Sunday, February 8, 2009

45th & Washington

For over a hundred years, the corner at 45th and Washington has been the place to go for an inexpensive meal and visit with friends. Today the site is home to a McDonalds Restaurant; in 1908, it was home to the Western Slavonic Lodge.
Slavs began arriving in Globeville in the 1880s seeking jobs in the Grant and Globe Smelters. Work in the smelters was hard and dangerous with extreme heat, dust, and exposure to toxic fumes. To provide financial security for themselves and their families, the Slavs formed Zapadna Slovanska Zveza, the Western Slavonic Association, a fraternal society that offered sick and death benefits for its members.
The organization sought to preserve the language, culture and heritage of the mother country, Slovenia. Here, the newcomer felt comfortable and welcome, speaking his native tongue, enjoying familiar ethnic dishes and socializing with others from the old country. Slavs could find information about jobs, places to stay and where to meet other single people from home. New arrivals were introduced to American customs, music, dress and slang and helped with the process of Americanization.
Slavs gradually assimilated into American life, moved up the economic ladder and away from the Globeville neighborhood. The Western Slavonic is now Western Fraternal Life and still offers annuities, insurance products and fraternal activities at its location at 11265 Decatur Street in Westminster. The land was sold to McDonalds in 1988.

No comments: