Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Polish Legion of American Veterans Post #38

I read in the Morning Journal (here) on November 1 that the city demo crew was going to be at it again, ridding neighborhoods of nuisance properties. One of them was 550 W. 14th Street (above), the former home of the Polish Legion of American Veterans Pulski Post No. 38.

I'm not sure why this building is a nuisance – it's not even boarded up.

Nevertheless, after I took my photo, I went to the library to find out what other businesses or organizations called this building home. I imagined a veritable parade of small businesses through the years

Much to my surprise, the building had no history at all.

It first appeared in the city directories in the early 1930s, listed as vacant. In fact, it was vacant in all of the available 1930s books.

Finally, in the 1942 book I found a business listed at that address: Dietrich's Stop & Shop Bakery, run by Herman Dietrich (President) and Otto Dietrich (Vice President). But by the 1945 book, the building was vacant again.

Then, in the 1947 book, the Polish Legion of American Veterans Post No. 38 appeared – and apparently stayed there as the last tenant.

Our Town – the Story of Lorain, Ohio (1953) which was published by Lorain City Schools mentions the Polish Legion of American Veterans. The publication stated that the organization "aids the poor and gives relief to veterans."

Anyway, one of the interesting aspects of Lorain are these commercially zoned properties left over from the 1920s and 30s, seemingly plunked down amongst the tiny houses and narrow streets. The buildings served their purpose in their day, housing businesses and organizations that contributed to the quality of life in those neighborhoods.

The buildings may be obsolete now, but they still give a certain character to a neighborhood if they are in good shape. It's a shame that these properties are now targeted by a city that thinks it can bulldoze its way back to prosperity.

Lorain's Polish Legion of American Veterans Post may be toast, but the national organization still soldiers on. Click here to visit its website.

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