Fire Hyde Park North St. Louis

Nord St. Louis Turnverein Gym Survived Fire

by Michael R. Allen

View of the gymnasium northwest from Mallinckrodt Street. All photographs taken on July 5, 2006.

Remarkably, the 1898 gymnasium facing Mallinckrodt Street survived the blaze that destroyed much of the rest of the Nord St. Louis Turnverein on the night of July 3, 2006. This survival is largely due to its later fire-proof construction that avoided the use of structural timber that the other sections of the complex used. The gymnasium utilizes steel tied into the masonry walls for its structure. The gym floor is supported by steel columns that are cross-braced for durability. These columns support steel joists under a concrete slab floor that adequately carried the weight of the roof debris that descended during the fire. My inspection on July 5 revealed that the floor was stable across the building, with no collapsed areas. I was startled to see how stable the floor was. Of course, the wooden flooring was largely deteriorated before the fire.

View northeast from the corner of 20th and Mallinckrodt streets.

The masonry walls appear stable, except for sections where the parapet walls had deteriorated and lost integrity. A few sections came lose during storms in the spring, and when the roof burned the falling debris knocked lose larger areas of the walls. All four walls remain mostly intact, though. Steel trusses span the width of the building, with each truss tied into the walls. Some girders are no longer tied due to masonry disintegration. However, most are stable. These trusses are braced at two points in the center of the building by lateral steel channels.

Looking north inside of the gymnasium.

Overall, the structural condition after the gymnasium remains good after the fire.

Some additional interior views: