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History of the Polish American Citizens' Club

HISTORY OF THE POLISH AMERICAN CITIZENíS CLUB OF GARDNER, MASSACHUSETTS


After two years of organizing and planning, the Polish American Citizenís Club of Gardner was Incorporated on May 12, 1915. Charter members of the club were the following: Stanislaw Kulczyk, Romuald Kulczyk, Antoni Pitklewicz, Franclszek Wysk, Konstantly Ambut, Michal Chudzik, and Mikolaj Brodacki

In Its first years the club went through a great deal of hardship. The meetings had to be held in the homes of different Charter Members.

In the year 1927, when Antoni Cwalina was president, they began to make plans for the buying of a club house of their own. This they did, in buying a one family home at 294 Pleasant St. The necessary improvements were made to turn this home into our Polish American Citizenís Club of Gardner. Realizing that they would not have room enough for all their Polish organizations to meet and gather, they started to make plans for a new and large dance hall.

On October 28, 1929 our then president. John Korhuszewskl, at a special meeting brought before the a motion that every member of the club would loan the minimum of $25.00 without interest and without a time unfit for the repayment of the loan, Some of the members bought mortgage notes in sums of $100.00 to $1,000.00, on which there was interest paid. 

The committee for the building of the new dance hall consisted of:
Antonio Bazydlo, Aleksander Szoc, Aleksander W. Pacocha, MacleJ Kodys, Antonio Bandzul, Aleksander Powichrowskl, Antoni Szymczyk, Antoni Cwalina, Stanislaw Hajdukiewlcz.

The opening of our new dance hall was on the 2nd of March, 1930. At that time our Polish American citizenís club boasted a membership of 70. Cash on hand of about $200.00 and a mortgage of $8,000 on the $18,000 new dance hail. Within 8 years, the mortgage was paid for, plus all other outstanding debts. At that time our young Polish men began to join the Club. With both the new and old members working in harmony with our older members, our Club began to grow in membership and finances.

During the Second World War, at least 150 members of our club answered the call to arms for God and Country. The club, with the help of our local Polish Relief Committee, sent our Christmas packages to all our Polish service men and women, where ever were able to get in touch with them. Our Polish Veterans gave their health and time, and following gave their lives:

Victor Tarmasiewlcz, Edward Plklowski, John Kulczyk, Jospeh Plona,
Edward Petzolt, Albert Stomber, Louis Cyganiewlcz, Anthony Jaslnskl,
Henry Pilklewlcz, Wacy Kaclan, Anthony Hajkowskl, Joseph Kopicko,
Chester Kosakowskl, John Lendo, Harry Musnicki, John Slemlnskl, and
Joseph Slrnklewicz.

At the end of the war, when all our Polish Veterans returned to their homes the Polish American Citizenís Club put on a Welcome Home event second to none. Our We all then began to make plans for the building of a new home or club rooms in the place where the old building had stood for so many years.

In the year 1948, a building Committee was formed under the leadership of Alexander Yablonskl, president. After many meetings and many plans we decided to wait for times to change, so the Club could build a new Club for less money than the current prices called for. Prices did not drop.

In the beginning of 1956 under the leadership of Theodore Budzinskl, president. A new building committee was formed and Stanley Koczan and Prancis Kowizan were named co-chairman, After a good many meetings, a lot of work and patience, they put through the plans for the new building for which the Grand Opening which was held on April 26, 27 and 28, 1957.

In 1957, the club has a paid up membership of 350, with dues of $6.00. For this fee, members and their families had the privileges of the Club House on Pleasant St. and the Polish American Country club(now our new and only site), off West Broadway. The club also was paying out a maximum death benefit of $200.00. The building of the new Club was in excess of $100,000.00. In the late 1960ís the membership declined and revenues slumped. In spite of the downward trend an ambitious remodeling program took place. The dance hall and basement areas were done over.

In the early 1970ís new members began to join the club in record numbers. Through hard work and participation in many Club activities many of these associate members have been voted in as regular members of the Club.

On Sept. 5, 6, 7, 1981, members of the Club made history by playing Softball for 56 hours and 10 minutes. Under the direction of Ted Ayer, the PACC team played a team sponsored by Girardi Distributors. This set a world record and the name of the PACC was placed In the Guinness Book of World Records.

With this influx of new members came the resources to remodel the bar area. The creation of the exercise room in the old PAV quarters soon followed. The biggest under taking was the construction of a lighted softball field on the grounds of the County Club, The field which took years of planning and construction was completed in 1986. The Club hosted the State Softball Championships in 1987.  Now sitting on the softball field is our New PACC Facilities on beautiful Kendall Pond.

In 1989, the Constitution and By-Laws of the Polish American Citizenís Club were rewritten and printed, in 1990. the Club made changes to the membership bar, which will now display trophies and other awards that the Club has received over the years.

Tradition plays a big part In the Club; The PACC Bowling League has been in existence since 1948.  Over the years, the Club has played an ever increasing role in the Community. The Scholarship fund and the list of recent donations and contributions bear witness to the Clubs commitment to the community. Just in the year 1989, the Club has donated over to Community groups. Some of these are:
Elm Street School Field Trip
Monty Tech Booster Club
Gardner Little league
Gardner Police Safety Patrol Fund
Oakmont Softball Booster Club
Gardner Boys Basketball Boosters
Gardner High Baseball Boosters
Hervy Bowden Scholarship
Gardner High Girls Athletics Boosters
Westminster-Magical Maze Playground
Gardner Pop Warner Association
American Legion Baseball Team
St. Josephís Church
Gardner Wildcat Gridiron Boosters
P,N.L Club
Westminster Police Hover Craft Fund
Square Two
Gardner Biddy Basketball
PACC Basketball
PACC Beer League Softball Team
Council of Aging
The above list is only a sampling of some of the activities the Club contributed in the past.  Today the contributions continue in an effort to support the community. Also, the Club facilities are used by many groups for meetings and functions.

Many of the members of the Club are involved in community affairs. Besides working for the different City Departments. Many members have been elected or appointed to different posts to include but not limited to: State Representative, Mayor, City Councilor,  School Committee, and other commisions. Many members live in other communities and take active roles in their communities.

Today. the Club has a regular membership of 425. There are also over 50 lifetime members. As one looks out into the future, it is very clear that the unique combination of young and old members, regular and associate members will continue to carry on the traditions of the past and establish new ones.

SCHOLARSHIP FUND
In 1977, the Club quarters saw for the first time, the introduction of pinball and video games.  For many years, the idea of setting up a scholarship fund had been talked about by many of the Club members. Throughout the 1960ís the most talked about idea was to run an annual picnic to generate funds. For various reasons, the idea never really caught hold. In 1977, with the advent of arcade games, Club President, Henry Tarmasiewicz, seized upon the idea of setting aside the proceeds from the pinball and arcade games for a scholarship fund. With the concurrence of the membership, a bank account was quickly opened at the Polish Credit Union. Soon after, the membership met to establish rules for the annual awards and to select a committee to oversee the awards and the trust funds. Each year all of the income generated by the fundís investments is distributed to the recipients matriculating at such diverse schools at Yale, Dartmouth, UMASS, Worcester Tech and Mt. Wachusett Community College and others. Each year Club members proudly view the fruits of a dream come true as the PACC assists their sons and daughters in their pursuit of knowledge.

Of course today we have our first class facility in which you see in the Home page and Photo Gallery for our members and guest to enjoy for many more years to come.

Special thanks to Stephen "Ace" Yablonski for maintaining and providing club history.

 

 

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This site was last updated 11/26/07