The Polish National Home is an ethnic community support organization in Hartford, Connecticut. Its facilities are located at 60 Charter Oak Avenue, south of downtown Hartford, in an architecturally distinctive Art Deco building.
Current Status and Needs
For our semi-annual fundraising drive, the Polish National Home of Hartford humbly and gratefully seeks donations for:
1. major building repairs (most urgently a roof replacement)
2. debt repayment (most urgently back property taxes); and
3. other building repairs, and re-vitalizing our restaurant and cultural icon
Diminishing sales and memberships as well as an aging building and increasing debt have resulted in exceedingly difficult economic times over the past few years culminating with the COVID 19 pandemic causing the PNH to close its restaurant and discontinue all events on two separate occasions between March 2020 and June 2021. Those sixteen months with greatly reduced income, escalating debt and damage to the exterior of the building along with ongoing expenses were devastating. The restaurant re-opened for the weekends in July, 2021, staffed primarily by volunteers. Current income only scratches the surface of what is needed to pay our debt, make necessary repairs and re-vitalize our center. The Board of Directors has contracted with a new commercial real estate broker to try to sell the building (with the intention of remaining a tenant). We are committed to keeping our imprint on Polish culture alive in the State of CT. Our passion is fed by memories of past events that brought the Polish community together from far and wide for Polish food and beverages, concerts, banquets, karaoke, dances and numerous cultural and familial celebrations. With the help of our generous GoFundMe contributors, our restaurant will flourish, our scholarship and cultural programs will re-start and the CT Polish citizens will maintain a vibrant community for many years to come. WE NEED AND WOULD VERY MUCH APPRECIATE YOUR SUPPORT. If you are Polish or simply have an appreciation for Polish history, culture and food, please consider donating. Dziekuye.
Purpose of the Polish National Home of Hartford
Over 90 years ago, our founders chose to build our magnificent structure and organization for the following reasons:
To foster and promote the common welfare of the Polish American community in Hartford and vicinity;
To encourage the participation of the Polish American community in civic, patriotic and national celebrations;
To seek and encourage active participation by the youth of the Polish American community in social, civic, and patriotic activities, and to make available to them the facilities of the organization; and
To maintain a center for the use and benefit of the Polish American community and its various Polish benevolent, charitable, civic, cultural, religious and social organizations.
Polish immigrants began settling on Hartford southeast side as early as 1889, and the area soon developed as an ethnic enclave. The Roman Catholic Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius was established in 1902 as an early focus of the community. A number of social support organizations were also established to lend assistance to arriving immigrants and provide mutual assistance. In 1917, the Polish National Corporation was founded as an umbrella for these efforts. In 1918, after the church moved to a new building, it occupied the church's old building. This organization changed its name to the Polish National Home Corporation in 1927 and solicited plans from Polish-American architects for construction of a new home. The project was awarded to Henry Ludorf, and the present edifice was built with funds raised from the local Polish community. It was dedicated in 1930, and continues to serve as a focal point for local Polish cultural events. A small, rather inconspicuous plaque displays the high water mark of the Flood of 1936. In 1983 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Architecturally, the Home's building is a distinctive local example of Art Deco architecture. Its facades facing Charter Oak Avenue and Governor Street are finished in buff brick, with a central projecting entry section of ashlar concrete block. Eagle crests (the eagle being a symbol of Polish identity) are found above the entrance, and in panels above the windows in the projecting section. Stylized piers with Art Deco capitals separate the main windows on the Governor Street facade, and both facades have small octagonal windows placed at several levels. The octagonal pattern is repeated in the interior fixtures of the hall, which are also part of Ludorf's original design. The interior space is organized with a banquet hall, bar, and kitchen on the ground floor, and a large auditorium space on the second level.