The second Gewandhaus was built because concerts by the Gewandhaus Orchestra were enjoying an increase in popularity in the mid-19th century.
The Great Hall, which could accommodate 1,500 people, was highly praised for its architecture and acoustics. The chamber music hall had a capacity of about 500 seats. In 1892, a monument to Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy was unveiled in front of the second Gewandhaus. During the Second World War, the building was bombed during an air raid. It remained a ruin until 1968, when it was demolished.
In 1947, Walter Arnold created a new Mendelssohn monument, which is today only a few metres from its original location, on the so-called Mendelssohn-Ufer of the reconstructed Pleißemühlgraben. The five steps symbolise five staff lines, and the wooden cubes represent the first notes of Mendelssohn's E minor Violin Concerto.