Cleveland Czechs (Images of America)

Cleveland Czechs - Images of America
By John T. Sabo

You don't have to be of Czech descent to enjoy browsing the images in this book. If you are interested in Cleveland and its history you will enjoy this (and the companion Cleveland Slovaks (Images of America) )

As the book states, "Cleveland's Czech community is one of the area's oldest European ethnic groups, with a presence in the area even before the Civil War. It is almost a geographical accident that Czechs arrived in Cleveland, where they would have stopped on the way to Czech or Bohemian communities in Nebraska, Iowa, and Wisconsin. From 1850 to 1870, the Czech community grew from 3 families to 696, according to The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History.

Many found work making barrels for John D. Rockefeller's fledgling Standard Oil Company, while others found their way in professional life, including the arts. Their neighborhoods show their migration from Cleveland's central city to its outlying areas and suburbs including neighboring Geauga County. Today they continue to support three Czech halls and participate in the Czech gymnastic movement-Sokol."

The book has over 120 pages and most are packed with several black and white photographs. Some are of institutions that many will remember such as St Wenceslas Church on East 34th Street which closed in 1963. Or locations such as Zikov - the East 55th and Broadway area.

Both east side churches like St Adalbert and west side like St. Procop are remembered. Now known as Slavic Village, the area around Fleet Ave. was called Karlin after a suburb of Prague.

Organizations such as DTJ are covered and there is an entire section on Personalities and Leaders which includes a terrific photo of Mayor Ralph Perk at his 1971 inaugural party and more of the Perk family.

If you are a long time Cleveland resident, and of Eastern European ethnic descent, you will undoubtedly recognize people in the photos. It's a lot of fun to page through and it's an important reference for future generations.

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