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Donald G. Tritt Library and Archives
Donald G. Tritt Library and Archives

Schweizer Turnverein: San Francisco

The following comes from the Swiss Gymnastic Club of San Francisco.
The Schweizer Turnverein dissolved in 2005, with Paul Scherrer ensuring it lives on within the Tritt Library and Archives.
Written in 1964 as the Swiss Gymnastic Club Celebrated its 50th Anniversary

On March 21, 1914, a small group of young, vigorous, gymnastics loving Swiss got together in the then Roeschalle at 15th and Mission and founded the Swiss Gymnastic Club, then called Schweizer Turnverein.
The first President was Dr. Louis W. Schmohl, who has been with the Club faithfully ever since, and now an Honorary President.
According to the club records, the other charter members who are still with the Club are John R Stalder, Robert Hallenbarter, and Fred Schneider, who resides now in Switzerland.
This fine club has come a long way since; had its ups and downs; its share of glories, fame and frustrations; but always pulled through and successfully perpetuated its main aim, Gymnastics, Friendship and love for sports, from generation to generation.
The years of the First World War brought trying times to his young Society, but the managed to weather the storm. By 1923 there was quite an influx of new Schwingers and Turners from Switzerland, giving the Club the needed boost.

Circa 1932 Turnfest Cleveland, Ohio: Tritt Library and Archives

In 1926, a team was sent to the National Swiss-American Turnfest in Cleveland, Ohio, where they made a wonderful showing bringing home several laurel wreaths.
Then, there were Schwingfests, Pacific Athletic Association competitions, etc., in which the Club participated and frequently captured team and individual championships.
A ladies class was inaugurated in 1926, but became dormant a few years later; it was again revived in 1932, becoming a permanent part of the Club.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin Turnfest 1893:Tritt Library and Archives

In 1937, a team was sent to the Swiss National Gymnastic championships in Monroe, Wisconsin and again they were successful.  The continued success of the Club was suddenly interrupted by World War II when most of the younger members joined the United States Armed Services.
With the return of the boys from the Services, the outlook brightened to such as extend that in 1948 six members (four men, two ladies) were sent to the Turnfest in Milwaukee Wisconsin, well fortified by a group of "Fest-Bummlers", and again returned with glory.  In 1954 the Club was host to the 22nd National Swiss-American Gymnastic Festival in San Francisco; an outstanding affair with a wonderful parade up Market Street.
The Club more recently competed again in the National festivals in Monroe, Wisconsin in 1957, and in Cleveland, Ohio in 1960. The Swiss Gymnastic Club's activities are, however, not limited to sports. A few social events are arranged now and then to give its members a chance to strengthen the bonds of friendship. 

The Joint Gymnastic Festival and Dance

And now, for the last four years, the Swiss Gymnastic Club in partnership with the San Francisco Turners has been successfully staging an annual joint Gymnastic Festival and Dance, where they have the opportunity to demonstrate to their friends and the general public the fruits of hard, disciplined and coordinated training of body and mind.

The fourth such Festival took place on April 11, 8 p.m. in the California Hall. The auditorium was full to its capacity of over 1,000 spectators, a great many of which were themselves once participants in such gymnastic activities.

The Golden Anniversary Banquet

The 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Swiss Gymnastics Club did not end here.  On April 25, the Club held its Golden Jubilee Banquet at Engler's Banquet Hall.  A congenial, lively crowd of 132 members and friends filled up the banquet room in a gay and spirited mood.  Old friends meeting again and reminiscing of good old times, when their world was younger, their hair denser or darker, and the muscles tighter. They joked about their "flyaways" and "hand stands". their "giant swings", and their "Kreiskehren"; they brought to memory good times and rough times, glories, victories escapades and defeats.  They recalled their Club's fine history from its meager beginning with only $3.00, the younger members listening intently.

Finding Aid of the SWISS GYMNASTIC CLUB OF SAN FRANCISCO Records, 1914-1984 [bulk 1914-1968]

Download File Finding Aid of the SWISS GYMNASTIC CLUB OF SAN FRANCISCO Records, 1914-1984 [bulk 1914-1968]

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