HISTORY OF THE POLISH AMERICAN
CITIZENíS CLUB OF GARDNER, MASSACHUSETTS
After two years of organizing and planning, the Polish American Citizenís
Club of Gardner was Incorporated on May 12, 1915. Charter members of the
club were the following: Stanislaw Kulczyk, Romuald Kulczyk, Antoni
Pitklewicz, Franclszek Wysk, Konstantly Ambut, Michal Chudzik, and Mikolaj
In Its first years the club went through a great deal
of hardship. The meetings had to be held in the homes of different Charter
In the year 1927, when Antoni Cwalina was president,
they began to make plans for the buying of a club house of their own. This
they did, in buying a one family home at 294 Pleasant St. The necessary
improvements were made to turn this home into our Polish American Citizenís
Club of Gardner. Realizing that they would not have room enough for all
their Polish organizations to meet and gather, they started to make plans
for a new and large dance hall.
On October 28, 1929 our then president. John
Korhuszewskl, at a special meeting brought before the a motion that every
member of the club would loan the minimum of $25.00 without interest and
without a time unfit for the repayment of the loan, Some of the members
bought mortgage notes in sums of $100.00 to $1,000.00, on which there was
The committee for the building of the new dance hall
Antonio Bazydlo, Aleksander Szoc, Aleksander W. Pacocha, MacleJ Kodys,
Antonio Bandzul, Aleksander Powichrowskl, Antoni Szymczyk, Antoni Cwalina,
The opening of our new dance hall was on the 2nd
of March, 1930. At that time our Polish American citizenís club boasted a
membership of 70. Cash on hand of about $200.00 and a mortgage of $8,000 on
the $18,000 new dance hail. Within 8 years, the mortgage was paid for, plus
all other outstanding debts. At that time our young Polish men began to join
the Club. With both the new and old members working in harmony with our
older members, our Club began to grow in membership and finances.
During the Second World War, at least 150 members of our club answered the
call to arms for God and Country. The club, with the help of our local
Polish Relief Committee, sent our Christmas packages to all our Polish
service men and women, where ever were able to get in touch with them. Our
Polish Veterans gave their health and time, and following gave their lives:
Victor Tarmasiewlcz, Edward Plklowski, John Kulczyk,
Edward Petzolt, Albert Stomber, Louis Cyganiewlcz, Anthony Jaslnskl,
Henry Pilklewlcz, Wacy Kaclan, Anthony Hajkowskl, Joseph Kopicko,
Chester Kosakowskl, John Lendo, Harry Musnicki, John Slemlnskl, and
At the end of the war, when all our Polish Veterans
returned to their homes the Polish American Citizenís Club put on a Welcome
Home event second to none. Our We all then began to make plans for the
building of a new home or club rooms in the place where the old building had
stood for so many years.
In the year 1948, a building Committee was formed under the leadership of
Alexander Yablonskl, president. After many meetings and many plans we
decided to wait for times to change, so the Club could build a new Club for
less money than the current prices called for. Prices did not drop.
In the beginning of 1956 under the leadership of
Theodore Budzinskl, president. A new building committee was formed and
Stanley Koczan and Prancis Kowizan were named co-chairman, After a good many
meetings, a lot of work and patience, they put through the plans for the new
building for which the Grand Opening which was held on April 26, 27 and
In 1957, the club has a paid up membership of 350, with
dues of $6.00. For this fee, members and their families had the privileges
of the Club House on Pleasant St. and the Polish American Country club(now
our new and only site), off West Broadway. The club also was paying out a
maximum death benefit of $200.00. The building of the new Club was in excess
of $100,000.00. In the late 1960ís the membership declined and revenues
slumped. In spite of the downward trend an ambitious remodeling program took
place. The dance hall and basement areas were done over.
In the early 1970ís new members began to join the club in record numbers.
Through hard work and participation in many Club activities many of these
associate members have been voted in as regular members of the Club.
On Sept. 5, 6, 7, 1981, members of the Club made history by playing Softball
for 56 hours and 10 minutes. Under the direction of Ted Ayer, the PACC team
played a team sponsored by Girardi Distributors. This set a world record and
the name of the PACC was placed In the Guinness Book of World Records.
With this influx of new members came the resources to remodel the bar area.
The creation of the exercise room in the old PAV quarters soon followed. The
biggest under taking was the construction of a lighted softball field on the
grounds of the County Club, The field which took years of planning and
construction was completed in 1986. The Club hosted the State Softball
Championships in 1987. Now sitting on the softball field is our New PACC
Facilities on beautiful Kendall Pond.
In 1989, the Constitution and By-Laws of the Polish American Citizenís Club
were rewritten and printed, in 1990. the Club made changes to the membership
bar, which will now display trophies and other awards that the Club has
received over the years.
Tradition plays a big part In the Club; The PACC
Bowling League recently celebrated its 42nd anniversary. Over the
years, the Club has played an ever increasing role in the Community. The
Scholarship fund and the list of recent donations and contributions bear
witness to the Clubs commitment to the community. Just in the year 1989, the
Club has donated over to Community groups. Some of these are:
Elm Street School Field Trip
Monty Tech Booster Club
Gardner Little league
Gardner Police Safety Patrol Fund
Oakmont Softball Booster Club
Gardner Boys Basketball Boosters
Gardner High Baseball Boosters
Hervy Bowden Scholarship
Gardner High Girls Athletics Boosters
Westminster-Magical Maze Playground
Gardner Pop Warner Association
American Legion Baseball Team
St. Josephís Church
Gardner Wildcat Gridiron Boosters
Westminster Police Hover Craft Fund
Gardner Biddy Basketball
PACC Beer League Softball Team
Council of Aging
The above list is only a sampling of some of the activities that the Club
assists. There are many more. Also, the Club facilities are used by many
groups for meetings and functions.
Many of the members of the Club are involved in community affairs. Besides
working for the different City Departments. Many members have been elected
or appointed to different posts to include but not limited to: State
Representative, Mayor, City Councilor, School Committee, and other
commisions. Many members live in other communities and take active roles in
Today. the Club has a regular membership of 425. There
are also over 50 lifetime members. As one looks out into the future, it is
very clear that the unique combination of young and old members, regular and
associate members will continue to carry on the traditions of the past and
establish new ones.
In 1977, the Club quarters saw for the first time, the introduction of
pinball and video games. For many years, the idea of setting up a
scholarship fund had been talked about by many of the Club members.
Throughout the 1960ís the most talked about idea was to run an annual picnic
to generate funds. For various reasons, the idea never really caught hold.
In 1977, with the advent of arcade games, Club President, Henry Tarmasiewicz,
seized upon the idea of setting aside the proceeds from the pinball and
arcade games for a scholarship fund. With the concurrence of the membership,
a bank account was quickly opened at the Polish Credit Union. Soon after,
the membership met to establish rules for the annual awards and to select a
committee to oversee the awards and the trust funds. Each year all of the
income generated by the fundís investments is distributed to the recipients
matriculating at such diverse schools at Yale, Dartmouth, UMASS, Worcester
Tech and Mt. Wachusett Community College and others. Each year Club members
proudly view the fruits of a dream come true as the PACC assists their sons
and daughters in their pursuit of knowledge.
Of course today we have our first class facility in
which you see in the Home page and Photo Gallery for our members and guest
to enjoy for many more years to come.
Special thanks to Stephen "Ace" Yablonski for
maintaining and providing club history.