on the Niagara Frontier
Folk Festival at
Artpark 1978 c. NFFA/Fish
||The Polish influence
in Western New York can be traced back to Pieter Stadnitski, one of
the partners of the Holland Land Office Company; the Dutch company
which purchased and brought settlers to the area in the early 19th
century. More specifically, Polish settlers of Jewish heritage began
arriving in the area before 1860, while Catholic Poles began arriving
in large numbers soon after. Between 1873 and 1922, Polish Americans
established 34 church parishes in Greater Buffalo and Western New
By 1940, there were 76,465 Western New Yorkers of Polish ancestry,
and in the 1990's a great number of people from this area claim to
be of some Polish descent. Many of them still live in the areas of
the city that their grandparents and parents first settled: Broadway-Filmore,
Clinton-Bailey, Black Rock and Riverside as well as Cheektowaga, Depew
Polish Community of Buffalo and the Pan-American Exposition-
a web site prepared for the 100th Anniversary of the Pan-American
|| The Matthew Urban Community Center
( Formerly The Polish Community Center), 1081 Broadway, Buffalo,
NY 14214 (716) 893-7222 is housed in "Dom Polski," or the
Polish Home. The Home was organized in 1905 to assist Polish immigrants
in adapting to their new country. The PCC currently houses the J.C.
Mazur Gallery and offers occasional film series and literary readings,
all open to the public. The PCC functions as a community-based human
services center in a neighborhood that was once predominantly Polish.
Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Serviceman's Park, 1 Naval Park
Cove, Buffalo, NY (716) 847-1773. There is a "Polish Room"
located on board the Cruiser Little Rock. The exhibit was created
by and features the story of Polish-American veterans in World War
II. It also includes displays depicting the Polish Home Army.
Pulaski Monument, S. Division and Main,
(adjacent to the Ellicott Square Building)
This statue of General Kazimierz Pulaski was presented to the city
by the people of Poland in 1976 as a gift during the bicentennial
of the USA.
The Chopin Monument, Symphony Circle, Richmond
and Porter, Buffalo, NY
This monument was created by artist Jozef Mazur in the 1920's. It
was originally located in front of the Buffalo Museum of Science
but now stands before Kleinhan's Music Hall.
Bridge at Black Rock (over the Niagara
Sir Casimir Gzowski built the first international suspension bridge
over the Niagara River
Importance of the Polish Churches in Buffalo History
St. Stanislaus RC Church,
123 Townsend St., Buffalo, NY 14212 (716) 854-5511 http://www.pgsnys.org/Churches/ststansbm.html.
Founded 1873 by Fr.
John Pitass, it is the oldest Polish-American Catholic Church
in Western New York. As the mother church of Polonia, it is
where historical events are commemorated and where ecclesiastical
and secular dignitaries meet. Church was decorated by Jozef Mazur.
Sunday Masses in Polish language, 8 AM & 12 PM (radio mass).
The "Polska Czytelnia," the oldest Polish library
in the USA, was established in 1889. This collection of over 8,000
Polish books and journals is located in the parish school.
Assumption RC Church,
435 Amherst St., Buffalo,
NY 14207 (716) 875-7626 http://www2.pcom.net/assumprc/index.html
Founded in 1888, the
Romanesque style church seats 1,600 people. The Church hosts an
annual Polish Carnival in the Spring, which includes films, concerts,
a gourmet dinner, and a carnival dance. The sanctuary is decorated
with sgrafitto images portraying important events in the life of
the Virgin Mary done by artist Joseph Slawinski.
St. Adalbert's Basilica.
St., Buffalo, NY 14212 (716) 894-8366 http://www.pgsnys.org/Churches/stadalbert.html
. Founded 1886 it
is the home parish of artist Jozef Mazur. Polish Language Mass Sunday
St. John Kanty RC Church.
101 Swinburne, Buffalo,
NY 14212 (716) 893-0412
. Founded 1890;
Holds Dozynki (Harvest Festival) and Christmas concerts.
Polish Language Mass Sunday 7:30 AM.
RC Church. 160 Cable St. & Casimir, Buffalo, NY 14206 (716)
was founded 1890;
excellent example of Byzantine architecture.
Clark St., Buffalo, NY 14212 (716) 896-1050 http://www.pgsnys.org/Churches/corpuscristi.html
for a look at
the archivtecture. Founded 1899; First home of the Polish Franciscan
Fathers (O.F.M. Conventuals) established by Rev. Jacek Fudzinski.
The parish holds a Dozynki (Harvest Festival) in August.
Polish language Mass Sunday 7:30 AM & 10:30 AM.
Holy Trinity RC Church.
1421 Falls St. Niagara Falls NY 14303 (716) 284-6628. Polish language
Mass 11 AM Sunday. Summer festival
Our Lady of Czestochowa
RC Church. Oliver and Center St. North Tonawanda NY 14120.
Polish language Mass Sunday 8 AM.
St. Francis Conventual
St. Francis Dr., Athol Springs, NY (716) 627-2710
Houses two chapels
decorated with sgraffito murals of Polish and Polish-American history
by Slawinski and De Rosen, who also did a giant mosaic at the National
Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC. The Father
Justin Rosary Hour heard across the US and Canada is produced here.
of the Rosary Polish National Cathedral,
6298 Broadway, Lancaster
NY 14086 (716-683-7527/685-5767) http://www.pgsnys.org/Churches/holymotherpncc.html.This
church replaced the original Cathedral located at Sobieski and Sycamore
where it served the people for 99 years. It is a contemporary structure
that evokes the wooden churches of the Goral region. It has incorporated
many of the original windows, statues and other furnishings blended
with new carvings and images
American Festival and Pulaski Parade
Town Park, Harlem Rd. Cheektowaga NY
Festival usually takes place the third weekend in August with food,
traditional crafts, workshops & entertainment.
Call the Cheektowaga Town Hall for more information: 716-684-0120.
999 Broadway, Buffalo,
NY 14212 (716) 656-5788 (See also Places to Shop)
Gadawski's Restaurant, 1445
Falls Street, Niagara Falls NY 14303 (716) 282-7246
Polish Villa, 2954
Union Rd., Cheektowaga, NY 14227 (716) 683-9460
Polish Villa II,
1085 Harlem Rd., Cheektowaga, NY 14227 (716) 822-4908
The Polish Nook,
2242 Cudaback Avenue, Niagara Falls, NY 14303 (716) 282-6712
Travel, 5421 Transit Road, Depew NY 14053
A Polish-American travel
agency that sells Polish books and gifts. Also houses the studio of
Polonia Varieties, WHLD.
Ruda's Polkas & Polish
William St., Cheektowaga, NY 14206 (716) 892-1401
Sells selection of
Polka and other Polish-American ethnic music and Polish folk art
crafts. Source for information about polka happenings in the local
Buffalo, NY 14212, (716) 893-0705. A special place to visit especially
in the two weeks before Easter. Temporary stands sell traditional
eggs (pisanki), pussy willows and crafts. Polish specialty
shops at the Market include:
M Bakery - Polish style baked goods from Canada
Anna's - Polish sausages and cheese, meats imported from
- braided breads and rolls
Imports - specializes in Polish herbs & spices, teas,
canned herring, pierogi, cheese, and Polish chocolate
Poultry - the only homemade butter lambs at the Market at
Easter time, homemade pierogi.
Lamb Cakes at the Broadway Market
at Easter c.NFFA/Fish
MUSEUMS and SCHOOLS
Library & Dramatic Circle,612
Fillmore Ave., Buffalo, NY 14212 (716) 847-0839
The Dramatic Circle
was organized and began producing amateur theatricals in 1895. The
library contains over 4,000 volumes and over 400 handwritten scripts
for Polish plays. The building serves as a social center as well.
The Polish Room
Lockwood Library, SUNY Buffalo,
North Campus, Amherst,
NY 14260 (716) 636-2815. The Polish Collection was begun in 1955.
Current holdings include books, periodicals, newspapers, films and
artifacts covering the numerous contributions of the Poles in the
humanities, science and US history. Over 9,000 volumes, over 30
video recordings and a small collection of rare books and documents.
Academic Information Center, SUNY Buffalo, North Campus,
Amherst NY opened in April 1997. Developed by Piotr Pienkowski,
a professor at the Jagellonian University in Krakow, it is a unique
inter-university agency of the Jagellonian University and SUNY Buffalo.
It will serve as an information clearing house for those interested
in pursuing studies related to Poland, its culture and language.
More information can be gotten from its web site at http://wings.buffalo.edu
Fronczak Room, Butler Library,
Buffalo State College,
1300 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo, NY (716) 878-6208.
The collection was
donated to Buffalo State College by the Fronczak Family. The bulk
of materials documents Francis Fronczak whose extensive career included
national work with the Polish relief efforts in W.W.I & II,
and his 35-year tenure as Commissioner of Health in Erie County.
Villa Maria College,
240 Pine Ridge Rd.,
Buffalo, NY 14225 (716) 896-0700. A special collection in the college
library contains 3,000 volumes in the Polish language, with a focus
on literary and historical subjects relating to Poland.
Franciscan Sisters of
St. Joseph, South
Park Ave., Hamburg, NY 14075 (716) 649-1205.
The Sisters maintain
a Polish Resource Center, which houses books, journals, records,
audio cassettes, play books, and memorabilia relating to Polish
heritage. Most of these are in the Polish language. The focus is
on religion, history, literature, theology and philosophy.
Felician Sisters Archives,
Immaculate Heart of Mary Province,
600 Doat St.,
Cheektowaga, NY 14211 (716) 892-4141. Collection based on the Felician
community and its ministries (schools, parishes) in New York, New
England, and the Mid-Atlantic States. Four Sisters were editors
of the Polish language magazine, Ave Maria. (1924-1984).
A Heritage Room of artifacts and documents related to the religious
order is open to the public is located in the Provincial Convent
Buffalo & Erie County
Public Library, Central Branch Lafayette Sq., Buffalo NY 14203
Local Polish Church
records on microfilm, ca. 1874-1982. Also on microfilm are copies
of the Polish newspaper, Dziennik dla Wszystkich, (Everybody's
Buffalo & Erie County
Public Library, Fronczak Branch,
1080 Broadway, Buffalo,
NY 14212 (716) 892-3941. Collection includes books on Polish Americans
in Buffalo; vertical files with materials on local Polish community;
scrapbooks; and back issues of the newspapers, Am-Pol Eagle
and Polish American Journal.
Msgr Peter Adamski, P.A.
Polish Saturday School
-- For information see
The oldest and most popular radio show is on WHLD (1270 AM) (M, Th,
Fri.) "Polonia Varieties" in Polish was a daily program up to 1995.
Several local Polka shows are: Ron Dombrowski from 5-7 daily on
WHLD (1270 AM) and "Saturday Polka Party" hosted by Jeff
Pieczynski on WHLD(1270 AM) Saturdays 10-12:30.
The Father Justin Rosary Hour is the oldest Polish language
radio program of a religious nature in the US. Founded at Corpus
Christi Parish by Father Justin Figas in 1931, it is still transmitted
across the US and Canada on WHTT (104 AM) and WHLD. (http://www.rosaryhour.net/)
Polish American programming can also be found on WHTT, Saturday
& Sunday, WHLD, and WWKB (1570 AM).
The Sunday Polish-American Program on WHTT by Stan
Jasinski. Broadcasts the Sunday Mass in Polish at noon from St.
Stanislaus RC Church followed by four hours of music and news in
Eagle, 3620 Harlem Rd., Cheektowaga, NY 14215 (716)
Owner: Renee Harzewski.
Founded ca. 1959 by Matt Pelczynski. It is a weekly paper focusing
on local news, including a comprehensive calendar of events
Polish American Journal,
Rd., Buffalo, NY 14206 (716) 893-5771.
Editor: Mark Kohan.
Founded in Scranton, PA in 1911 the focus is on national and international
McKinley Ave., Kenmore NY 14217.
Founded in 1995. Quarterly
focusing on news for Poles on the Niagara Frontier.
St., Blasdell, NY 14219 (716) 822-2910.
Founded by Col. Waldemer
Czyz and Stan Biernacik. Focuses on the First Armored Division Association,
745 Center Rd., PO Box 288, W.Seneca, NY 14224-0288, 677-0220 or
Organized in 1899, the
Chopin Singers have been featured on radio and television, and appear
regularly with local orchestras. They have won international recognition
as a premier mixed voice chorus.Founded in 1899 by Boleslaus Michalski,
it was located on Kosciuszko Street on Buffalo's East Side for over
60 years. They moved their club rooms to Old Union Road in Cheektowaga
NY but have since closed them. It had been the location of Jozef Mazur
murals, sgraffito by Josef Slawinski (temporaily moved to Villa Maria
College) and wood carvings by Henryk Jarosz. Their special programs
such as Dyngus Day (a day after Easter tradition), and Christmas
"Wigilia" Dinner continue in other locations.
I.J. Paderewski Singing
Sweet Ave., Buffalo, NY 14212
Organized 1939. The
Society has placed in several international competitions and has
been heard on radio and television. In addition to an annual concert,
the Society frequently appears at local religious, patriotic and
Polish Singers Alliance
491 Amherst St.,
Buffalo, NY 14207
Quo Vadis Choir,
136 Medina St., Cheektowaga,
Villa Maria Choir,
562 Hopkins Rd., Williamsville, NY 14221
St. Hyacinth's Men's
Founded 1946 in a
Lackawanna parish of the same name. The Choir averages about 50
performances annually at various church and social events and have
produced an album of song.
Polish Arts Club,
(716) 634-5053 http://bfn.org/~pacb
The Club's mailing
address is 864 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14209 All Club's events
are open to the public which is cordially invited. Through its programs
(lectures, readings, musical events, film showings, social events,
etc..), the Club seeks to provide the Western New York public with
the opportunity to savor Poland's rich culture and heritage and
to discover the contributions of the American Polonia. Membership
in the Club, which currently stands at over 300, is open to all
who find Polish culture and heritage of interest. Twelve month dues
are $10 for student, $20 for individual, and $35 for dual memberships.
Polish Genealogical Society,
Founded in 1988 to
promote the study of Polish family history. One of ten such societies
across the US. Monthly meetings held at Villa Maria College, the
2nd Thursday of each month, 7 PM.
additional information on Polish Genealogy see
site has links to many other organizations and sites.
Kalina Singing Society,
1279 French Rd., Depew,
Organized in 1901
under the auspices of the Polish Singing Circle, it is a female
chorus that has won many competitions and participates in many festivals
and benefits in and outside the region.
Avenue, Ltd., Wiesia Abczynska, 2130 Clinton Street, Buffalo NY
(1897-1970), was born
in a Galician family in 1897. He studied at the Albright Art School
in Buffalo and at the New York Art Institute. Mazur worked in a variety
of media. His stained glass works can be found in churches in Philadelphia,
New York City and Buffalo. Before he became 30, Mazur distinguished
himself as an ecclesiastical painter in this area. His first commission
was the complete decoration of St. Stanislaus Church in Buffalo. His
works can also be found in St. Adalbert's, Blessed Trinity, the Polish
National Cathedral, St. John Gualbert's, and Villa Maria Academy, Holy
Trinity in Niagara Falls, and St. Aloysius in Springville. Mazur also
painted churches in Rochester, NY, Chicago, IL, Detroit, MI, Adams,
MA, New Haven, CT, and Trenton and Perth Amboy in New Jersey. Mazur's
secular works include the sculpted bust of Frederick Chopin (see Places
to Visit), a life-size portrait of Kazimierz Pulaski in Olean, and interior
decoration at the UB Main Street Campus.
The Peace Mural at the base of the
hill opposite the Stella Niagara Mother House.
photograph Dennis Piatkowski
Jozef Bakos (1891-1977), a painter, was one of Los Cinco
Pintores who worked in Santa Fe New Mexico. Bakos studied art
with John E. Thompson at the Albright Art Institute in Buffalo New York.
He later followed Thompson to Colorado and taught at the University
of Boulder. In 1920 during a break from teaching, Bakos visited Walter
Mruk, a childhood friend and artist who was living in Santa Fe New Mexico.
During his stay he exhibited some paintings together with Mruk at the
Museum of Fine Arts. The next year he moved to Santa Fe permanently
and formed an artists' group called "Los Cinco Pintores"
(the five painters) with Mruk, Fremont Ellis, Willard Nash and Will
Schuster. Los Cinco Pintores was Santa Fe's first Modernist
art group and produced works that depicted specifically American subjects
such as the New Mexico landscape, local adobe architecture and
Native American ceremonial dances
Joseph Slawinski, scrafitto artist and sculptor who died in 1983,
did murals at Assumption Roman Catholic Church, the Stella Niagara Mother
House Chapel, Daemon College, and the Basilica of Our Lady of Fatima
in Lewiston New York. The Polish Arts Club is raising money to move
and restore a 18 x 12 foot mural currently on an exterior wall of a
building at Graycliff in Derby NY. They plan on moving it to Assumption
Church on Amherst Street. The mural depicts St. Joseph Calasanctius,
founder of the Parist Priests who owned Graycliff for a number of years.
for details of the mural and the project. See http://bfn.org/~pacb/projects/maid/
for additional photographs
of his work at his home in Niagara Falls NY
photograph supplied by Wanda
Slawinska, wife of the artist
This 24.5' x 9' panel was designed
and executed in 1969. It is located in the auditorium lobby of West
Hertel Academy, Hertel and Military Ave. in Buffalo NY
It depicts the school's historical background in the village of Black
Rock during the War of 1812 when shipbuilding, salt and ferry service
to Cananda shaped the industrial envirnment of the area. The life
-size figures in the foreground are those of Commodore Oliver Hazard
Perry, Shipbuilder Thomas Eckford, Perry's manservant , Hannibal and
Eckford's Chief Clerk.
Louis F. Dlugosz, (1915 -
2002). The sculptor-steelworker's only formal art training was at
the old Art Institute of Buffalo. After serving two years in the U.S.
Army, he returned home and launched his career. Using his "pretzel-bending"
technique, Dlugosz rolled clay into strips and bent them together for
a lattice-work effect, resulting in sculpture with an open rather than
a solid interior His work was exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of
Art in New York City, the Beaux-Arts School and the Louvre in Paris.
In 1982, his bust of Lech Walesa - surrounded by bars because the Polish
labor leader was jailed by the Communist regime - was blessed by Pope
John Paul II in the Vatican. A bust of kidnapped American reporter (Batavia
New York native) Terry Anderson in chains was displayed in a downtown
Batavia New York Mall until his release from a Lebanese prison. The
chains were smashed by Anderson during a visit to his hometown.
From his early
days as the "pretzel-bending sculptor" to his visits with Pope
John Paul II, Dlugosz attracted attention - and often controversy -
wherever he went. His most enduring mode of protest was to dress in
a toga as the Greek cynic Diogenes, carrying a silver lantern and "looking
for an honest man," whether it was on the streets of Lackawanna or on
the steps of Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Probably his most outrageous
protest came shortly after his retirement from Bethlehem Steel Corp.,
when he demonstrated in 1963 outside Roswell Park Cancer Institute,
chiding scientists for refusing to take seriously a theory that the
color of the environment - "too bright, too bright" - caused cancer.
a life-sized sculpture of Sioux leader Sitting Bull in 1994, demonstrating
his new medium of gluing small pieces of wood together in an "open"
style. The Lackawanna City Council approved its display in the lobby
of City Hall. For more on this often controversial artist see
Other famous Polish-American
artists from the Buffalo area are Marion M. Rzeznik, an ecclesiastical
painter of numerous WNY churches, and architect Joseph E. Fronczak.
EVENTS IN BUFFALO'S POLISH HERITAGE
Buffalo was the founding city of the Polish American Congress
2. Buffalo is the home of the national fraternal Polish
Union of America
founded in 1890.
Seat of the Buffalo-Pittsburgh diocese of the Polish National Catholic
Church Holy Mother of the Rosary Cathedral in Lancaster NY (see
places to visit)
Buffalo is sister city to Rzeszow, Poland.
The Catholic League for Religious Assistance to Poland was founded
in Buffalo in 1943.
The Polish Baptist Church movement originated in Buffalo with
the founding of the Church of Our Savior in 1894.
Buffalo has elected 4 Polish mayors: Joseph Mruk, Stephen Pankow,
Chester Kowal, & Stanley Makowski.
Buffalo has the oldest and largest religious radio network in
the Polish language.
The Roman Catholic Diocese observed Poland's Millenium of Christianity
For information about selected
Polish Folk Art and books to read about Polish Traditions click
|This HERITAGE SHEET
was originally prepared under the sponsorship of the DOCUMENTARY
Established in 1988, the DHP is a statewide program designed to locate,
organize and make available the state's historical records which are critical
to ensuring the survival of New York's heritage. The DHP is administered
by the New York State Archives and Records Administration, State Education
Department. It consists of regional services provided throughout the nine
Reference and Research Library Resource Systems and a statewide competitive
grant. The Regional Archivist for this area (Heidi
serves Cattaraugus, Chautauqua,
Erie, Genesee, Niagara, and Orleans Counties. The Documentary Heritage Program
is administered in Western
New York by the WNY
Library Resources Council.
Page Designed by Nancy Piatkowski
Page Maintained by Beth Cadenhead
YOU TO THE ORIGINAL CONTRIBUTORS
the late Michael Drabik
-- Pat Monaghan
Antoinette Mucilli ---Wanda Slawinska
The Niagara Frontier Folklore Archives
c/o Department of Anthropology
Buffalo State College
1300 Elmwood Avenue
Buffalo NY 14222
The paper cutouts
are traditional Polish folk