Polish Cultural Garden
The Polish Cultural Garden, completed in 1935 and dedicated in 1934, is located on the Upper Boulevard at St. Clair Avenue. A hexagonal sunken court encircled by granite walls, the Polish Garden contains colorful flower-beds, privet and evergreen, and many shrubs and trees imported from Poland, including a tree from Chopin's Polish estate. Graceful walks lead to the upper level, and a handsome stairway at the back of the Polish Garden leads to the lower level of the garden chain. An octagonal fountain is the central feature.
The site of the Polish Garden was dedicated on October 28, 1934, with the setting out of an elm tree from Poland. County Judge Frank A. Piekarski of Pittsburgh was principal speaker. " Long before America was discovered," he said in part, " Poland had universities and was leading in world education. Long before England's Magna Charta was forced on the king, Poland had freedom of religion and freedom of speech. The purpose of this garden is better to acquaint not only the American people, but others, with the quality of Polish culture."
Park Director August J. Kurdziel extended the greetings of the city administration, and paid tribute to the genius of Chopin, later to be honored in this garden, as " thoroughly Polish and yet international, and thus for Polish art a perfect ambassador to the rest of the world." Music was by the Harmonia Chopin Singing Society and the Ohio Circle of Polish Singers. Other speakers were Charles J. Wolfram, at that time president of the Cultural Garden Federation, Dr. I. M. Jarzynski, former president of the League of Polish Organizations, and Mrs. Mary Mondzelewski, chairman of the League's garden committee. Councilman E. P. Lewandowski was master of ceremonies.
Five busts of immortal Poles, mounted upon marble pedestals, are placed in the outer circle of the garden. A bronze bust of Ignace Jan Paderewski (1860-1941), world renowned pianist, patriot, statesman, and former Premier of Poland, occupies a place of honor. The bust was donated in 1947 by the Polish Army Veterans Association, Post No. 6. It was cast and sculptured by Amos Mazzolini, Antioch College professor.
A bust of Frederic Chopin (1810-1849), Polish composer and pianist of world renown, the centennial of whose death was recently commemorated throughout the world, was modeled by Charles Dienes, Cleveland artist, and was the gift in 1947 of Harmonia Chopin Singing Society.
The Paderewski and Chopin busts were jointly dedicated on June 22, 1947. The program was sponsored by the Polish Army Veterans Association, Post
No. 6, and the Harmonia Chopin Singing Society. Biographies of Paderewski and Chopin were given by Francis X. Swietlik of Chicago, Chairman of the Polish Relief committee of the United States and dean of Marquette University Law School. The busts were accepted by Mayor Thomas A. Burke and Charles J. Wolfram. Mayor Burke hailed the world greatness of the two Polish artists. Felix Matia, chairman of the Board of Elections, also spoke. Z. P. Zakrzewski, commander of the Polish Army Veterans Association, opened the program. Stanley Olsztyn, head of the singing society, presided. The two busts were unveiled by the little Misses Joan Kupniewski and Barbara Zakrzewski, aged seven and nine respectively.
The bronze bust of Maria Sklodowska Curie (1867-1934), the world's outstanding woman scientist, pioneer in research with radio-active substances, co-discoverer of radium and polonium, and Nobel Prize winner in physics in 1903 and chemistry in 1911�was donated in 1949 by the American Polish Women's Club. The Curie bust is the work of Frank L. Jirouch, and was dedicated on June 5, 1949. Mayor Thomas A. Burke, in accepting it for the city, cited Cleveland as an example to the world that various racial groups can live in peace and friendship. Mrs. Leo Orlikowski gave the address of welcome. Mrs. Thomas Curlanis sang the Star Spangled Banner. The bust was unveiled by Mrs. Felicia Kwiatkowski, chairman of the Curie fund. Mrs. Marie Rosinski made the formal speech of presentation. Dr. Chester R. Lulenski, reviewed Madame Curie's life, and paid tribute to her as a good mother as well as a great scientist.
Also honored here in Henryk Sienkiewicz (1846-1916), Nobel Prize winner for literature in 1905, dramatist and author of world-wide reputation, writer of numerous historical novels, including Quo Vadis, The Knights of the Cross, and The Trilogy. The bronze bust of Sienkiewicz was given in 1947 by the Polish National Alliance and was unveiled on July 3, 1949. Dr. Arthur Coleman, president of Alliance College, Cambridge Springs, Pennsylvania, principal speaker at the dedication ceremony, emphasized Sienkiewicz's world message of the triumph of Christianity over paganism, as vividly pictured in his novel, Quo Vadis. Governor Frank J. Lausche also paid tribute to Sienkiewicz's wisdom in pointing out a path for the world to follow, and Mayor Thomas A. Burke, in accepting the bust for the city, expressed deep gratitude for the great contributions of the Polish people to America. The bust was unveiled by P. Kozlowski of Chicago, vice-president of the Polish National Alliance.
In 1952 the bust of the noted Polish poetess, Maria Konopnicka, was unveiled and dedicated. This was the gift of the Polish Ladies Educational Circle.
On September 13, 1953, a solid bronze fountain with allegorical figures representing music, literature, science, and astronomy, an ornamental upper border of jumping fish, and small carved turtles at the base, the work of Scluptor???Amos Mazzolini, was dedicated as a tribute to Polish arts in the flower-bordered rotunda of the Polish Garden, by a colorful procession of donors, members of St. Casimir's Parish, and boy and girl scouts, dancers, choral groups, and bands. After the flag-raising by the color guard, the singing of the National Anthem by all present, address of welcome and presentation by Mrs. Marie Rosinski and Mrs. Victoria Tomkalski, and Mr. Z. P. Zakrzewski, program chairman and president of the Alliance of Poles of America, Monsignor A. A. Radecki, pastor of St. Casimir's, invoked a blessing and thanked God for the beauty of the garden. The fountain was unveiled by Mary Ann Galowitz and Andrea Radzyminski, girls from Circuit No. 89 of the Polish National Alliance. Leo Weidenthal, pres-
ident of the Cultural Garden League, then accepted the fountain as a valued addition to the Cultural Gardens, which he described as the future heart of the City of Cleveland. Greetings of Mayor Thomas A. Burke were extended by Chief City Prosecutor Bernard J. Conway. Folk dances entitled Flirtation and Carousel were then presented by a large group of girls from Circuit No. 89 of the Polish National Alliance, accompanied by Robert Supinski, accordion player. Polish songs, This Is My Country, and Spring, were sung by the combined male and ladies' Moniuszko choruses. Common Pleas Judge Felix T. Matia delivered the principal address, in which he thanked the donors of the Polish Garden for the spirit which makes our country greater. A letter of Congratulation was read by Mrs. Victoria Tomkalski from Governor Frank J. Lausche. Mrs. Tomkalski also delivered the closing address.
The Polish Garden represents the efforts of the Polish-American groups organized in 1928. The Broadway-Southeast group consists of Judge Joseph F. Sawicki (also vice-president of the Cultural Garden Federation), Mrs. Walter Modzelewski, Mrs. Felicia Kwiatkowski, Zygmunt Dybowski, Mrs. John Chojnacki, Mrs. Leo Orlikowski, E. P. Lewandowski, and Mrs. Joseph F. Sawicki.
Eastside group, organized by the community located between Superior and St. Clair Avenues, west of Ansel Road, is composed of the Right Reverend Monsignor A. A. Radecki, Judge Felix T. Matia, Z. P. Zakrzewski, Mrs. Marie Rosinski, Mrs. John S. Skowronski, %Mrs. John Karpinski, and Mrs. M. Zabkowski. Required funds were raised by appeals at group meetings, card parties, and the generous contributions of organizations and individuals, including penny donation of children from Catholic Polish Schools.
For centuries, Poland was the buffer state that protected the culture, the religion and the very existence of many peoples of Europe against Asiatic aggression.
Her kings, statesmen and educators played an important part in the cultural and political life of Europe.
The first Polish settlers came to this country in 1608 with Captain Smith and became members of the Virginia Company. There are now in this country about seven million Polish descendants.
Cleveland has about 150,000 residents of Polish ancestry. Some have resided here since about 1840. Dr. Mary E. Zakrzewski, of Cleveland, in 1856, was the first woman physician admitted to the practice of medicine in America.
The Polonaise Arts Club of Cleveland, has established a scholarship at the Cleveland Institute of Art, open to the most deserving student, regardless of color, religion or racial origin.
Richard Anuiszkiewicz, Polonaise Arts Club member, was recently awarded the Pulitzer Prize in painting. There are twenty-five artists of Polish descent who participate yearly in the May show at the Museum of Art and in the Polonaise Club annual exhibitions.
Judge Joseph F. Sawicki, in an address on the Polish Garden in November 1953, said: " The Cleveland Cultural Gardens, together with the Polish Garden are symbolic of hope, that the day may dawn when jealousy, suspicion, hatred, and strife may forever cease and be supplanted by universal peace and friendship among all the peoples of the world. They are the expression of the hope, that the culture of nations may never be ruthlessly destroyed, but instead, reverently preserved as a sacred heritage for all posterity."