1905 image of the second German Hall built along the Cedar River on Bridge Street (2nd Ave NE) at the time of its dedication. It replaced the original German Hall built in 1892 that was destroyed by fire in 1904. (Photo courtesy of Aren Crews)

LOOKBACK: German Hall once event center along Cedar River

Fire, floods and growing greenhouse business doomed Austin social venue that ended in 1912

An 1876 aerial drawing of Austin with an arrow pointing to the wooded area along the Cedar River that became the site in 1892 of the first German Hall and, in 1901, the home of the Kinsman greenhouses.
Present-day view of the former German Hall site, which was located on the parking lot entrance and lot areas from 1892 to 1912 near the Cedar River and a grove of trees.
1908 postcard of the Cedar River below Austin’s downtown dam with the German Hall circled to the right.
View of the former German Hall site at today’s Riverside Arena parking lot along 2nd Avenue Northeast along the Cedar River below Austin’s downtown dam.
1910 Sanborn Fire Insurance map showing the German Hall along East Bridge Street (2nd Ave NE).
Bridge Street’s bridge (2nd Ave NE) gets washed out by the raging Cedar River during a record flood in June 1908. This view looks east; the German Hall was out of sight on the left side near the bridge.
June 1908 photo showing the heavily flooded Cedar River destroying Kinsman’s greenhouses with the German Hall likely shown on the far right.
View looking east in June 1908 on Bridge Street (2nd Ave NE) toward the German Hall (out of sight) when the Cedar River was at its highest flooding over the roadway and washing out the Bridge Street bridge.
Kinsman Greenhouse ad Nov. 1, 1905, in the Mower County Transcript newspaper.
Undated image showing the Kinsman greenhouses and the Cedar River.
1910 map (Sanborn Fire Insurance) showing the German Hall situated along old Bridge Street (today’s 2nd Ave NE), just south of the Kinsman Greenhouses. Today, this block hosts Austin’s Municipal Building, Riverside Arena and a large parking lot along the river.
1917 map of the present-day Riverside Arena block along the Cedar River showing the expanded Kinsman Greenhouses after the German Hall was removed.

Formed in 2007, CRWD works to reduce flooding and improve water quality on the Cedar River State Water Trail and its tributaries in southern Minnesota.