Hugo Chotek Genealogy and History Translation Section Five
Pages 69 to 81
On that day Cleveland’s Czechs, in particular the members of Slovanská Lípa, celebrated with great fanfare the opening the beautiful new building on the corner of Croton Street and Case Ave.
All the local orders attended the event, including Detroit’s Slovanská Lípa, so that it could join the grandiose parade with its banner. The procession wound through a few streets, stopping at the new building, where the construction committee’s chairman, Fr. Sýkora, gave a short speech and handed the building’s keys to the order’s chairman, F. Chaloupka. Chaloupka accepted the key with a heart-warming and eloquent speech, rounded off with a call to action from its members. With that the congregation gave a loud “Na zdar!”.
Before the building was actually opened, the entire procession lined up for a photograph, which turned out to be less than favorable considering the extreme humidity that day.
After that, the gathering entered the hall to sit down in the prepared seating. A band played the Czech national anthem, a female choir conducted by Fr. Bláha sang a ceremonial song </ , after which F. B. Zdrůbek, the editor of Pokrok, gave some fine words and concluded: “Lípo Lípo drahá buď Čechů oslava!” (Our dear Lípo, let the Czech festivities begin!” </
After his speech was heartily received, the Lumír choir sang a ceremonial song, and the club’s chairman thanked all present once again for their participation and declared a recess until the evening when a glamorous ball and banquet organized by the Libuše choir was to take place.
A week later, the amateur actors of Slovanská Lípa performed Carinthia in Bohemia <elsewhere this is Carinthians in Bohemia?>to a packed audience. The evening’s atmosphere was, by all accounts, exquisite.
In the same year the number of the club’s members rose to 240. The hall itself ran up a tab exceeding twelve thousand dollars, half of which had already been paid off by the end of the year.
During the next year, 1872, some of the members expressed dissatisfaction with the new election of officials, which led to creation of two factions. Those who were dissatisfied called a special meeting, which the older party refused to attend, considering it illegitimate. Nonetheless, this meeting went ahead, holding a second vote and electing new officials so Slovanská Lípa now had two committees, both claiming legitimacy. The older party challenged the situation legally, trying to prevent the new committee from representing the order, and appealed to the constable from the confederate hall, guaranteed by Jan Kopfštein and K. Franke. <Not sure about meaning here>
This caused quite the rumpus during the next meeting, resulting in the immediate dismissal of the order’s originally elected chairman and deputy. The calmer members failed to dissuade the furious ones, even when, during the next meeting, it was announced that the expelled Jan Kopfštein intended to take legal action against the order for dismissing him without cause.
Even once the Slovanská Lípa order lost in the second legal battle and the more moderate party tried to attain peace, all efforts were futile. Some members were even threatened with the same fate as J. Kopfštein, the founder of the association. This led to a decline in activities, as members withdrew their funds, or politely left the group. This hastened the decline of a once beautiful association.
As many of the respected members of the older party were amateur actors, the Libuše club, which had made great sacrifices to the Slovanská Lípa order, also suffered at this time, losing its place in the rented hall, which forced those who stood faithfully with the Libuše club to move out. </ In 1873 many of the amateur actors who had been renting the same space followed suit. Josef Zborník took over the Slovanská Lípa hall , followed shortly thereafter by Václav Landa, who worked tirelessly to restore the order to its former glory. With the help of J. V. Čapek, the editor of Dišlík </? , Landa organized several successful plays, while the Slovanská Lípa order itself lent its unused land to the Sokol Club to build a gymnasium. But this excitement soon died when the creditors came after Sokol, extinguishing the last ray of hope for the Slovanská Lípa order. The final nail in the coffin came with the verdict that not only was Slovanská Lípa liable for all legal expenses in the battle against Jan Kopfstein, but it was to pay him damages as well.
The remaining members scrambled for a solution and were forced to sell their banner, paintings, office furniture, fine theater wardrobe and their library. The order was dissolved at the start of 1877, leaving its new hall in the hands of the creditors.
One small comfort at this time of upheaval was that this hall was purchased by an elderly and educated Czech by the name of Fr. Šícha, reducing the cultural loss.
Shortly after the Slovanská Lípa order’s original founding, Catholics began to ponder the possibility of starting their own club: one that would espouse their Catholic ideals.
The Svatojanský Order
One of the oldest Czech guilds is the Saint Jan Nepomucký Club, founded as a support organization on May 10 of 1863, with a total of 13 members. This membership grew with the influx of Czech immigrants to its present 175 strong membership, its expenditures until December 2, 1894 amounting to:
Support to brothers fallen ill $14,513.09
Burial costs $4,195.35
In spite of the fact that a recent legal dispute against some of its members cost the club a significant sum, the club survived and today enjoys a sound financial footing which it expects will continue into the future.
By the time the first Czechs began settling in the Cleveland area, the idea of organizing some form of Czech entertainment, was already being floated. This was organized on November 16 of 1863 by the Slovanská Lípa club </no order before > in the fire station on Perry Street.
Directed by J. V. Sýkora of Nevězic, the first Czech plays of The Czech volunteer and the French farmwife, The female recruiter in Kocourek and Widow Bobrovská <None of these play titles come up on google, might be that they’re not well known but worth googling the original Czech if you haven’t to see if there is a standard English name? The female recruiter in Kocourek sounds awkward> were presented, followed by a ball and evening of festivities.
Later two more plays were presented at this location: Man without a woman and The Lhota Estate.
The fourth play and concert, Aunty, was held in the National Hall, with Anna, Josef, Paulina Firstová, Mrs. Anna and Mr. Frant. Juengling participating in the concert.
At that time the acting ensemble was comprised of J. V. Sýkora, František Kozy, Josef Štědronský, Josef Hřebejk, Ant, Dýzner, Jos. Kramosil and Fr. Juengling, sl. </ Anna, Josef and Paulin First, Rosalia and Marie Hřebejková, Marie Mášek and Mrs. Anna Juengling, with Jan Buzek as the prompter.
Once the hall of Fr. Novák was completed other plays were presented there, such as Monika and Strakonický Dudák (The Strakonice Piper).
In 1867 Karel Čermák of Beroun took over directorship of the Slovanská Lípa amateur drama club <(? and directed Israelita and The Heist (Loupež) as well as some comedies. On his passing away in January of 1868 he was replaced by Vác. Rychlík of Kolín, who directed many plays, first in the hall of Vác. Havlíček, then Slovanská Lípa and finally in the hall of the Budivoj drama club, which the Slovanská Lípa amateur drama club <(? joined with and where it remained, with the exception of a few short breaks. Under his directorship the following plays were presented: Beggars (Žebráci), The Expatriots (Exulanti), Black Ghost (Černé duše), The Mayor (Primátor), Jan Výrava, The Old Town Square and Small Side (Staré město a malá strana) <This doesn’t read right… what does “small side” mean?>, Ivorutans in Bohemia (Ivorutané v Čechách) <Google has no hits for “Ivorutans” – is it someone’s name?>, Hussite Bride (Husitská nevěsta), Son of a Person (Syn člověka) <Sounds translated. “Someone’s Son”?>, Karel Havlíček Borovský, Marie Terezie, Emperoro Josef II. (Císař Josef II.), Intrigues and Love (Ouklady a láska), Paris Secrets (Tajnosti pařížské), Břetislav and Jitka, Faust the Second (Faust druhý), The Blind Bride (Slepá nevěsta), Krakonoš, The Poor Songwriter (Chudý písničkář), The Zlatodvorský Farmer (Sedlák zlatodvorský), The Poachers (Pytláci), The Cross by the Stream (Kříž u potoka), Galejn’s Slaves (Galejní otroci), Palič’s Daughter (Paličova dcera), Old Debts (Staré dluhy), Paris Secrets (Tajnosti pařížské) <This is listed twice>, Valdek Blaník, The Scamp (Dareba), Imp (Diblík), Old Crazies (Staří blázni), A Priest and a Soldier (Kněz a voják), The Abandoned Infant (Nalezenec), Katův’s Scoundrel (Katův pacholek) <If Katuv is a place name, then “The Scoundrel of Katuv” sounds better>, The Will (Závěť), Mrs. Marjánka, Mother of the Regiment (Paní Marjánka matka pluku), Výškovský Jew (Výškovský žid) <Is his name Vyskovsky? If so “The Jew Vyskovsky” is better>, The Polish Jew (Polský žid), The Nuisance (Protiva), Jos. Kajetán Tyl, The Eleventh Commandment (Jedenácté přikázání), Svatojánský Pigrimage (Svatojánská pouť), The Cursed Man (Proklatec), The Friar and his Parish Clerk (Pan farář a jeho kostelník), The 67ers (Sedmašedesátníci), The Last Taborite (Poslední Táborita), The Nihilists (Nihilisté), Each to his Own (Svůj ksvému), Offering in the Balkans (Žertva na Balkáně), The Innocent Convict (Nevinný odsouzenec), Black Mountain (Černá hora), Ševcov’s Daughter (Dcera ševcova<=The Shoemaker’s Daughter>), The Gypsy Lady (Cikánka), The Harvest Festival (Obžinky), The Wordly Noble Patriot (Šlechtic z národa a světák), The Prodigal Son (Marnotratný syn), Lužanský Rose (Růže Lužanská) <Again, if it’s a place name, “The Rose of Luzanska” is better>, The Villagers (Vesničané), Karlin Girl (Děvče z Karlina), Father Palacký (Otec Palacký), Krakonoš, The Bell at God’s Mother (Zvoník u matky boží) <Sounds translated. “The Bell of God’s Mother?” – or is God’s Mother a place name? In which case perhaps leave untranslated>, The Friar’s Cook (Farářova kuchařka) and others.
Most of these plays were organized for charitable purposes, although the first few plays required some purchases, such as the wardrobe, decorations and other details which posed somewhat of a problem for the management. These concerns were alleviated with the building of the Perun National Hall and Slovanská Lípa, although the club’s director still had to double up as the plays’ director as well, and even its decorator, showing worthy dedication on his part.
In 1873 J. Aubrecht of Abíroh u Žebráka took over directorship of the Slovanská Lípa drama club, and organized many plays both there, later in the Perun hall and later still with the old veterans in the hall of V. Rychlík. Some of his best plays include Hamlet and The Two Orphans (Dva Sirotci), which enjoyed great success.
Dr. Prošek directed the play Homeland (Vlast) in the Perun hall.
For a time during 1874 Jos. Línek of Smetanová Lhota directed the Slovanská Lípa drama club and directed the following plays: The Svojanovský Family (Rod Svojanovský), Carinthians in Bohemia (Korutané v Cechách), Břetislav Bezejmený, Lukrecia Borgio, The Downfall of the Přemyslovs (Záhuba rodu Přemyslovců), The Amazon of Bohemia (České Amazonky) and others.
At that time Dr. Habenicht directed the Perun hall with actors such as Narcis, Izák Lévy, Kupec Benátský and others. J. V. Čapek directed for a while at Slovanská Lípa while Diblík edited <edited? Not the right verb for theatre. Produced?>.
When the combined drama clubs performed Jaroslav Conquers the Tartars (Jaroslav vítěz nad Tatary) in Slovanská Lípa the proceeds went go to the Prostějov Math School.
In the Perun hall the drama club duo performed The Parisian Ragman (Hadrník Pařížský) in aid of those who had suffered from the fires in Chicago, and later Lipany to support the National Theater in Prague. J. V. Sýkora directed the following plays acted by the Perun drama club: Jan Hus, Jan Žižka, Magelona, The Burglars (Loupežníci), Jiřík’s Vision, (Jiříkovo vidění), The Forest Virgin (Lesní panna), Man of the Nation (Muž národa), Debora, Preciosa, The Amazon of Bohemia (České Amazonky) and The Three Suitors (Tří ženichové).
Later Jos. Hospodský directed some comedies there.
The Thalie and Luna drama clubs were directed for a number of years by Jos. Kůžel, performing in the Perun, Slovanská Lípa and V. Ryhlík halls and where the last of which they played, The Lady of the Camellias (Dáma s kameliemi).
Ladislav M. Čapek was also director for a while.
Antonín Šícha of Minkovic u Kralup and František Kysela of Heřmanova Městce directed the following special, charitable and very successful plays for English speaking audiences: Záviš of Falkenstein (Záviš < z Falkensteina) in aid of Czech free-thinking schools in Cleveland, Big Dream (Velký sen) in aid of Foundation <(Math ) School in Bohemia, and Damon and Pythias in the aid of local Czech cultural halls.
These performances are considered the greatest Czech theatre performed in the city.
The plays Damon and Pythias and Unjustly Sentenced (Nevinně odsouzen) were translated into English by František Kysela.
During the championship trials in Haltmort, Anotonín Šícha also directed a summer presentation of Othello, along with The Burglars (Loupežníci), The Two Orphans (Dva sirotci), Lukrecie Borgio, Angelo, Tyran Padovánský (Tyran Padovánský), Mrs. Minemistrová, and later Zvíkovský’s Imp (Zvíkovský rarášek). He directed Romeo and Juliet in the hall of V. Rychlík, along with The Stag Beetle of Dubé (Roháč z Dubé), City and Village (Město a vesnice), and Intrigues and Love(Ouklady < a láska) while on a school outing to Detroit.
Once the Mich. Albla hall had been built in the southern end of town, Václav Nevařil of Zásmuk became the director of its Kajetán Tyl drama club, followed by its owner Mr. Chvátal, then by A. Votýpek, and then by Fr. Fila following the former’s death.
In 1892 Václav Hončík directed the Budivoj drama club’s performances of A Round World (Kulatý svět), Pink Handcuffs (Růžová pouta) and Uncle Neklužev (Strýček Neklužev).
In the west end of the city Vác. Huml, Jaroslav Luňák, Jos. Lokajíček and J. Trejbal directed plays presented in the hall of Jan Bejček and Josef Pinter.
Dominik Janda and Fr. Kohoutek directed Mošna drama club’s plays in Holečkov’s hall. Janda also directed the Thalie club at Slovanská Lípa, where they played White Mountain Heirs (Dědicové bělohorští) and The Poor Songwriter (Chudý písničkář).
During the visit of Mr. Jos. Šmaha, director of the National Theater in Prague, two plays were presented for his benefit by the combined Cleveland drama clubs” Jan Hrobčkcký of Hrobčic in the Jacobs Cleveland Theater and Cikán (Cikán) in the hall of Vác. Rychlík. Both plays ran smoothly and pleased the beneficiary, although proceeds were not as strong as hoped for due to the hard times in general.
Under J. Dardy’s directorship the Drama Club Association, which held together for about a year, performed The Awakeners and The Exile, the proceeds from the last of which going towards the construction of the local National Hall.
A key figure worth mentioning is Vác. Malický, who has now dressed the actors for many years now with tireless dedication.
Czech Cleveland now has a total of thirteen theaters , which are as follows: the halls of Slovanská Lípa, Václav Rychlík, The Catholic Concord, Jan Bejček, Josef Pinter, F. Jindra, Mrs. Chvátalová, F. Wachalec, Fr. Leibliner, V. Holeček, Columbia Hall, Bohemia Hall and the older hall of Němec in which Czech plays are occasionally presented.
It can be said that Cleveland’s Czech drama clubs have taken on tough projects and delivered them with great success.
Next to the free-thinking Czech drama clubs in Cleveland the Catholics also hold their own, with the drama clubs of The Catholic Concord and The Reader’s Club deserving particular recognition.
Czech Music in Cleveland
In 1865 a Czech musical quartet comprised of Fr. Bláha, Fr. Moták, Vác. Vobořil and Fil. Geiger arrived in Cleveland and proved themselves among the best musical ensemble in the city at that time.
In 1867 the Rochs put together their own string orchestra which played around town for a few years.
But it was not until the after the arrival of Vác. Mudra in 1871 that the first Czech brass band was formed under his directorship, even though the musicians had performed there for some time, some as leaders of English speaking bands.
Following Václav Mudra other groups, such as Bratrů Zámečníků (The Locksmith Brothers) and later Fr. Drubý, formed bands which have since met with resounding success, both here in Cleveland and abroad.
We should also mention the orchestra of Fišer and Wiegenberger, the bands of Kovář, Hronek, Daček. Protek, Pivoňka, Y. Šolec, Malec and Ledvina, J. Kofroň, Kozák, J. Chaloupek, Y. Matušek, Jos. Rada. Jan Jírbek, Fr. Yondrušek and others, which show that the Czechs had more than their fair share of musical talent. As for older teachers, we have Fr. Bláha, Fr. Drábek, J. A. Roch, V. Mudra and M. Fišer, while the more modern included Ant. Machan as the only teacher of musical theory, J. Kos, Stěpan Erst, Alfred Wiescnberger, Fr. Hrubý, Josef Balaš and many others.
It is worth noting that many of our cultural and charitable events were accompanied by volunteer Czech musicians.
Club of Czech Settlers (Spolek Česká Osada)
In 1865 a club was founded at the residence </místnost > of Václav Žak with the aim of forming a Czech agricultural community out west, either in Dakota or Mississippi.
The association had branches in different states with a membership nearing 500, all with a similar amount of assets.
However, in 1866 the tables turned to settlements increasing on the Kavkaz, in which Karel Jonáš played a large commercial role, but since the actual move didn’t take place, the club fell apart and Jonáš left the proceeds with Slavie for charitable purposes. < I don’t understand this sentence. I had not heard of Kavkaz, but Wikipedia redirects to Caucasus, i.e. the area between Russia and Europe. >
The Perun Cultural Club (Narodní spolek Perun)
Soon after the founding of Slovanská Lípa plans were afoot to form a drama club under the name of Perun. This club began operations on February 25, 1866, but due to a misunderstanding an insurrection rose against Slovanská Lípa and Perun broke off as its own independent club.
In 1870 the Perun club obtained permission from the city to build an all-purpose hall for a school, gymnasium and theatre on land abutting Croton Street.
At that time enthusiasm for building the first Czech cultural hall in Cleveland was so great among the membership that everyone made all efforts to assist with its construction, whether providing finances or offering day and night dedication to the building, such that the hall was built within that very same year, its opening marked with great fanfare by the attendance of all the local Czech clubs.
At that time the number of its members also rose past 80.
Perun Club stood out as offering the following: a Czech school for which a special committee had been created, a physical education center directed by Sokol, the Thalie drama department and the Zvonař singing department. There were even discussions to set aside a reading room. All of these were set up under the strict supervision of the Perun club and made subject to its rules.
The passion of members hadn’t waned one bit, when a second Czech hall was built by Slovanská Lípa within a year.
The drama productions , the Sokol productions and others of the time were ranked among the best and often received favorable write ups in national magazines.
In 1872 the Perun club organized a grandiose and very successful celebration in honor of Jan Hus, the procession following through the city and ending in the Lied’s garden.
At the same time the land on which the hall stood, together with some of the immediate surroundings, was bought by the association from the city, setting a $100 share per member which led some members to quit and marked the beginning of Perun’s transformation from national association to business group. However the company failed to keep up repayments and lost all its property and assets in a court battle with the city in July of 1886, upon which the city converted the building into a fire station.
The Perun club deserved a better fate, having been founded in a noble spirit and worked in the support of Czech causes.
If any mistake occurred it was because of over-zealousness and enthusiasm, but the intentions were always good.
Most of the former Perun members shouldn’t feel ashamed of how things turned sour, after they supported the project so feverishly, full of fire and with all their abilities. After all, their hard work was without a thought for the profit, and their conscientiousness was for a good, beautiful and noble cause. That the outcome was other than they originally hoped for was only the result of unfavorable and unforeseeable circumstances.
The fall of Perun turned out to be a real setback indeed, because it hindered the flourishing of cultural life for several years, wearing down the hearts of most free-thinking Czechs as their hope waned in matters concerning progress and free thought.
Those who had contributed to the club’s downfall eventually realized the error in their ways and regretted their part for many years to come.
We can confidently say that without Perun’s demise the cultural life of the free-thinking Czech community would have been much more developed than it is today.
The Brotherhood (Spolek Bratrská Jednota)
The Brotherhood was formed in the western end of Cleveland in the hall of Václav Sprostý in 1869, for the purpose of supporting sick members. At that time it was formed of Czechs from all walks of life, regardless of their religious beliefs.
It did not take long for the new club to acquire a beautiful banner, round up some more members and accumulate enough funds to purchase land for the construction of its own hall </.. . But construction never began because the members eventually came to realize that their fellowship offered little advantage in the future, as the prospering federation of Czech orders was gaining a leading position. With this in mind, the members of The Brotherhood decided to divide up the club’s assets and dissolve the organization.
Slovanská Lípa Amateur Drama Club
later changed to Budivoj Amateur Drama Club
When the Perun <(Peruna, MK: „Perun” – Slavic pagan god of thunder > drama club had pulled away from Slovanská Lípa in 1867 the remaining members of Slovanská Lípa decided to set up a new drama club under the directorship of Karel Čermák. Following his death in February of 1861 this role was filled by V. Rychlík and the club continued successfully, accumulating an impressive wardrobe in a relatively short period of time, and purchasing new facilities by 1871. But this good progress was soon halted in 1873 by an inner revolt, restricting any performances on the new property, which forced the club to move the V. Rychlík’s hall in the same year. For some time a reading club shared these new facilities with them until, in 1874, the remaining members chose to officially rename their club “Budivoj”.
The newly formed club has gradually reached its former level of activity, put together a new wardrobe and replaced other necessities, until it can now boast assets that few other Czech drama clubs dare to.
Budivoj, Order No. 50 of Č.S.P.S., also grew from these humble beginnings.
Over time the Budivoj drama club produced charitable plays in the aid of the National Theater in Prague, the Foundation Schools in Bohemia, the Prostějov schools, those affected by flooding in Bohemia, for Montenegrins, towards the construction of the Jan Hus Memorial in Prague, for the local National Hall and for other charitable deeds.
There wasn’t a single Czech company the drama club would not be glad to help out, and no doubt this will continue to be so.
The only thing we can hope for is that the younger generation will now carry the flame and continue to put their hearts into this art form with all their might, so that Czech theater can continue to flourish throughout the ages.
Slovanstva Savings Bank
This esteemed organization was founded in 1867 at the residence of Fr. Novák. Once the Perun hall was built, the savings union moved into it, experiencing good success, increasing its financial reserves and expanding its membership. The future appeared rosy indeed, but with the fall of the Perun club the Slovanstva (Slavic) Savings Bank experienced the same fate. This highly promising union eventually dissolved in 1876.
The Lumír choir was founded in June of 1867 at the residence </v místnosti > of J. Junger and under the directorship of A. J. Roch.
Its founding members were as follows:
A. J. Roch, Václav Rychlík, Hynek Švarc, Vojt. Svoboda, Frant. Macourek, Jan Macourek, J. Strnad, Ant. Nový, Matěj Hošek and Ivan Bohutínský.
On July 4 of 1868 the Lumír choir made its first impressive public performance during the celebrations of Slovanská Lípa joining with the Taborites.
In 1869, with a membership of 16, the Lumír choir organized a large outing in the Lied’s garden to which all local Czech clubs were invited, the choir using the proceeds to furnish itself with a fine banner. Anna Vaňková willingly took it upon herself to sew all the gold and silver, and the splendid banner was finally revealed on May 1, 1871 in a celebration involving all the local Czechs in the hall of Fr. Novák.
In 1871 the choir organized an outing with a concert to Detroit, Mich., which was warmly welcomed by the local Czechs there. It was performed in the forest of Mr. Stejskal while directed by Fr. Bláha. With the good help of Detroit Czechs and good equipment the performance turned out to be a great success.
During the early years, the members would organize private social events, such as serenading at birthdays, name days or special celebrations of a member. Even in winter, no matter how far away they lived, they always managed to collect in full attendance to honour a member by singing outside his home.
Such a performance was always a welcomed surprise, after which the collective was invited inside to taste the liquid gold of the hops and let rip for the rest of the evening.
The Lumír choir would regularly practice every Wednesday, for several years, with every member longing for each gathering, missing out on practice only due to the most pressing matters.
At that time we were all in the same boat and felt the greatest camaraderie. Sometimes the Lumír choir would be without a choirmaster, or some of the stronger singers would move to another city, forcing the members to choose whether to give up or struggle on. But one way or another it would always turn out well.
In 1879 a female department of Lumír was created, which later became a mixed ensemble and celebrated its 25th anniversary jubilee in the hall of V. Rychlík in 1892.
Due to an unfortunate misunderstanding in the latter part of 1892, the choir members broke up into two camps, one remaining in the old location in the 17th ward, the other moving to the 24th ward. Štěpán Erst directed those who remained in the original location while Alfred Wiesenberg directed the new, mixed ensemble of Lumír.
Both choirs look forward to singing at every Czech event in Cleveland and have ample support from participating or contributing members. Let’s just hope that the rift dividing them will one day be closed so that they could sing as one large collective, just as they did in the old days.
Bell Founder Choir
The Bell Founder choir was formed in 1867 as a faction of the Perun choir, meeting in the hall of Fr. Novák. They moved to the Perun choir hall once that was built. In the beginning they focused on training youngsters and would cooperate with the Thalie drama club. Since the choir never performed on its own it eventually ended.
Free Community Club
The Free Community Club (Svobodná Obec) was formed in 1868 at the residence of František Novák, with 37 members to start.
In 1872 the club published a magazine named Voice of the Free-Thinking Federation (Hlas Jednoty Svobodomyslných) under the management of Professor Ladim Klácel. A year later the club organized a wonderful event in Perun’s hall, with their 42 dollars net profits dedicated to the professor.
The Free Community Club lasted until April 2, 1879, when it had changed its name to become the fifth order of Č.S.P.S. The club also adopted its new role of supporting members who fall ill or pass away.
The founding members of the Free Community Club were as follows:
Jan Veverka, Martin Polcar, Mat. Beneš, Vác. Beneš, Jan Polcar, Jos. Formánek, Jos. Prošek, Jos. Veverka, Jan Bejček, Karel Březina, Josef Habart, Jan Beneš, František Chaloupka, Anton Pik, Josef Žďára, A. Ouřada and Václav Landa. At the moment the order is not active but continues to exist in name.
Č.S.P.S. Order No. 10
This order was founded in 1880 at the residence of Jan Beznosk on Forest Street, from where it later moved to the hall of Slovanská Lípa. Back then it organized a great celebration of its new banner, to which it invited all Czech clubs, who either showed up in either full attendance or sent a stand-in representative. Once the ceremonies were over the dancing began and everyone had a great evening.
The order had promising beginnings but eventually found itself suffering financially, until it dissolved completely.
Some of our female Cleveland compatriots joked that they should found a friendly club where women could come to drown their domestic problems in a soothing cup of coffee, such a popular drink among women, and enjoy some carefree company.
The joke became a reality in 1869 when a small group of 25 Czechs, most of whom were fun-loving and humorous to begin with, gathered together.
The club gets together on birthdays, for special events of its members, or when an interesting Bohemian decides to grace our town with her presence.
The club has been run by Mrs. Fratinška Franke as its chairwoman, Františka Martinec as its vice-chairwoman, Marie Hájková as its secretary and Alžběta Miermilerová as its treasurer for many years, showing what excellent organization these four have been responsible for.
Since its founding the club has had the misfortune of three of its key members passing away. Their graves are always each adorned with flowers on the special days of adornment.
One interesting quality of this club is that its entire existence has been free of any of the discord or disagreement which may seem common among our better halves.
K.Č.L. Choir Number 1
The Circle of Czech People (Kruh Českého Lidu – K.Č.L.) Number 1 was formed in 1870 at the residence of Fr. Novák and later moved to the Perun hall once its construction had been completed.
Around that time, the club sent out agents in order to form similar choirs in other cities and managed to so in Detroit, its fifth such organization.
The founding of similar clubs in Allegheny City, Baltimore and others failed to yield the desired results, which is why only numbers 1 and 5 remained.
The club organized it first event in Cleveland in 1872, when a large number gathered in Lied’s garden.
Not only all the local Czech culture clubs were in attendance, but also all the members of K.Č.L. club no. 5 from Detroit, Mich., who were warmly housed among Cleveland’s Czechs.
What gains such a visit contributed to the K.Č.L. club may not be known, but the two clubs remained for many years until, alas, the Detroit club grew into Havlíček Order No. 6 of Č.S.P.S.
In spite of such promising beginnings through, the K.Č.L. Choir Number 1 lasted only until 1878, when its assets were divided among its remaining members.
Thalie Drama Club
This club was formed the same year as was Perun, in 1870, when the Perun hall was built to furnish a much desired pastime and provide the foundations of a close competition against Slovanská Lípa for years to come. The selfless dedication and enthusiasm of this ensemble had earned them a respectable reputation among the local population.
The Thalie drama club gradually compiled its own wardrobe, which it would use in the production the most difficult performances on stage. Since the Czech community in Cleveland was full of zeal for their cultural heritage, the club received much recognition and praise.
But times are constantly changing, and this praise and enthusiasm eventually faded, in spite of several attempts to stir up enthusiasm amongst apathy, until the club changed its name from Thalie to Luna.
The drama club continued to perform in the Perun hall for a few more years, then for a longer time at Slovanská Lípa, and even gave some superb performances after that in Rychlík’s hall, marking its last production for good.
Czechs of East Cleveland
The first Czechs began to populate this section of the city in around 1870, it is thought, when it was an independent community named East Cleveland Village.
The soil was not the most favorable as it was boggy and impossible to ride through after any decent amount of rain. Even so, more Czechs began to settle here because the land was cheap and enough work and earnings to go around.
Some of the first settlers were:
Josef Stehlík, František Tišler, František Kop, Jan Sojka, F. Procházka, František Horáček, Jan Beneš, Josef Řezníček, Jan Urbánek, Jos. Lupínek and others.
František Chaloupka was the first to try his luck at running a store. He was successful, popular among local compatriots, and his promising business combining a butcher shop with a pub proved truly worthy as time went by.
But events turned sour when both establishments burned down, and the financial crash of 1873 did not spare Chaloupka any more than it spared thousands of other companies. This was aggravated further by the fanatical agitations of the temperance movement, who were stirring up trouble with negative consequences for him. He held his ground but this only incited them further, until he found himself up in court against a ruthless lawyer, marking the beginning of his end.
His business declined while that of his competition increased, as other compatriots understood the wisdom of such varied trade, until he was finally forced to sell his holdings to Mr. F. Pajer. However, this led to the formation of the first Czech federation in East Cleveland, under the name of Přemysl, Order No. 18 of Č.S.P.S., in 1877.
On June 3 of the same year the order, with its 18 members, was wholeheartedly accepted into the federation. Fr. Pajer worked feverishly for the federation and was instrumental in helping the new order flourish. At present it has 83 members and boasts assets to the sum of $2,500.
A few months after this order’s founding the Ancient Foresters (Starobylých Lesníků) was established on the same Jan Hus court <court? Don’t understand>. This last organization has its roots in England and has also flourished successfully, its membership growing from 22 to 64 and its coffers now filled with $1,100 dollars in assets.
A year later Czech women entered the game by forming their own support group, and proved instrumental in the launch of Ladislav Choir No. 2 of J. Č. D., which became a part of this federation on August 4 of 1878. There were 26 female founding members, this membership growing to its present 62 with respectable assets. The Jan Kolár drama choir formed in 1885, has remained faithful to its task and now boasts a membership of 50.
In 1886 Pravdomil (Truthlover), Order No. 131 of Č.S.P.S. was formed with a membership of 26, this rising to the present 72 with coffers showing $1,500.
In 1889 the Jan Žižka Club No. 749 of the Equitable Aid Union was formed. Its membership currently stands at 55 and has assets amounting to $225.
In 1890 Lože Praha of R. an D. Cti <?> was formed, its membership presently at 74 with assets totalling $650.
In 1891 Cleveland Order No. 26 of Č.S.B.P.J., with a present membership of 48 with assets amounting to $650 was formed.
Finally came the teaching club of Karel Havlíček Borovský, followed by the Czech Social-Democrat Union.
This concludes the list of free-thinking societies.
Our Catholic brothers certainly didn’t remain idle either, founding a settlement in which it built St. Vojtěch church and a convent school of several grades. Its oldest club is St. Vojtěch, founded 15 years beforehand and now with 75 members. After that we have the St. Vít, St. Josef, Knights of St. Václav, St. Antonín and the Blue Collar Catholics clubs.
The women’s clubs were St. Alžbeta, St. Anna and Mother Marie, the St. Anežka Maiden Club and the Young Angel Club.