It was six years ago that the Carpatho-Rusyn Society (C-RS) purchased the former St. John’s Byzantine Catholic Cathedral to create a museum and educational center for the promotion of our culture. It had been built in 1903 exclusively for Rusyn immigrants. When our ancestors came to America, they had nothing. They worked very hard so that their descendants would have a better life. They also cared for the homeland they left behind. That’s why, on July 23, 1918, Rusyn-American leaders met at our center. There they recommended that Podkarpatska Rus join the newly established republic of Czechoslovakia. This was so the people they had left behind would enjoy the freedom and autonomy promised by President Wilson in his famous 14 points of self- determination.
What was wrong and what we did
By the time the C-RS acquired the building, it had been vacant for 11 years and was in need of an extreme makeover.
How we did it
After the initial excitement of obtaining the building, the realization of the humongous amount of work required set in. Where should we start? Where would the funds come from? So the first two years were spent discussing how to begin.
The first priority was to evict our feathered guests. We blocked off their access points. The shrubs, moss and debris from the roof were removed and holes patched.
|Gutters fixed and painted|
We next removed the old air conditioning units. The section of roof connected with the neighbor’s house was removed. The gutters were fixed, the chimney repaired.
Inside, the damaged inner walls were replastered and painted.
More of this story will be forthcoming in my next installment.