Lorain’s International Legacy
Polish immigrants first came to Lorain as an extension of German immigration. Most of the first Polish immigrants were from German-Poland. However, when the news reached Poland that there were jobs and opportunity, all types of Poles came to Lorain. The last wave of Polish immigrants came from Russian Poland and the Baltic provinces of Russia sometime in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The Polish community in Lorain had a lot of diversity as there were Polish immigrants who had been educated in Germany to those from Russian-Poland who had zero education. At first, Polish immigrants lived in slum-like conditions with a family of ten or more living in a single rented room. But thirty years later, these same Polish immigrants would live in single-family homes with their children attending high school. The creation of various Polish-American clubs and societies helped Polish communities network and connect with other people in the city who faced similar setbacks and were able to overcome them, following melting-pot ideals.
In 1900, the Poles in Lorain formed their own Polish-language ethnic parish, Church of Nativity, and by 1909 a second Polish parish, St. Stanislaus, was formed.