Ukrainian Village

When you leave Cleveland for the suburbs, perhaps the last thing you expect to find is a slice of another country nestled along the streets. In 2009, the suburban municipality of Parma to the southwest of Cleveland officially recognized its long-standing settlement of Ukrainians, giving them a "village" of their own. The Ukrainian Village, located along a two-mile stretch of State Road, had been the vision of Ukrainian Americans since the 1940s. The rise of suburbs began to push them out of their original enclave in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood, setting the stage for the emergence of the vibrant community that is present today.

In the late nineteenth century, immigrants of all walks of life arrived in Cleveland because of many different factors. Ukrainians were escaping political and economic hardships by coming to the United States, looking for work in any shape they could find. Ordinarily, they took up various jobs in Cleveland’s thriving industrial plants and mills. These jobs helped them to save money to send back to their relatives in the “old country.” They ended up establishing cultural and religious centers that have changed over time yet still stand as strong symbols of Ukrainian pride.

Ukrainian settlement in Cleveland began in Tremont. The community began to put down roots in order to keep their memories and customs from home alive. The first of these Ukrainian institutions was the Saints Peter and Paul Ukrainian Church, built in 1910 on West 7th Street. Shortly after, St. Vladimir Church was also established in Tremont. The first few years of worship took place at Craftman’s Hall on West 14th Street. In 1933 the congregation's original church building was dedicated. It still stands on West 11th Street but it is now the Spanish Assembly of God Church. In 1967, the St. Vladimir Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Parma was opened for worship. Its shift from Tremont to Parma reflected the trend of people moving to the suburbs after an influx of immigration, pushed by the Holodomor (famine) of the 1930s, German occupation of the Ukraine during World War II, and displacement under Stalinist rule in the Cold War era.

Churches like St. Vladimir’s were the anchor of the Ukrainian community. Not only did they provide a sense of community in a new and strange country, they also kept the cultural of the old country alive. One of the many new organizations was the Ridna Shkola, a school teaching heritage, language, and customs to the youth of the community. Today, classes are held at St. Josaphat Cathedral on State Road.

Churches are not the only anchors of Ukrainian culture in the Ukrainian Village today. Many shops, such as Lviv International Foods and State Meats, offer a taste of the ethnic fare unique to many people. These places, among others, serve as the backbone of the Ukrainian community. In 2007, the board of trustees from St. Vladimir’s Church asked the city of Parma to hang decorative banners and to dub State Road the Ukrainian Village. First, however, much work had to be done, including landscaping, restoring storefronts, and placing banners and murals to signify the village’s presence. The vision came to life only a year and five months after work began. The Ukrainian Village was officially dedicated on September 19, 2009, and was celebrated with a festival, religious services, and a parade.

The lasting legacy of the Ukrainian immigrants can be viewed not only through the Ukrainian Village, but also in Tremont where some of the original settlements still stand. These institutions, regardless of their locations, stand for the progress of a people and the achievements they have made.

Images

Ukrainian Village Sign This sign was part of the campaign to create a strong sense of place in Parma's Ukrainian enclave along State Road. Creator: Tim on Flickr, www.flickr.com, CC BY 2.0 Date: June 4, 2009
Lourdes Museum Postcard Postcard from the Ukrainian Museum in Cleveland Source: Cleveland Memory, Cleveland State University Special Collections
Ukraine Holodomor Memorial at St. Vladimir Ukrainian Church This memorial, placed in 1993, is dedicated to the memory of the victims of the famine that occurred in 1933. Creator: Olivia Garl Date: 2015
Parade Progression in Traditional Costume, 1940 Parade Progression during the dedication of the Ukrainian Cultural Garden in 1940. Source: Cleveland Memory, Cleveland State University Special Collections
Sts. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Catholic Church, 1933 Sts. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Catholic Church was built in 1910 on West 7th Street. Source: Cleveland Memory, Cleveland State University Special Collections
St. Vladimir Ukrainian Orthodox Church, 1933 St. Vladimir Ukrainian Orthodox Church, shown here after its building was completed in 1933 on West 11th Street. The building is now the location of the Spanish Assembly of God. Source: Cleveland Memory, Cleveland State University Special Collections
St. Vladimir Ukrainian Church, 1974 St. Vladimir Ukrainian Orthodox Church undergoes a repair several years after its construction on State Road in Parma in 1967. Source: Cleveland Memory, Cleveland State University Special Collections.
St. Vladimir Ukrainian Church Entrance The 800-square-foot mosaic over the front doors of the cathedral depicts the baptism of Rus-Ukraine that happened in 988. The mosaic was placed in 1988. Creator: Olivia Garl Date: 2015
St. Josaphat Cathedral St. Josaphat Cathedral is a Byzantine (Ukrainian) rite church on State Road. Creator: Google
Mosaic, St. Josaphat’s Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral This mosaic is above the back door of the St. Josaphat’s Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral. The Ridna Shkola also gives lesson at this location. Creator: Olivia Garl Date: 2015
Ukrainian Shops on State Road State Meats and another Ukrainian shop that still offers Greater Cleveland area residents with the chance to taste local fare. Creator: Olivia Garl Date: 2015
Lviv International Foods A woman stops to smell the flowers outside Lviv International Foods on State Road. The shop is among a number of that cater to Ukrainian and other Eastern European customers, as well as to anyone who enjoys or is curious to try its products. Creator: Google

Location

Metadata

Olivia Garl, “Ukrainian Village,” Cleveland Historical, accessed June 25, 2022, https://clevelandhistorical.org/items/show/863.