The Slovak Garden

A Home for Slovak Americans


Slovak Cultural Center Museum and Library

by
Andrew F. Hudak II

Welcome to our internet information page. The Slovak Cultural Center is located at 3110 Howell Branch Road in Winter Park, Florida 32792.

The Slovak Garden Library/Museum was established in 1988 under the direction of Andrew F. Hudak II, President of Slovak Garden, A Home for American Slovaks, the Officers and Board of Directors.

The Slovak Garden Library and Museum will be referred to as THE SLOVAK ARCHIVES. It was formally dedicated and opened to the public at the 37th American Slovak Day held at Slovak Garden, on March 5, 1989. The Library and Museum is open to the public daily, from 8:30 A.M. until 12:30 P.M. Monday through Friday. Visits for other days and hours can be arranged by appointment. Admission is free.

The Archive is dedicated to the everlasting memory of Slovak Garden founders, Mary Jerga Belohlavek and Karl Belohlavek. Upon seeing the need for a retirement and cultural center for American Slovaks in Florida, Slovak Garden was founded in 1952 by these two dedicated fraternalists.

Special thanks are also extended to John and Anna Kucej of Trumbull, Connecticut, The Ladies Pennsylvania Slovak Catholic Union and its President, Cecilia Sarocky, Andrew and Sophia Hudak II of Parma, Ohio and Anna Cibik of Slovak Village in Winter Park, Florida for making the Slovak Garden Archives dream become a reality through their generous financial donations and spirited encouragement.

Currently, American Slovaks are relocating to Florida in large numbers and Slovak Garden, particularly the Archive, is being recognized and respected as a true cultural center.

It might be of interest in knowing more about the Slovaks, their native land, history and their struggle for National survival and their aspirations. Thus the purpose of the Archives is to introduce visitors to the Slovak language, music, arts, heritage, culture and history.

The Slovaks are one of the largest ethnic groups in North America. At one time Cleveland, Ohio had the largest population of Slovaks in the United States. Presently, there are 101,874 Slovaks living in Cleveland.

In the Achives one will find more than 8,000 books in either the Slovak or English language, related to the Slovak language, history, culture, music, costumes and crafts of the Slovak people. The books are arranged according to the Dewey System of Classification recommended by the United States Library of Congress for small libraries such as our Archives.

Here one can find thirty newspapers and magazines published in the United States, Canada and Slovakia. These newspapers and magazines of the past and present centuries will guide, inform and educate the American Slovaks of their heritage and culture and inspire them to be decent, law abiding and loyal Americans.

A large Slovak map on the wall of the library will help locate the city or town where our ancestors, parents and grandparents were born and lived and also what costumes they wore in the various areas.

Juro Janosik, better known as the Slovak Robin Hood with his famous ax (valaska), is a symbol of the Slovak people Struggling against slavery.

In the Slovak Garden museum are life size mannequins adorned in original Slovak costumes. The women's attire is from the region of Levice, Slovakia and was donated by Mary Kantor of New York, now residing in Port St. Lucie, Florida. The man's attire represents the Detva region and was donated by the Slovak patriot and honorary vice-president of Slovak Garden, George Kantor.

Additionally there is a life size family exhibit of a father, mother boy and girl dressed in costumes of other regions of Slovakia.

Displayed are eighty pictures of various original Slovak costumes representing almost every region of Slovakla and neighboring Moravia, which is also known as Moravske-Slovensko.

Numerous paintings and photos show historical castles, villages and craft work of the Slovak people. Until 1930, Slovaks made their clothes by hand from materials they produced themselves and in the museum such items and artistry are displayed.

The most unique item on display is a copy of petrified bread from the 5th century A.D. which was discovered several years ago during the renovation of Castle Devin in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. This is definite proof that Slovaks living in the heart of Europe have known agriculture as early as the 5th century.

A rare and unique feature of the Slovak Garden museum is the complete collection of coins and stamps of the Slovak Republic from 1939 to 1945 and the old newspaper magazine, "Novy-Svet", published in 1938 in Slovakia. It is completely dedicated to the final days of the Father of our Nation, Ondrej Hlinka, and his funeral.

The story of some half mlllion immigrants from Slovakia to the New World before World War I is a story of success in the uphill struggle which laid the ground work for their children in the land of opportunity, whereby their blood, sweat and toil earned for them the respect of all Americans

While at the Slovak Garden Archives, visitors can availe themselves of a two hour colored slide presentation of the Slovak people and history from the 5th to the 20th century.

This is just the beginning of the Slovak Garden Archives. If you are pleased with what you see, we ask for your financial support to complete and administrate this specialized cultural center and spread the word to family and friends. Slovak Garden, A Home for American Slovaks is a non-profit institution and donations are tax deductible.

The real purpose of the Archives is to educate American Slovaks about their culture and heritage and to make them aware of the natural beauty of Slovakia, the country of their forefathers. Its aim is to preserve, as much as possible, Slovak literature and artifacts for future generations.

Visitors who are in possession of Slovak cultural items are asked to seriously consider donating such items to the Slovak Garden Archives. Those items will be placed on display with the donor's name, for future generations.

In closing we invite you to visit the Slovak Garden Cultural Center of Winter Park, Florida and also the Florida Slovak Day which has been held annually on the Slovak Garden grounds since 1952 on the first Sunday of March. Between 450 to 1200 attend this annual ethnic event from every state of the Union, Canada and Slovakia to enjoy traditional Slovak food, pastry, music and entertainment.

The motto of the Slovak Garden Archives is:

"DEAR LORD, PRESERVE THE HERITAGE OF OUR FATHERS".

Back to the Slovak Garden Home Page

Back to Genealogical Research in Slovakia

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