St. John Cantius Catholic Church

Description

Polish immigrants began settling in Tremont in the 1880s and 1890s, finding work in the booming steel mills nearby. They formed the last of three major Polish settlements in Cleveland, and the only one located on the west side. The area became known to Poles as Kantowo after the founding of St. John Cantius Catholic Church in Tremont in 1898. The parish's first services were held in an old streetcar barn at Professor Street and College Avenue.

In 1926, St. John Cantius dedicated its new church on Professor Street, which remains active today despite the suburbanization that spelled the end of Kantowo in the decades following World War II. Other landmarks of the Polish community in Tremont remain, like the Polish Library Home and the Polish Daily News building, but have long since closed. One can still enjoy a hearty Polish meal at Sokolowski's University Inn, however, even if freeway construction has isolated the nearly 80 year old restaurant from the rest of the neighborhood.

Audio Show

The Polish Library Home

Dr. John Grabowski, Krieger-Mueller Associate Professor in Applied History at Case Western Reserve University and Director of Research at The Western Reserve Historical Society, talks about the kinds of things that went on in the Polish Library Home.

"Kantowo"

Dr. John Grabowski, Krieger-Mueller Associate Professor in Applied History at Case Western Reserve University and Director of Research at The Western Reserve Historical Society, talks about the importance of St. John Cantius to Poles in the Tremont neighborhood.

Photos Show

St. John Cantius, 1978

Image courtesy of Cleveland State Library Special Collections

St. John Cantius School, 1958

Sister Mary Corrine, a second grade teacher at St. John Cantius School, hula hoops.

Image courtesy of Cleveland State Library Special Collections

Polish Daily News, 1937

Wiadomosci Codzienne - The Polish Daily News - was a Polish-language newspaper published in Cleveland between 1914 and 1966. Pictured are (from left) Zygmunt B. Dybowski, editor; Lucian Adamczak, assistant editor; and Paul Kurdziel, publisher and founder. The men are standing in front of the paper's headquarters at 1017 Fairfield Avenue in Tremont. This building remains standing today.

Image courtesy of Cleveland State Library Special Collections



Singing Society, 1927

Polish immigrants in Cleveland founded the Harmonia Chopin Singing Society in 1902. The society aimed to preserve traditional Polish culture and performed across the city for both Polish and non-Polish audiences.

Image courtesy of Cleveland State Library Special Collections

Polish Constitution Day, 1931

Polish-American schoolchildren march to Garfield Park to celebrate Polish Constitution Day on May 3, 1931.

Image courtesy of Cleveland State Library Special Collections

Sokolowski's

Sokolowski's University Inn - located at 1201 University Road in Tremont - is one of Cleveland's oldest restaurants. It opened in 1923 and has since served up hearty Polish and Eastern European cuisine to many generations of Clevelanders.

Polish Library Home, 2009

The Polish National Alliance, a fraternal insurance organization, opened meeting halls in each of Cleveland's three major Polish neighborhoods. In Tremont, the PNA ran the Polish Library Home, which contained a collection of Polish-language reading materials in addition to spaces for social, educational, and cultural gatherings. The PNA vacated the building in 1982, but it remains standing at 1108 Kenilworth Avenue.

Image courtesy of Cleveland State Library Special Collections

Subjects

Cite this Page

Michael Rotman, “St. John Cantius Catholic Church,” Cleveland Historical, accessed August 21, 2014, http:/​/​clevelandhistorical.​org/​items/​show/​101.​
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