Ukrainian Cultural Garden

Located along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, and opposite the Greek Garden, the Ukrainian Garden was inaugurated in 1940. The garden is composed of a series of brick and stone courts connected by paved walks. The South Court of this formal place is accessed by a stone and iron gateway with two bronze plaques and portrait reliefs sculpted by Frank L. Jirouch. The portraits represent Bohdan Khmelnytsky, leader of a revolt against the Poles in 1614 (1593-1657), and Mykhailo Serhiyovych Hrushevsky, an historian, teacher and author (1866-1934). There is also a statue of poet Larysa Petrivna Kosach-Kvitka (Lesya Ukrainka) in the garden, as well as three bronze busts that celebrate significant nationalist leaders in Ukraine history: poet and writer Ivan Franko (1856-1916); Grand Prince of Kyiv Volodymyr the Great (c. 956-1015); and Taras Hryhorovych Shevchenko, a poet, teacher and artist (1814-1861).

The three major busts were the work of Kyiv-born Alexander Archipenko who immigrated to the United States in the 1920s. Archipenko was a part of the cubist movement. His work departed from classical sculptural design, using negative space in creative ways. The busts disappeared from the garden In the 1970s, making many believe that they had been destroyed or stolen. It wasn't until the 1990s that the missing busts were found in a Cleveland municipal garage where they had been placed for safekeeping. Since then, fiberglass copies of the busts have been made for the Garden whereas the originals have found a new home in the Ukrainian Museum & Archives in Cleveland's Tremont neighborhood.

The first Ukrainians arrived in the Cleveland area in the mid-1880s and settled in the Tremont area. Early numbers are difficult to determine because they were counted as being part of the ethnic groups that at one time or another occupied what is now Ukraine. A hundred years later, in 1986, the Ukrainian community of Greater Cleveland was centered in Parma and numbered over 35,000. A strong Ukrainian presence remains in the Parma area in 2012. Cultural education is still a focal point of community life with 'Saturday Schools' (Ridna Shkola) teaching language, history, geography and culture. This schooling is accredited by the Parma Board of Education.

Large Ukrainian collections exist in the local and university libraries through the contributions of Ukrainian professors. The Ukrainian Museum & Archive, Inc., located on Kenilworth Avenue in Tremont, was organized in 1952. It has attracted scholars from all over the world. Other organizations have been dedicated to preserving Ukrainian culture through summer camps, dance ensembles, choirs, percussion bands, mandolin ensembles, private orchestras, soccer teams, and skiing clubs.

Images

Garden Dedication, 1940 Speakers at the dedication of the Ukrainian Cultural Garden in 1940 included (seated in the front row, left to right) Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Carl Weygandt; Dr. Miroslav Siemens of Chicago; Archbishop John Theodorovich of Philadelphia; Prof. Clarence A. Manning of Columbia University; and Dmytro Halychyn of New York City, the Supreme Secretary of the Ukrainian National Association. Image courtesy of Cleveland State Library Special Collections
Postcard A postcard shows an aerial view of the Ukrainian Cultural Garden Image courtesy of Cleveland State Library Special Collections
Parade, 1939 Women and youngsters wearing native dress march to the Ukrainian Cultural Garden in 1939. Image courtesy of Cleveland State Library Special Collections
Scene at Ukrainian Garden, 1940 A man and woman sit in the Ukrainian Cultural Garden Image courtesy of Cleveland State Library Special Collections
Crowd at Garden Dedication, 1940 Image courtesy of Cleveland State Library Special Collections
Lesya Ukrainka Unveiling, 1961 The caption for this 1961 photograph reads: "Lesya Ukrainka, Ukraine's greatest poet, now has a statue in the Ukrainian Cultural Garden. The statue was unveiled yesterday afternoon before more than 1000 Americans of Ukrainian descent. Mrs. Frank Mural, 1303 Rockside Ave., Parma, and Mrs. Helen Lototsky of Philadelphia, national president of the Ukrainian Women's' League, are shown unveiling the monument. In front of the statue is Izydora Borisowa of New York, sister of the late poet." Image courtesy of Cleveland State Library Special Collections

Location

1008 Martin Luther King Jr Dr, Cleveland, OH 44108 | West side of Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. just south of the crosswalk at Parkgate Dr., between Latvian and African American Gardens. Nearest parking is one block east on East Boulevard and Parkgate.

Metadata

“Ukrainian Cultural Garden,” Cleveland Historical, accessed August 18, 2022, https://clevelandhistorical.org/items/show/139.