We are back with our continuing exclusive translations from the 1951 edition of the annual Czech-American journal, Amerikán Národní Kalendář!

Today we conclude our current biography for one Czech immigrant family, who established themselves in Detroit, Michigan.  You can learn how he helped fellow Czechs during the Great Depression right here too!

Amerikán Národní Kalendář

Year: 1951, Volume: LXXIII, Pages: 117-144

“Old Settlers’ Memories”

Translated from the original Czech by Dr. Mila Saskova-Pierce and Layne Pierce

©Onward To Our Past®

“Biography of Countryman Jan Podaný from Detroit, Michigan”

1951 Podany image

“The name of the ship was Marsala and it docked in New York on the 20th of May 1889 after I got off the ship and stepped onto a train, I arrived in Detroit on the 22nd of May.  After a short time I started to visit the Sokol hall and I became an active member of the gymnastic association Sokol Budivoj, which owned a gym on the corner of Antoine and Erskine Streets, where I was installed on the 3rd of November 1889.  I was an active member for 25 years and I lived through many beautiful social occasions in the Sokol movement, in which I have been up to date for 60 years and I still am marching proudly.  I am also a member of the Order Havlíček Czechoslovak Society of America (Č.S.A.).  On the 17th of June in the year 1893 I married Miss Ida Stinková and after 55 years of beautiful married life my wife left me for the place from which there is no return.  She died on the 25th of May 1948 and she is interred in the Mausoleum at Woodlawn Cemetery, where I too want to rest side by side with her.

The SS Marsala

The SS Marsala

In the year 1934 I also visited the World Exposition in Chicago on the Slavic Day and also together with my wife, the Sokol Congress in Chicago.  In 1939 together with my wife we saw the World’s Fair in New York and at the same time the Sokol competitions of the Eastern Branch.  My wife was born in Saginaw, Michigan and that is the reason why in 1937 we visited my birth country and we traveled throughout all of Czechoslovakia so that she would know its beauty.

Mr. Podaný in his humbleness did not refer to many interesting events that he did for his countrymen and so we are noting them here below.

For a period of 45 years he was employed at Detroit, Michigan Stove Company, and 37 years as a shop foreman in the division of steel plates.  As a good and truthful Czech he was quite helpful to his countrymen and there are many of those who during his employment there found their jobs.  The help of Mr. Podaný was especially welcome during the years of the Depression, namely in 1933 when there was no way to find work.  The stove maker that year had government orders for C.C.C. camps, and so Mr. Podaný as shop manager was taking Czechs for the jobs, so that at least during the time of the execution of the orders they had employment.  Many of the local countrymen’s families are grateful to him for helping them to survive the worst of the crisis.

Detroit Michigan Stove Company stove

Detroit Michigan Stove Company stove

Our old countryman is spiritually and physically healthy.  He is constantly coming to the Český Dům and he shows interest in our lives here in Detroit.  We wish him long years of beautiful life.

He lives at 5550 Lennox, Detroit, and has been a subscriber to the magazine Amerikán for many years.”


This concludes our story of this Czech immigrant and his family.  Fear not!  Tomorrow we begin another biography from this same edition of Amerikán Národní Kalendář!

Onward To Our Past®

A Genealogical Historian, who is focused on family history and genealogy of the highest quality, but with a dose of fun. Avid about documentation and evidence. Loves helping folks of all levels in their genealogy pursuits, especially in the areas of Bohemia, Czech Republic, Italy, Cornwall, Kent, United Kingdom, U.S. Immigration and Cleveland, Ohio.

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