The Board of Directors requests the pleasure of your company at a Grand Ball in honor of the 100 Anniversary of the Lithuanian Hall Association on Saturday afternoon, the 10th of January , 2015.
Coctails - 2pm – 3pm
Banquet - 3pm – 5pm
Dancing - 6pm – Midnight
Black tie optional.
$40.00 per person advance sales only.
Contact Maryte A. Ludwig 443 857 7643 for reservations.
Published by the Baltimore Municipal Journal
Pages 265 -267
The Lithuanians in Baltimore
By Dr. William F. Laukaitis
In 1864 the Russian government with a view to the more complete “Russification” of the Lithuanian people, forbade the printing of books and periodicals in Latin type, and which had been in use since the sixteenth century. It strongly recommended, and tried to introduce by means of the schools, the Russian type. Finally, the teaching of the Lithuanian language was strictly forbidden in the schools. These measures were enforced with a truly Draconian zeal. The possession of a Lithuanian book or calendar was deemed a sufficient cause for imprisonment or deportation to Siberia, solely on the judgment of the administration or without any court proceeding. These, together with the desire to escape military duty are the main reasons why emigration from Lithuania started as early as 1868.
Emigration of the Lithuanians to the City of Baltimore began sometime in the early part of the year of 1881, and within five years thereafter, some two hundred and fifty (250) person met and organized what was at that time known as The Saint John the Baptist parish, and invited a Reverend Polianski, of Texas, to head their congregation. In 1887 the first fraternal beneficial organization, known as The Saint John’s Beneficial Society, was organized with a membership of 250. It was this organization which was responsible for the purchase of the first Lithuanian house of worship in Baltimore. The Society purchased an old synagogue located on Lloyd Street in East Baltimore, which was recently renovated and turned out to be what was known as Saint John the Baptist Church.
It was in the early nineties that the great tide of emigration felt itself in the eastern cities of the Atlantic Coast. In 1891 the Lithuanian population in Baltimore had increased to some five thousand and the desire and urge was felt for a larger place of worship and meeting house. A few years later the church was moved from the Lloyd Street location to the corner of Paca and Saratoga, where it was located until the early part of 1915.
In the early part of 1900 the six or seven then existing beneficial organizations, together with the fraternal bodies, purchased a building on West Barre street, in South Baltimore, to be used as a meeting place and civic center for the colony, which at that time was located in the immediate vicinity thereof. In 1921 the new Lithuanian Hall, located at Hollins and Parkin streets was built. This building, bought and built by the joint contributions of the various beneficial and fraternal orders and the people as a whole, represents an outlay of some three hundred thousand dollars ($300,000.00) toward a civic enterprise.
The Lithuanian, who is fundamentally thrifty and saving, as early as 1906, felt the desire to organize an institution whereby the saver could purchase as the result of his savings a home for himself and his family. On February 8th, 1906, a special meeting was called by some of the outstanding Lithuanians among whom was Joseph Vasilauckas, Vladilovas Dreiginas, Vincas Kilinkevicius, Mathew Kilinkevicius, John Damukaitis, George Zebrauckas, Vincent Aleksa, Joseph Danielus, Frank Bubnis, Anthony Mondravickis, Ambrose Laukaitis, and the Reverend Joseph Lietuvnikas (who later became the pastor of the church), and the organization of what is now known as the First Lithuanian Building Association of Baltimore City was started. Since its inception this institution has been represented by the Honorable William F. Broening (now Mayor of the City of Baltimore), under whose guiding influence the Association has rapidly progressed until now it has capital assets of almost a million dollars. At the present time there are four Lithuanian Building Associations in the city, representing a total capitalization of three millions of dollars, and paying an annual dividend of six per cent to its members. It can fairly be estimated that 75 per cent of the present Lithuanian population of the City of Baltimore own their own homes. These real estate holdings can be fairly valued at about twenty-five million dollars.
At present there are about fifteen thousand (15,000) Lithuanians in the City of Baltimore. The Colony known as “Little Lithuania” is located in southwest Baltimore and the principal streets are South Paca Street, West Lombard Street, South Green Street and Hollins Street.
The Lithuanian is principally a tailor by industry and at the present time there is located in the City of Baltimore some twenty-eight Lithuanian tailoring establishments. It can be fairly estimated that some 85 per cent of the present population is engaged in this industry.
On September 7th, 1914, the Lithuanians of Baltimore realizing the necessity and duty of participating in the political life of this country and city in which they live, organized what is now known as the First Lithuanian Republican Club of Baltimore City. In addition to this club in 1920, there was organized what is known as the Lithuanian-American Democratic Club of Baltimore City. In 1915 there was organized what is known as the Lithuanian-American Athletic Club. This institution has its club house located in the center of “Little Lithuania,” and affords its members an opportunity of physical development under proper instruction.
The professional and business roster of the Baltimore Lithuanian includes the following: ten physicians, five dentists, five lawyers, four graduate nurses, four public school teachers, four civil engineers, six pharmacists, four real estate dealers, two undertakers, two photographers, two insurance and steamship agencies, eight general insurance agents, two bakeries, twelve lunch rooms, three public garages, twenty-one grocery and provision stores, and twenty-eight tailoring establishments. Their civic and educational roster contains the following: one church, one school, three halls, four building associations, ten beneficial organizations, seven clubs, three local branches of fraternal organizations and one Lithuanian library.