Teutonia Mannerchor and Penn Brewery: Pittsburgh’s German Community

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The Fachwerk facade of the Teutonia Mannerchor building stands out in stark contrast to the dilapidated brick of the surrounding neighborhood.  As I walk through the adjacent parking lot, signs indicating the spaces of the Hausmeister and the President mark a center of the German-American community in Pittsburgh.

The private choral society, founded in 1854, first occupied the building on July 15, 1888 (“Teutonia Mannerchor History”).  The group was founded by German immigrants arriving in Pittsburgh, evolving from a previous group known as the Liedertafel.  These men and women wanted to preserve their heritage and formed a closely-knit community around this organization.  The chorus performs traditional German music, traveling around the Tri-State Area on tour.  Their official goal, to “further choral singing, promote our German cultural tradition and extend good fellowship.” is maintained by over 3,000 members to this day (“Choir Activities”).

Walking up the steep Troy Hill Road, the neon sign of Penn Brewery beckons.  In the distance, the H.J. Heinz factory billows steam, a remnant of the Industrial Age.  Heinz himself was the son of German immigrants, his success serving as a testament to the rising influence of Pittsburgh immigrants (Wiggin, Sally).

The Penn Brewery was founded as the E&O Brewery in 1848 by the German immigrant families of Eberhart and Ober, but became the Pittsburgh Brewing Company in 1899 with several other small breweries.  The original buildings still stand, and include labyrinthine stone tunnels underground to chill, or lager beer (“Penn Brewery – Pennsylvania Brewing Co. – Est. 1986 Home History of Penn Brewery.”).  Like Teutonia Mannerchor, the Penn Brewery served as a center of the German immigrant population, providing a cultural center and continuing German brewing traditions.

1- “Teutonia Mannerchor History.” Teutonia Mannerchor in Pittsburgh Deutschtown PA. Teutonia Mannerchor, 2014. Web. 06 Apr. 2014.

2-“Choir Activities.” Teutonia Mnnerchor in Pittsburgh Deutschtown PA. Teutonia Mannerchor, 2014. Web. 06 Apr. 2014.

3- Wiggin, Sally. “History of the H. J. Heinz Company.” WTAE Pittsburgh. Hearst Stations, Inc., 14 Feb. 2013. Web. 06 Apr. 2014.

4- “Penn Brewery – Pennsylvania Brewing Co. – Est. 1986 Home History of Penn Brewery.” Penn Brewery – Pennsylvania Brewing Co. – Est. 1986 Home History of Penn Brewery. Penn Brewery, 2011. Web. 06 Apr. 2014.

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