Global True Lithuania Lithuanian communities and heritage worldwide

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia is among the "most Lithuanian" cities of USA and has the fourth largest total number of ethnic Lithuanians after Chicago, New York and Los Angeles (~6000).

It has an especially old (erected 1906) Lithuanian Music Hall, also known as Lietuvių namai ("Lithuanian House") in Lithuanian language (2715 E. Allegheny Ave). It is a separate red brick building inspired by art nouveau. Inside one may find the "Amber Roots" Club (celebrating Lithuanian handicrafts, culture, history and arts), an annual fair, language clubs, library, an exhibition of Lithuanian folk arts. Kanklės (traditional Lithuanian musical instrument) is the symbol of the Hall.

Lithuanian Music Hall in Philadelphia. Google Street View.

Another Lithuanian Club of Philadelphia, known as the Lithuanian National Hall, used to be located close to 2nd Avenue. Its building still stands and the name is still chiseled in stones but it has been remodeled into apartments (the Lithuanian Club closed in 1984). In a way it's going back to the roots as when the Hall was completed in 1900 it also included apartments. Afterward, the expanding Club needs and rental halls had pushed the residential use out.

Lithuanian National Hall in Philadelphia. Google Street View.

Towered neo-romanesque St. Andrew Church (1913 Wallace St.) still hosts Sunday mass in Lithuanian. The building has been acquired from protestants in 1942 after the Great Depression and War shattered hopes of the parish to erect its own new building.

St. Andrew Lithuanian church in Philadelphia. Google Street View.

Philadelphia has two more old Lithuanian churches.

The St. Casimir of southern Philadelphia (324 Wharton Street) is the oldest one (parish established in 1893) but it slowly faded away as the numbers of visitors diminished. In 2007 its 100-year old school has been closed while in 2011 the parish has been amalgamated with St. Andrew. The church is still open and hosts stained glass Windows of Marija Kaupas and Blessed Jurgis Matulaitis. The altar shows the burial of St. Casimir. Near the entrance, two angels are holding a Lithuanian message "Iženk geras, išeik geresnis" ("Enter as a good person, exit as a better person").

St. Casimir Lithuanian church in Philadelphia. A Lithuanian tricolor is waving nearby. Google Street View.

St. George Lithuanian church (3580 Salmon Street) has two floors, the first of them built for a school.

St. George Lithuanian church in Philadelphia. Google Street View.

Lithuanian communities also sprawled to the cities near Philadelphia.

Easton (pop. 70 000, ~0,5% Lithuanians), a suburb of Allentown had its St. Michael Lithuanian church closed in 2008 and acquired by a film studio in 2011. It is a pretty Gothic Revival building with an old rectory.

St. Michael Lithuanian church in Easton near Philadelphia. Google Street View.

In Bensalem, an old cemetery of Lithuanian National Catholics (an offshoot of Roman Catholicism) have been rediscovered. Their Mary church has long since gone.

Recommended literature: "Where Have All the Lithuanians Gone? A Study of St. Casimir’s Lithuanian Parish in South Philadelphia"

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