Originally a small chapel and meeting place for sailors – called a bethel – this building housed Caroline Emmerton’s first settlement classes in 1908. At the time, it was located on the south side of the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion. In 1914 it was moved to the opposite side of the mansion, closer to Derby Street. There additional classrooms and a gymnasium were added and the seamen’s bethel was renamed Turner Hall.
At its height, Turner Hall held dozens of classes a year. It also housed dances and theatrical performances, all as part of Emmerton’s Settlement. However, in the mid-1960s the settlement programs outgrew Turner Hall and were moved elsewhere, leaving the building in disrepair. Finally, a 1966 fire in a nearby structure prompted the destruction of Turner Hall to ensure the safety of the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion. One of the few items to survive from the structure is its bell, which is still located on our site.
One of the more surprising items in our collection is a silent film of the 1966 demolition of Turner Hall. This footage provides a remarkable look at one of the most substantial transformations in our museum’s history. A short segment of the film is shown in below.