On June 8th, 1857, German immigrants met in the garden of John Ruettinger's brewery located on Hackensack Street and formed a group with the aim to establish "physical education and learning for the youth of the village." They called the organization The Turnverein of Carlstadt.
The classes held were intermixed with physical education and particularly suited for the very young. These "youth classes" ultimately became what is now regarded as the first Kindergarten in the United States.
Recognizing the merits and success of Carlstadt's Kindergarten, the Social Turnverein of Carlstadt began a fundraising campaign for the purchase of property on the corner of Broad & Third Streets for the construction of a public school. The first school meeting was in held in November, 1864, and by October of 1865, the Turnverein was asked to lay the cornerstone for the school. Classes were held in September of the following year.
The Turnverein was also influential in establishing Carlstadt's first fire department. In July 1869, a meeting was held to donate one hundred dollars for the creation of a fire department, and on August 28th of that same year, Carlstadt had its first Hook & Ladder Company with 68 members.
Beginning in January 1883, the society was influential in incorporating formal physical education training into the public school system. These classes are thought to have instituted the formation of New Jersey's first gym classes.
Following this recognition, The Turnverein sent representatives to Trenton to discuss and formalize establishment and incorporation, and Carlstadt formally became a borough on June 28th, 1894. The Turnverein was granted tax exemption for their "overwhelming contribution" to the community.
In 1896, the Turnverein purchased the property for their current home on the corners of Broad & Monroe Streets, and the cornerstone for the building was laid on July 4th, 1900. Since that time, this location has been the home of the Carlstadt Active Turners and the Carlstadt Mixed Chorus, and has housed the heart and spirit of all that is great about their wonderful community.