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Florida

Over the recent century Americans have been attracted to Florida in large numbers.

Most of Florida's Lithuanians arrived there after living in other states (rather than directly from Lithuania). After earning money in northern cities ~1970s some of them began exhchanging their former homes into ones at the Floridan seaside. There Lithuanians have attempted to recreate what they left in New York, Chicago or Boston: Lithuanian religious and secular activities. However, the era of great buildings were already passed by therefore the Floridan Lithuanian heritage is more modest.

Some 32 000 Lithuanians call Florida home today (only Illinois, Pennsylvania, California, Massachusetts and New York have more). Such growth in Lithuanian numbers coincided with gerneral growth of Floridan population. In 1900 (when Lithuanians were already arriving en masse to America) Florida had merely 500 thousand people while today it hosts 20 million (in comparison Pennsylvania, the top Lithuanian destination during the first migration wave, only grew from 6 to 13 million during the same era).

Saint Petersburg has a Lithuanian Catholic mission and a Franciscan monastery located in St. Pete Beach island (555 68th Ave). Lithuanian holy mass are held there. They are also held in the nearby multi-ethnic Most Holy Name of Jesus church on the other side of bay in Gulfport (5800 15th Ave S). Unlike in the rest of the USA, Florida have more churches where mass is held in Lithuanian than there are Lithuanian parishes. That's because Lithuanians were no longer building their own churches by the time they moved into Florida. Instead, they would arrange Lithuanian mass in existing local churches.

Lithuanian Catholic Franciscan mission in Saint Petersburg, Florida. Google Street View.

In 1964 Lithuanians built their own club in St. Petersburgh (4880 46th Avenue North). It is a single-floored edifice with multiple halls, adorned by a large columns of Gediminas symbol. St. Petersburgh and its suburbs has ~3000 Lithuanians, and St. Pete Beach with environs has ~2% of its population Lithuanian.

Lithuanian club in St. Petersburg. Google Street View.

In the rest of Florida Lithuanians mostly live in coastal towns and resorts as well. The communities exist in Daytona Beach, Miami, Sunny Hills, Cape Coral, Pompano Beach, Palm Beach (if you have information if any Lithuanian heritage there, please write in comments and the article will be updated).

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