2011-06-10 / Letters

German American Arion Society

Dear Editor,

The German American Arion Society was founded by Rockaway Pioneer George Lambert in 1900.

Meetings were held at his hotel on the southeast corner of Beach 92 Street and the Boulevard for three years. In 1903, the organization built their own Arion Hall near the northeast corner of Beach 91 Street and the Boulevard.

The Arion Society had a men’s corps and a women’s corps, held parades in Prussian uniforms complete with their spiked helmets, and conducted a rifle target range on the Hammels-Holland bay front.

After three years, the Arion Hall was managed and owned by Dirk Schmidt, a Rockaway hotelman, and in 1909 the place was taken over by Charles A. Schilling of Seaside, who also ran a hotel, a roadhouse, and a dancing pavilion on Beach 102 Street and the Boulevard (today’s Irish Circle).

All went well until September 5, 1914 when the society published a letter to the general public in The Wave in both German and English. The letter expressed the hardship and turmoil heaped upon their brethren in Europe and appealed for aid.

Over the next few years anti- German sentiment stopped simmering and boiled over with the society withering away during World War I. Many German-American residents served in the war to end all wars!

The month of May 1919 saw the grand opening of the Rivoli Movie Theatre on the site of Arion Hall, which today is the Rockaway Beach Post Office.

Someone out there in Waveland must have information or historical notes and photos of the old Arion Society. How about spending some for publication in The Wave? Finis.

We ran the photo of the Rockaway Beach Hose Company some time ago. The firehouse shown was across the Boulevard from where The Wave building is now.

EMIL LUCEV

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