Archive for February, 2003

Waterfalls and Urban History

Sunday, February 2nd, 2003

Slavic Village residents have a new way to learn more about their community and the contributions of Polish immigrants to Cleveland.  The Mill Creek Falls Neighborhood History Center opened at 8404 Webb Terrace in October.  Visitors have come by to visit even during the coldest days of winter, but staff members are looking forward to the Center’s first spring and summer.  The History Center is located just steps away from the new Cleveland Metroparks overlook, from which one can see Cuyahoga County’s 48-foot waterfall.

Mill Creek Falls provided the power for the area’s first grist and saw mills, paving the way for the development of industry in the region.  With the help of Cleveland Metroparks and area businesses and residents, the Falls have become accessible to residents once again.  Joan Brilla generously donated her nearby home to be used for educational purposes and, with the organizational efforts led by Bobbi Reichtell of Slavic Village Development and the Slavic Village Historical Society, local residents, many with Polish backgrounds, planned the renovation of the home and the Center’s exhibits.

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A Sybirak in America

Saturday, February 1st, 2003

Because many witnesses to dramatic events of the past often fail to leave any written record behind, a scholar of Polish history is often hampered in his quest to uncover the truth. And so is a lay person simply eager to learn about Poland from a personalized account. Eugene Bak set out to remedy the problem. His Life’s Journey: Autobiography (Boulder, CO. and New York: East European Monographs and Columbia University Press, 2002) is a combination memoir, travelogue, history textbook, and a business school lesson.

Born in Polska Wola, near Podhajce, the Province of Tarnopol, in Poland’s Eastern Borderlands, Bak’s life was regulated by the daily chores of village life and, on a larger plane, by Catholic and partriotic holidays. (…) The nightmare began with the joint Nazi-Soviet invasion of Poland in September 1939.

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