Sunday, July 10, 2016

Blini, Brats, Beer and Slivovitz - Festivals in Globeville

Globeville's ethnic heritage can best be experienced in the parish food festivals, the first of which is the Orthodox Food Festival and Old Globeville Days, July 16 and 17th at Argo Park. Every kind of food, entertainment, games for the children, crafts and tours of beautiful Holy Transfiguration of Christ Orthodox Cathedral. Don't miss it!

Next in the summer calendar of events is the Polish Food Festival, August 20 and 21st at St. Joseph's Polish Catholic Church. Polish food, music, dancers, beer and a chance to interact with your neighbors.
Sunday, September 4th is the date of the Holy Rosary Bazaar, with food being served from 9:00 am until 8:00 pm. There will be a 50/50 raffle for cash and prizes, entertainment, music, games for the children and the GRAND PRIZE raffle for a brand new Jeep Patriot.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A Lighted Rosary and three big bells

Dedicated on July 4, 1920, Holy Rosary Church was last of the ethnic churches built in Globeville. Slovenes and Croats could attend St. Joseph's Polish Church in the neighborhood, but longed for a place where they could receive the sacraments from a priest who spoke their language, be married and buried with the comfort of their own religious traditions, and celebrate their distinctive Slavic feasts. Planning and collecting funds for the parish had begun as early as 1902, and when the parish was finally constructed, many people and organizations were eager to contribute.
One such contribution is the lighted Rosary, which surrounds the statue of the Blessed Virgin in the center of the altar, a gift of Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Gale and constructed by Mr. John Kucler.
Over the years, the lights forming the Rosary have stopped working, as have the sockets and the band that holds the entire mechanism. Finding someone who could restore the Rosary has taken some time - the technology dates from the 1920s and the altar itself is fragile. But a craftsman within the parish has been found and restoration is underway.

 Photo of lighted Rosary ® Mary Lou Egan
Information about Lighted Rosary and bells
from 25th Anniversary, Silver Jubilee Holy Rosary

Parishioners are also proud of Holy Rosary's bells in the north tower of the church. The largest bell was cast in a foundry in Baltimore, cost $700, weighs 1700 pounds, and was the gift of tavern owner Joseph Jartz. The second largest bell weighs 500 pounds and was donated by parishioners, who raised $400 for the purpose. The third bell was a gift of Joseph Horvat at $300. The smaller two bells were cast in a foundry in Denver. Bells have called people to Mass, announced weddings, funerals, the end of wars and impending natural disasters. This last year, the bells have become increasingly hard to ring, and there was concern about the structural soundness of their mountings. Experts in restoration were needed.
On June 28, Andrew Ruder and Corey Nook of Haselden Construction joined Monsignor Jorge to investigate, climbing the stairs to the choir loft, a narrower set of stairs up the tower, and then a steep ladder. It was worth it!
Even covered in dust, the bells are magnificent, the stamp of the foundry still visible in the metal. The structure holding them seems sturdy, but the rope pulls are frayed. All in all, some fine craftsmanship. Haselden will put together a recommendation and estimate for the work and the Holy Rosary finance council will review the proposal. It is hoped that the founders of the parish will bless our efforts to continue their legacy.

The largest bell, a gift of Joseph Jartz. Photo ® Mary Lou Egan

Two smaller bells were cast in a foundry in Denver. Photo ® Mary Lou Egan

Andrew Ruder and Corey Nook enjoyed the task. Photo ® Mary Lou Egan

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Shave, haircut and a beer - barbershops in Globeville

In the years before World War II, a visit to a barbershop was a regular and frequent occurrence. The all-male hang-out was not only a place to get a shave and haircut, but to catch up with friends, tell jokes and generally unwind. Conversations included family, sports, local gossip and politics and everyone participated - the fellow getting the haircut and those waiting for a haircut. A newspaper was on hand to verify the facts.
Barbershops were classy establishments, with large mirrors, marble counters lined with colorful glass tonic bottles, and comfortable chairs fitted with leather upholstery. Everything from the shaving mugs to the advertising signs featured an artistic treatment. The aromas of cherry and butternut-flavored pipe tobacco and the scent of hair tonics, pomades and oils welcomed the patron with a warm familiarity. Men would take their sons to the barber to carry on the manly tradition.
Some establishments, like Alex Kohut's at 4945 Washington, or Paul's Barbershop at 4500 Washington included a saloon. There was also John Folcik's at 4531 Washington, Lee Gregston's at 82 E. 45th, Alex San Roman at 190 E. 45th and that of Sam Maestes at 4485 Washington.
Many of those former locations still exist in the neighborhood - perhaps an opportunity for regular grooming, a social center, civic forum and bastion of manliness.  

Sam Maestes Barbershop at 4485 Washington
Photo ® Denver Public Library

Thursday, May 19, 2016

John C Horst - How It Pays To Live A Godly Life

"It is my hope that my life might have meant something to someone," is one of the closing statements in eighty-two-year-old John C. Horst's autobiography, "Real Life. Read about the Horsts. How It Pays To Live A Godly Life."
Born in Norka, Russia, in 1890, Horst begins his story with reminiscences of his early life in the village, one of the largest colonies in the Volga region with a population of about 3000. Horst remembered a "wonderful place" with many small businesses, a flour mill, blacksmith shop, tannery and three churches. "Everybody had to go to church." Those who missed services three weekends in a row would have to appear in front of the mayor with an explanation. Many young men might have chaffed at this expectation, but Horst seems to have embraced it.
Although the family enjoyed their life in Russia, there was increasing pressure from the Russian government to assimilate with the biggest fear being the threat of conscription, and a six-year term in the Russian army. When the family received glowing letters of life in Colorado from an uncle they took the opportunity to emigrate, arriving in Denver in June, 1902.
Young Horst became active in the First German Congregational Church, leading Sunday School classes, a community band and singing in the choir. While singing in the choir, Horst noticed the red-headed Katie Schlitt and they were married in 1916. Both were only 18.
With Horst working for the Burlington Railroad and Katie taking care of the couple's six children, life was good for the family. But when the Great Depression began in 1929, the Burlington cut Horst's hours to two days a week and all members of the family took on whatever odd jobs they could find. In 1931, even though his own family was struggling, Horst served on a relief committee in Denver, an experience that affected him profoundly.
Horst and a Mr. Green found an old couple living in a tin shack between the Burlington tracks and the Platte River, cold, wet and hungry. The men rushed to their own homes and brought back food, fuel and coats to the elderly couple and Horst made a promise that night that he would labor nearly 30 years to fulfill. "God, if you ever give me a few dollars, I will try to do something for the aged."
The economy gradually improved and, in 1934, the Horst family built a machine shop, Farmers Tool & Supply Corporation; in 1937, the family also acquired farmland from a bank auction. As the United States prepared for war, Farmers Tool & Supply began handling government contracts, which provided steady earnings and reason to expand.
In 1941, Horst began the fulfillment of his promise to provide for the elderly, incorporating his farm as Sunny Acres Villa and gradually building a few cottages. Horst approach church members and fellow business owners for financing his vision, but found very little support, until a Dr. Kenneth P. Berg  from Lee's Summit, Missouri, provided the necessary financial and organizational support.
Today, the Villas at Sunny Acres is one of four Christian living facilities in the metropolitan area and a testament to the faith and perseverance of John C. Horst and his commitment to leading a Godly life.

First German Congregational Church Community Band, with John Horst kneeling left.
Photo used with written permission from Heritage Community Bible Church

The board of the Villas at Sunny Acres, John C. Horst third from right, seated.
Photo used with written permission from Janet Wagner

Monday, May 9, 2016

Swedes in Globeville

Most Swedes immigrating to America arrived in the period after the Civil War and settled in the Great Lakes states and the northern Great Plains particularly in Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin. Unlike the eastern European newcomers, Swedes were not fleeing religious persecution but were attracted by the farmland available under the Homestead Act of 1862. Swedes were also lured to the west by the Colorado gold rush, and found jobs in mines and smelters in Black Hawk, Central City, Pueblo, Leadville, Cripple Creek, Aspen and Ouray.
When Colorado's first successful smelter, the Boston and Colorado, built a plant north of Denver in 1878, the company employed Scots, Welsh, Germans, Irish, English and a large number of Swedes. In the company town of Argo, Inca Street was referred to as Smaland Avenue because so many residents came from that region of Sweden. Swedes also found jobs in the Omaha and Grant, and Globe Smelters, railroads, brickyards, foundries and meat packing plants in Globeville.
Swedes formed numerous self-help societies like the Skandia Benevolent Order in 1876, as well as social groups like the Republican Club, the Swedish-American Silver Club, a Scandinavian-gymnastic club, music society, theatrical troupe, hospital organization, publishing company, and Swedish versions of the Red Men, Knights of Pythias, Odd Fellows, and American Foresters. There were seven Swedish-language newspapers in Colorado between 1882 and 1944 with Svenska Korrespondenten (published from 1889 to 1901) being the most widely read with branch offices in Pueblo, Leadville and Cripple Creek.
The Swedish Lutheran or the Union Swedish Church in nearby Argo provided a spiritual home within walking distance of Globeville; the Bethany Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church (at 32nd and Gilpin Street), the First Swedish Methodist Episcopal (in 1890, located at 1924 Pennsylvania), or Swedish Lutheran Church at 23rd and Court Place also held services for Swedes.
Although Swedes were never numerous enough to have a church or lodge building in Globeville, their culture added a distinctive flavor to the neighborhood.

Bethany Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church at 32nd and Gilpin Street

Swedish Lutheran Confirmation Class about 1914 

Swedish workers from the brickyards

Friday, April 8, 2016

Bilingual Globeville

If you lived in Globeville before World War II, you would hear older people speaking in their native Polish, Slovenian, Croatian, Russian, Slovak, Czech and the distinctive German spoken by the Volga Deutsch. Many spoke a combination English and the language from the Old Country, or could speak well enough but weren't able to read and write in English. Businesses and ethnic newspapers recognized the situation and responded with graphics, and dual-language copy. Here are a few samples of local advertising that appeal to the consumer in his own language.

Got the message - butter top and cakes.

Before Colorado went dry in 1916, Martinitz and Sons had a saloon at 3455 Blake Street.
Perhaps the remedy offers an alcohol content and buzz that takes your mind off your ailments.

Combination German and English "Customer Parking Building"

1930 ad for Tuner's Cut Green Beans

Friday, February 19, 2016

Polish National Alliance, St. Martin's 134


The storefront behind the Polish scout troop seems much larger in the 1935 photo than it does now. Today, the structure at 4839 Washington is encased in stucco and devoid of any defining features, but was once home to St. Martin's Society, Group 134 of the Polish National Alliance and the gathering place for Globeville's Polish community for over a century. Globeville's lodge, founded on October 5, 1889, was a branch of the national society headquartered in Chicago. The organization offered sick and death benefits, financial services, fellowship for Polish immigrants, as well as enlightenment about their rights and obligations as American citizens.
In addition to providing a financial safety net for families, PNA was committed to preserving Polish heritage by celebrating Polish Constitution Day on May 3rd, Corpus Christi during June, and the special foods and culture of their partitioned homeland. There were activities for every age group and demographic: the Polish Falcon Nest 712, a group practicing physical fitness and para-military training; the St. Adalbert's Society, a coed society for young adults; the Polish Falcons baseball team; and the Polish Harmony Club, for young adults who enjoyed singing and dancing. Globeville's Poles maintained connections to other Polish communities in larger cities like Chicago, and the towns of Pueblo, Trinidad, Walsenburg, Starkville and Rockdale in Colorado through the PNA newspaper, Zgoda,(Harmony). The lodge was instrumental in the establishment of St. Joseph's Polish Catholic Church in 1902, and its parochial school in 1926. 
With the coming of New Deal programs like Social Security, improvements in workplace safety and other avenues for health insurance, fraternal lodges lost much of their importance. American-born children were less committed to preserving their Polish heritage, and had many other opportunities for social activities than those offered by PNA. After World War II, the descendants of the Polish pioneers had moved to new homes in the suburbs and visited Globeville and St. Joseph's Church only for holidays or funerals. After the breaking up of the Soviet Union, new arrivals from Poland attend St. Joseph's Church, but celebrate their heritage at the Polish Club of Denver.
Although the Polish National Alliance no longer has an active organization, the society left its imprint on the Globeville neighborhood in St. Joseph's parish.