Athol, Massachusetts (Images of America)

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The interior of its replacement, is, however, rather grand, as it includes Lithuanian paintings on its wooden walls. Next to Maironis park stands a Memorial for those who died for Lithuania adorned in patriotic symbols Columns of Gediminas, Vytis the coat of arms , two Crosses of Vytis. Built in , this memorial initially stood at the St. However, it was relocated after the church was sold in fear that the new owners would have destroyed it otherwise.

Interactive map of Worcester Lithuanian sites. The textile mills attracted many Lithuanians, making the area especially rich in historic Lithuanian sites. Among the most unique Lithuanian sites in the area are the Lithuanian national cemetery non-Roman-Catholic and a district of Lithuanian-named streets. There are numerous Lithuanian monuments, Lithuanian churches all closed and Lithuanian cemeteries. The flags over the Haverhill Lithuanian cemetery, surrounding the memorial to Lithuanian immigrants. The massive red-brick factories themselves are an impressive sight in many Merrimack valley towns.

At the center of the Merrimack Valley stands its most Lithuanian city Lawrence pop. It is known as the "immigrant city" for the numerous early 20th-century European migrant communities. Lithuanians constructed two churches both now closed. The first one was the usual Roman Catholic St. Nothing outside reminds of its Lithuanian past, although a Lithuanian stained-glass window and a plaque with church history remain inside which is closed to visitors.

The second Lithuanian church of Lawrence, constructed in Garden Street , used to be owned by an independent Lithuanian National Catholic Church of Sacred Heart which has acquired it in This has been a unique denomination established in the early 20th century by Lithuanians which considered itself Catholic but denounced the authority of Roman Pope thus they are not Roman Catholics. Lithuanian National Catholics had their cathedral in Scranton, Pennsylvania still operational and Lawrence was its only other longer-lasting parish. They could have been buried neither in the unsanctified Protestant cemetery ground nor together with the papal followers, that's why they established their own cemetery.

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A free-standing plaque explains the cemetery history, adorned in the Lithuanian flag motif. The cemetery is supported and beautified by the money received from selling the church. At the center of the cemetery stands a Lithuanian National Catholic altar at which the National Catholic holy masses used to be held, followed by picnics. The altar consists of Jesus Christ statue; it has no Lithuanian inscriptions.

Today the cemetery also accepts Ukrainian interments and Lithuanians given them some ground. Methuen suburb also has a unique-in-America area where, near Forrest lake, entire district has its streets named in Lithuanian. This was the former resort area owned by the St. Francis church, which the Roman Catholic church had swiftly sold for residential construction after disestablishing the parish. Varniai, Palanga, and Birute streets are the largest ones, their names appearing on numerous plaques, postboxes, etc.

Lawrence is also famous as the first US city to recognize Lithuanian independence in 04 A plaque commemorating this has been installed in inside the pretty Lawrence City Hall in the downtown first floor; accessible to all visitors during the working days. In a park on the other side of the street from the Lawrence City Hall stands the Bread and Roses Strike memorial which commemorates the strike of Lawrence textile workers that famous for successfully achieving some of its goals. Among the strikers were Lithuanians; one of their names, Jonas Smolskas, is inscribed on the monument because he was one of three victims of the strike, beaten to death by the strike opponents for wearing a symbol associated with the strikers.

In a commemorative stone to local Lithuanians has been unveiled near Lowell municipal building. It includes a Lithuanian coat of arms, the Lithuanian word for Lithuania Lietuva and the engraving of an ethnic strip. It has joined numerous other such stones erected by other Lowell immigrant communities. A square there is surrounded by the flags of every nation from where a significant part of the Lowell population came, including Lithuania.

Lowell Lithuanians also had their church dedicated to St. Joseph Rogers Street. Built on it has been closed on and transformed into apartments. Cornerstone of the Lowell church. Cornerstones like that are often the final reminder of building's original purpose. Until Lowell had a Grand Duke of Lithuania Vytautas club named after the famous Lithuanian leader under whose rule Lithuania was the largest medieval European state.

Opened in the club moved to its current location at Central Street in and its entrance is still adorned by a Lithuanian flag and a pre-modern Lithuanian abbreviation of its name DLKV it is unclear for how long as the building will become a laundry. The club was established by the leftists as an alternative to the Lithuanian parishes after all, the parishes themselves were like ethnic clubs to Lithuanians, as they had many secular activities.

However, over the time such clubs would start cooperating with parishes, as the Soviet occupation of Lithuania and the Soviet genocide there discredited the Marxist ideas among the Lithuanian-Americans. Its best-surviving Lithuanian site is the Haverhill Lithuanian cemetery est. A Lithuanian flag perpetually waves above the cemetery together with the US flag.

The cemetery itself is owned by the club and is notable by large land lots next to the graves, due to which there is little land for new burials. Gedymino club memorial to the Lithuanian immigrants in Haverhill cemetery. Haverhill Lithuanians also had their own Lithuanian church. However, the district where the church stood became a ghetto and the church is now abandoned and derelict.

A little north Nashua, New Hampshire is also considered a part of the Merrimack valley. That textile town has its own Lithuanian heritage described at the New Hampshire article. All the Lithuanian locations, described in this article, are marked on this interactive map, made by the "Destination - America" expedition:. Map of Merrimack Valley Lithuanian sites. We have explored the Merrimack Valley, the mills of which provided jobs to many thousand of Lithuanians. Small cities of Lowell, Lawrence, and Haverhill supported entire Lithuanian clubs and churches.

Lithuanians were important in the wider American history too, with one of them killed due to an infamous strike. Springfield, Massachusetts is the birthplace of Lithuania's national sport basketball ; the sport was invented by Dr. James Naismith in the local college. Among the many inductees of this ball-shaped building, there is also a Lithuanian Arvydas Sabonis , widely regarded to be the nation's best-ever basketball player, in addition to being the first European to be selected in NBA draft as Lithuania was still occupied by the Soviet Union, Sabonis was precluded from leaving for several years.

Their careers are briefly described in the 3rd-floor gallery where all inductees are listed. Only a few players are honored this way, among them Wilt Chamberlain and other main stars. In general, Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame offers many activities beyond the Lithuanian-related things. As the Hall is in America, NBA receives most of the attention, yet the international basketball also gets some. Abbot has been relatively unknown in Lithuania, however, as she did her inventions in the USA and did not participate in the Lithuanian activities there she emigrated with her parents when she was just 7 years old and effectively cut any ties with Lithuania.

Springfield area also had a Lithuanian church: St. Casimir in Westfield 38 Parkside Av, construction started on Since its closure in , it has been sold to the school system and used as a school for kids with ADHD. Even that school was closed in several years, and the church is now used as a warehouse of the school system. If you look through the glass of the main entrance, you may still catch a glimpse of surviving Lithuanian stained glass windows with Lithuanian inscriptions inside.

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Most of the interior is destroyed, however, and filled with various things; a statue of a saint outside is also removed. Casimir name remained however as the parish was unified with St. Peter Slovak to form St. Casimir's parish.

The congregation now prays at the former Slovak church, however 24 State Street. West of Springfield lies Stockbridge, notable for its Divine Mercy shrine. Divine Mercy is a Catholic tradition that originates in Lithuania. In addition to that, the shrine is led by Marianite priests who are inspired by the Lithuanian blessed Jurgis Matulaitis. His images, as well as those of Our Lady of Vilnius, are also prominent in the church there. Interactive map of Massachusetts Lithuanian sites. More info on the Destination America expedition. The man who approached the Destination America team at the Westfield church, offering to tell us some of its stories.

Athol population 11 may just be a small town on the Massachusetts map. However, by the surviving Lithuanian sites, Athol area clearly ranks among the top Lithuanian zones of Massachusetts. The most striking there is the Romance Revival St. Francis Lithuanian church , constructed in and still operating Main Street and officially Lithuanian at the time when much larger cities have lost their Lithuanian churches. The church interior is especially decorated and impressive.

It has many Lithuanian signs: on the impressive stained glass windows, on the frescos above the church, at the plaque in the memory of Jonas Vizbaras near the entrance, etc. By the number of Lithuanian inscriptions, it is among the leading churches in America, as much is explained in Lithuanian to the parishioners. While the interior looks especially expensive, only the altar table is actually marble, with much of the rest being wooden imitations.

While the church is open largely for the weekly mass alone, there is a 13,5 feet Lithuanian metal cross outside that may be seen by anyone who visits Athol. The cross is unique for being actually made of metal rather than wood, yet still bearing the traditional Lithuanian UNESCO-inscribed forms such as the Pagan-inspired sun around its center. The cross was created by Ramojus Mozoliauskas out of 4,5 tons of Corten steel in Among the listed reasons to erect it, a striking one is that crosses were quickly disappearing in Lithuania of the time due to the Soviet atheist persecutions, leading Lithuanian-Americans to seek to transplant the tradition to the USA.

While the club today serves more as a multi-ethnic pub where patrons of various ethnicities are welcome, it still has many Lithuanian details in its interior, such as the Lithuanian National Anthem, the picture of Grand Duke Gediminas. The reason for so many Lithuanians arriving at Athol, like in many more cases, was the agitation of those who already came there for their relatives and former neighbors to join them.

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It is open in summers and Eastern European meals are sold there. However, Gardner Lithuanians never were united enough to build their own full church. We were even more surprised in Athol MA , a town of merely inhabitants, we found an open Lithuanian church and a Lithuanian club. Both now include non-Lithuanians as members as well, some of whom we met.

We have also passed another working Lithuanian club in nearby Gardner. Global True Lithuania Encyclopedia of Lithuanian heritage worldwide. Boston Lithuanian club. US and Lithuanian flags wave at the entrance. Our Lady of Vilna Lithuanian church in Worcester. Bible scenes with Lithuanian explanations in the Athol church. Share this:. Click to learn more about Lithuania: Massachusetts 1 Comment. Inside the Boston Lithuanian restaurant. Inside the Lithuanian Credit Union. Through photographs, stereo cards, and postcards from a bygone era, this book provides a glimpse of what it was like to live and work in the Athol of long ago.

The photographs from years gone by allow both young and old to meander down dirt roads along the stream, and become witness to their celebrations and their recreational retreats at the fairgrounds, Silver Lake, and Brookside Park. Product Details About the Author. About the Author Robert J. Tuholski, Ph. Average Review. Write a Review. Related Searches. In the early s, New England pioneers braved theOhio wilderness and settled on a tract In the early s, New England pioneers braved theOhio wilderness and settled on a tract of frontier land in central Ohio; this settlement was to become Worthington.

During the nineteenth century, Worthington was mainly a sleepy market village, providing necessities View Product. Boston has had its share of bookies and loan sharks, gangsters and wiseguys, hoodlums and Boston has had its share of bookies and loan sharks, gangsters and wiseguys, hoodlums and hit men. Centerville, Massachusetts Images of America Series. Vacant: Although the property is vacant, do not enter unless interior access is available.

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