In 1904, Jacob Kohl arrived in America from Hainstadt an Main, Germany. He settled in Dayton, Ohio and formed the Arbeiter Gesangverein Eintracht (Workers Singing Society). The group provided a place were immigrant workers could meet and discuss work, social problems and sing. Meetings were originally held in homes and later at a hall on Wayne Avenue while concerts were held in rented halls and parks.
The club consisted of a music committee, three trustees, a protocol secretary, a Schatzmeister, a historian and a music director. The trustees handled all of the finances. A fee of 50 cents to join and 25 cents monthly dues were collected from members. There were 21 singers to start, and by 1917 there were 50 singers and 350 members. In 1932, land was purchased on the banks of the great Miami River for picnics and festivals and a caretaker’s cottage was later built.
After World War I ended, an influx of German immigrants boosted the membership of Eintracht, even though there were twenty or more German clubs in the Dayton area at that time. During World War II, many German members of Eintracht served in the American armed forces and the Eintracht ladies bundled and sewed clothing to aid in the war effort. The end of the war also saw many more German immigrants arriving and an increase in membership.
In 1985, a fire destroyed the original caretaker’s cottage and an elevated wooden Biergarten dance floor and caused smoke damage throughout the entire building. It took extensive rebuilding and renovations to return Eintracht to its original state.
Following the fire, improvements continued at Eintracht with the construction of a concrete Biergarten dance floor, covered outside bar, two garages, one for Eintracht storage and the other at the rear of the building for the storage of Deutschland’s A World A’Fair sets. A new fire escape was also built by Horst Hubel, a member, who also did the street-side sign and most of the decorative artwork on the rest of the building. Almost all of the repairs and reconstruction needs were met by club officers and volunteers workgroups. The flags in the Eintracht ballroom were hand made by the ladies of Eintracht.
True to the legacy passed down by the founders, Eintracht remains committed to the preservation of our culture and heritage through singing, festivals, dances and German food. Eintracht is a member of the Nordamerikanisher Sängerbund participating in National and District Sängerfests as well as concerts both locally and in other tri-state cities. As in the past, Eintracht depends on volunteers for functions that sustain the club’s overhead such as dances, dinners, fish fry’s, festivals and activities outside the club to promote German culture and music to the general public, often in association with our sister clubs and other ethnic clubs of Dayton.
Translated from official German ledgers dating from 1907 by Hal Nolf, Eintracht, Historian 2003