Czech Cultural Garden

Dedicated in 1935, the Czech Cultural Garden tells the story of migrants from the central European region of Bohemia and Moravia through a sculptured frieze depicting the history of the migration of Czechs to the United States.

Landscape architects B. Ashburton Tripp and Maurice Cornell designed the Garden, which has a circular lawn centered on the frieze of Czech history. The frieze is flanked by an Eagle Pylon and a Lion Pylon. Atop the frieze and facing the lawn are busts of Bedrich Smetana, a composer (1824-1884); Dr. Miroslav Tyrs, an educator and organizer of Sokol gymnastic societies (1832-1884); Jan E. Purkyne, an anatomist and physiologist (1787-1869); and Bozena Nemcova, a writer (1820-1862). The garden also contains busts celebrating Frantisek Palacky, a historian and politician (1798-1876); Antonin Dvorak, a composer (1841-1904); the Reverend Jendrich Simon Baar, a priest and novelist (1869-1929); Karl Havlicek, a journalist (1821-1856); and Thomas Masaryk, the first president of Czechoslovakia (1850-1937). Most of these statues, as well as the frieze, were made by Frank L. Jirouch, a Cleveland-born sculptor of Czech descent.

On April 1, 1939, the President of Czechoslovakia planted two linden trees from Bohemia in the garden. In 1949, the Czech delegation added the Tyrs, Nemcova, and Purkyne busts, and in June 1962, Masaryk's statue was added. At the dedication ceremony, United States Senator Frank Lausche lauded the choice of Masaryk, giving the dedication political resonance in the broader context of the raging Cold War. Lausche stated, that "the love of liberty lives strong in the hearts of the Czechoslovakian people in America. ... Our government will not make any pact for the degradation of Czechoslovak liberty."

Czech immigrants first settled in the flats, later moving to neighborhoods at the edge of the city, such as "Little Bohemia" in the Broadway area from East 37th Street to Union Avenue, as well as the Broadway-Fleet and Clark-Fulton neighborhoods.



A Visitor from Out of Town
Paul Burik describes meeting a visitor from the Czech Republic while working at the Czech Cultural Garden. ~ Source: Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection
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"Peace Through Mutual Understanding"
Paul Burik discusses the theme of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens ~ Source: Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection
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Bedrich Smetana's Má Vlast: Vltava (The Moldau)
This is an excerpt from Czech composer Bedrich Smetana's Má Vlast: Vltava JB:112/2. Found at International Music Score Library Project
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Listening to Antonín Dvorák
This is an excerpt from Czech composer, Antonín Dvorák's The Wild Dove, Op, 110. Found at International Music Score Library Project
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The garden is located on the west side of East Blvd just south of Maury Ave.