Also, St. Joseph's on Hermitage is having an "end of Christmas" celebration on Sunday, January 27th after the 10:30 am Polish Mass. There will be Polish food and Polish entertainment. Mark, the gentleman who ran the 125th anniversary celebration, is coordinating this effort, as well.
Georgia, Goralka from Chicago
Joined: 12 Nov 2011 Replies: 11 Location: Central Florida
I saw that they had closed a while ago. It didn't sound as though it was under very good circumstances either. It is too bad, it sounded like a very popular place.
I have a change to make to my previous post for the BOY map. I am somewhat scatterbrained when it comes to getting myself organized and I made a mistake about my GU Joe's residence in 1930. He and his family lived on Paulina Street in 1920. In 1930 they lived at 4314 S. Hermitage Street. Then in 1940 they were living on Kildare Ave.
I also thought it would be good to mention his wife, Maryanna Wrobel. I haven't been able to find anything else about her though, other than her being born in Ostrowska, Poland.
They had five children, Joseph, Rose, John and Frank. Helen died at the age of seven in 1923.
Joined: 09 Nov 2013 Replies: 165 Location: Dundee, Michigan, USA
I've managed to get the available census records, along with most of the parish register records for marriages and births of my Polek and Wilkosz ancestors. They immigrated to Chicago around 1886-1890, and virtually all of them worked at the Union Stockyards, and lived in the Back of the Yards. In talking about her family, my grandmother (who was born in 1895 at 5131 S. Ada St) told me that "all the Polek men were butchers".
They included Anton, Szymon, Michael and Martin Polek. The husband of their sister was Paul Sulaski and he worked there too, along with an in-law named Walenty Wilkosz.
From their immigration around 1890 through the 1930's they lived, married, and raised their families in the BOY area, always living within a couple blocks of each other, and a couple blocks from work at the stockyards. While some seemed to move to a different house every decade, they all stayed in the same area.
Anton Polek started out at 4924 S. Laflin St, where he became a naturalized citizen. But by 1910 he had settled at 5045 South Hermitage Ave, where he would live for 30 years.
Szymon Polek and his wife Franceska Bejenka were at 1415 Bronson St. (1317 49th Place) till they moved to 4825 Wood St around 1900. That's where he lived when got shot accidentally and died. But that's another story
Walenty Wilkosz and his wife Veronica Bejenka (Franciska and Veronica were sisters) lived with his brother in law Szymon at 1415 Bronson St. (1317 49th Place) and also worked in the stockyards. Until 1895, when he died by being "crushed by a train". I guess it was pretty dangerous working at the stockyards.
Martin Polek lived with his immigrant mother Helen Polek until she died in 1930. They started out at 1536 Bronson (1436 49th Place) and then around 1905 moved to 5035 South Hermitage Ave where he remained through the 1940 census.
Michael Polek lived with his mother Helen and brother Martin until 1906, when he moved much farther north and away from the stockyards, but remained a butcher till he died.
Paul Sulaski and his wife Rose (Polek) started at 4935 Loomis St, but by 1910 were living at 5217 South Hermitage Ave, and then in 1920 at 4832 Honore Street. But by then he had given up working in the stockyards, and had become a "Milk Man".
One other, rather morbid, issue, is that the conditions those families had to live in were often terrible. Problems with fresh water, sanitation and disease were a constant concern. That's why, at least for my family that lived in "The Back of the Yards", one out of every four children born would die before their second or third birthday. Most would die in just a matter of a few months.
dnowicki PO Top Contributor
Joined: 28 Dec 2011 Replies: 1574 Location: Michigan City, Indiana
If you are interested in reading more about conditions in "The Back of the Yards" neighborhood a good study can be found in a book by Dominic A. Pacyga entitled "Polish Immigrants and Industrial Chicago: Workers on the South Side, 1880-1922". The first section of the book deals with "Back of the Yards'" and the second section covers the South Chicago neighborhood and the steel mills (which is the main reason I read the book since that is the area where my family settled). I recommend this book for anyone interested in the living and working conditions of Polish immigrants on Chicago's South Side in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Bill Rushin PO Top Contributor
Joined: 14 Dec 2009 Replies: 311 Location: Virginia Beach, Va.
If you live in the Chicago area, Tuesday Mar 3, 2015 Time 7:30 pm on WTTW public TV it will be showing the film - Fourth Partition.
At the dawn of the 20th century, Chicago was the second largest city in the United States, with more than 2,000,000 residents. It was also the center of Polish culture and political activism in America. With Poland partitioned between Russia, Austria, and Germany, more than four million Poles immigrated to the United States between 1870 and 1920 in search of a better life. In Chicago, they worked in some of the most dangerous factories and mills in the country; in their neighborhoods, they built communities, churches, and most of all, aided their beloved Poland in her fight for independence. Their story is known as “The Fourth Partition.”
Grew up very near the Back of the Yards (close enough to smell the Stockyards daily!) so I can ad my two-cents here.
I was recently given this same film as a gift, and had the opportunity to watch it just last week:
While the film is good as an overview, I imagine that the book mentioned by commenter, 'dnowicki' in the postings here, is a far-more detailed and extensive study of what the film just touched the highlights of. Dominic Pacyga (professor of history at Columbia College, the author of this book, is also one of the several people interviewed in the documentary) and is a very
prolific researcher/historian; I have heard it said of him that, "he knows the neighborhoods'. I am looking forward to
ordering this book of his from the library and reading it soon, in all its historical specifics.
One thing the film did mention which was surprising, in that Poles themselves gave this 'nickname' (title of the film) to
America as that "Fourth Partition"-- it was not just a descriptive term given by sociologists (that is how much value the Polish immigrant community placed on their new country--enough to refer to it as the fourth time Poland's boundaries changed-- to include America within that deep sense of 'Homeland')....
Btw, another commentator had mentioned about the closing of the Polish grocery store, Gilmart.
Sad to announce, that last Saturday (April 4th), one of the last large Polish stores in the same neighborhood closed its doors too--Bobak's (though they said their products would show up in various stores). This is pretty much the death knell for what used to be a strong Polish neighborhood (Archer Heights--west of Brighton Park and Back of the Yards). The times...they (surely!) are a-changin'.... _________________ We are a continuum. Just as we reach back to our ancestors for our fundamental values, so we, as guardians of that legacy, must reach ahead to our children and their children. And we do so with a sense of sacredness in that reaching.
I grew up at 4859 S Laflin St. There was a 4-flat with a tavern on the 1st floor, front. We, the Stabosz Family, consisting of Frank and Helen Stabosz, and their 7 Children, lived in a cottage behind the brick 4-flat. We belonged to the St. John of God Parish at 52nd and Throop Sts.
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