An 1880s shooting gallery on St. Mark’s Place

Stmarksshootingclub1893kingsNo, not that kind—an actual shooting gallery.

It’s a remnant of Kleindeutschland, the “Little Germany” that encompassed the East Village from the 1840s through the early 1900s.

The shooting gallery was at 12 St. Mark’s Place, east of Third Avenue. A bas relief carved into the facade gives away the building’s original purpose: it depicts an eagle, crossed guns, and a symbolic target, with the words Einigkeit Macht Stark (“unity is strength”) carved above.

This was the home of the Deutsch-Amerikanische Schuetzen Gesellschaft, or German American Shooting Society.

Built in 1888, it housed a saloon, lodge rooms, bowling alley, and a small shooting range in the basement (club members did most of the actual shooting in Queens).


“By the 1880s, shooting became a middle class pastime, and most halls had moved to the suburbs along with many residents of Kleindeutschland,” states a Landmarks Preservation Committee report.

Stmarksshootingclub2013“However, the German-American Shooting Society Clubhouse remained an important link to the old neighborhood despite the migration.”

“It served as a headquarters for meetings of twenty-four such groups, and was the site of fund-raisers for the construction of rifle ranges and travel to Germany for international shooting contests.”

The Shooting Society owned it until 1920, and in subsequent decades, it served as a Ukrainian Culture Center and St. Mark’s Bookshop.

Today it’s a yoga studio . . . of course!

[Top photo: King’s Handbook of New York City, 1890s]

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6 Responses to “An 1880s shooting gallery on St. Mark’s Place”

  1. mykola (mick) dementiuk Says:

    St Marks Bookstore moved in directly from an earlier site across the street, which was two floors but you had to step outside to go from floor to floor, leaving your books either upstairs or downstairs. I’m sure that caused consternation among the staff, not to mention theft.

    St Marks is really spelled St MARX, a Germanic Saint from long ago, well known in the old German community.

  2. EV Grieve Etc.: Mourning Edition | NYC Real Estate News Says:

    […] When 12 St. Mark’s Place was the German-American Shooting Society Clubhouse (Ephemeral New York) […]

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  4. jjocd Says:

    I knew this building looked familiar! I go there every week for yoga. Great story🙂

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    […] Imagine the foreboding welcome they offered visitors who approached this basement doorway on St. Marks, more than a century ago the main drag of Kleindeutschland. […]

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    […] Europeans, charity workers, gangsters, bohemians, punk rockers, tourists, and college kids all […]

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