Near the beginning of the twentieth century, thousands of Polish immigrants embarked upon the American Dream in Worcester as the city's lowest-paid mill workers. Slowly, they carved out their own "Polonia," with Millbury Street as the center. By the 1920s, Worcester's Polish community had built a parish with the largest parochial school in the county, established several civic associations, and become an influential group in the city's economy and ethnic composition. The Polish Community of Worcester celebrates the resilient and patriotic spirit of Worcester's Polonia from 1870 through 1970, with rare photographs from private collections and family albums.
Author Bio: Barbara Proko, John Kraska Jr., and Janice Baniukiewicz Stickles are second-generation Polish Americans whose grandparents settled in Worcester before 1914. A former journalist, Proko is deeply involved in tracing her ancestral roots and belongs to several Polish genealogical societies. Kraska, the vice president of a Worcester business, is active in area civic groups and Polish social and professional organizations. Stickles is a longtime advocate for historic preservation. Her career has focused on marketing and public relations.