Monday, April 20, 2015

Lorain Sokol Society Hall – Then and Now

Rick Kurish is a regular contributor to this blog, helping with research and offering suggestions for topics. He recently sent me the link to the above postcard, which is currently for sale on Ebay.

The real photo postcard (which was postmarked 1909) has an unusual Ebay description because of its hard-to-read inscription. It's listed as "LORAIN SOUTH HOLLORAIN SOKOL CLUB HOUSE BUILDING."

I thought that the building was in South Lorain, until I found a mention of it on the Lorain Public Library's online history. For the year 1908, there is a line that reads, "The Czechoslovak Society of America builds Sokol Hall on Kelly Place." That put the building on the west side, west of Reid Avenue between W. 23rd and W. 25th Streets.

I consulted the Lorain Public Library's city directories to learn about the building. The earliest available book with the building listed was the 1912 edition, which simply lists the building as "Dance Hall." Subsequent books list it as Sokol Lorain (1915) or Sokol Hall (1924).

The 1947 directory still had the building listed as Sokol Hall, but as of the 1950 edition, the listing changed. It was now identified as Youth's Center for a few years before the address went vacant through much of the 1950s. The building returned to its roots by the early 1960s, when it became home to the Czech Society of America Hall. It continued with this listing until 1967, when it became Wings of Faith Church.

Today (below), the 2400 Kelly Place address is home to Ministerio Pentecostal Luz De Salvacion.


Anonymous said...

Hey I think I went to a wedding reception there. I think it was still Sokol club and looked like the before pic. Dan did you happen to do a city directory search on its life? Rae

Dan Brady said...

Hi Rae,
Yes I did. It was listed as Sokol Hall or Sokol Lorain from the early 1900s until the late 40s/early 50s. From Wiki it looks like Sokol clubs are Czech youth sports organizations. I guess that's why for a little while the hall was listed as a Youth Center for a couple of years.