marked the founding of the nation’s oldest fraternal benefit society.
Hermann, for whom the order was named, was an early folk hero known as Hermann the Cherusker (the latter is the name of the ancient German tribe to which he belonged). He also was known historically by the name the Romans gave him – Arminius – and Webster’s Biographical Dictionary lists him as Arminius.
His story is one of the great stories of all time. After his capture by the Romans, he was pressed into military service in the Roman Army and became a splendid military leader. However, when the Romans became particularly oppressive to his people, Arminius forsook the glories of Rome to organize German tribesman for a military victory that was to shake the ancient world.
Roman legions were considered invincible in those years, but Hermann’s tribal forces defeated three Roman legions in the Battle of Teutoberger Forest in 9 A.D., when Hermann was only 27 years old. Historians say his victory was the beginning of the end of domination by the empire of the Ceasars over Germany as well as the British Isles.
Hermann’s heroics for his people were not without extreme cost to him. In vengeance, the Romans captured his pregnant wife and took her off to slavery in Rome. A son was born to his wife in Rome and had to remain a slave for the rest of his life. Hermann never saw his wife again or his son. Hermann died 12 years after his great military victory.
Today a monument topped by his statue stands as tall as a 16-story building on a wooded hilltop near Detmold, Germany. There are also statues of Hermann in New Ulm, Minn. and at the entrance to the German village of Spassberg at Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio.
From the small beginning in New York City, the Order had grown to 800 members in six Northern states by 1847, and at a convention held in Milwaukee on Christmas Day 1848, a Grand Lodge, with offices in New York City, was organized. the newly created national Order adopted the motto “Friendship, Love and Loyalty.” This motto lives on in the hearts and good works of the members of the Order of the Sons of Hermann in the State of Texas.
The first permanent settlers of the Texas Hill Country were pioneers who had come to Texas from Germany in 1845 and 1846. After establishing such towns as New Braunfels, Fredricksburg, and Comfort, a number of these settlers moved into San Antonio, which already a been a frontier community of long standing. these settlers formed a society and social life of their own in San Antonio. It was a society which welcomed the extras which the Order of the Sons of Hermann was soon to offer and thereafter perpetuate.
The National Grand Lodge sent John Lemnitzer of Rochester, N.Y., and Jakob Goll, also from the Northern United States to San Antonio, and they helped the San Antonians establish the first Hermann Sons Lodge in Texas – Harmonia Lodge No. 1 – in 1860. The lodge was fully chartered on July 6, 1861. The Order gave the pioneers much in the line of mutual interest and protection, and the movement took off in other communities.
On March 27, 1890, with the Alamo, the Cradle of Texas Liberty, as a backdrop, Texans from newly formed lodges in Austin, Tyler, Temple, Waco, La Grange, Brenham and Houston met with Harmonia Lodge representatives to form the Grand Lodge of the Order of the Sons of Hermann.
Within a year after this Grand Lodge Convention in San Antonio, 92 additional Texas Hermann Sons lodges were established.
Harmonia Lodge No. 1 in San Antonio was the first Hermann Sons lodge anywhere to add life insurance on a non-profit basis to the benefits for its members. This was first proposed in 1873 and put into effect within approximately two years.
Since 1921, the Order of the Sons of Hermann in Texas, with its Grand Lodge in San Antonio, has been completely autonomous and independent of any National Grand Lodge affiliation. In 1921, when the Texas Hermann Sons Order went on its own, it already was stronger financially and had more members than all other Sons of Hermann lodges in all other states combined.