The House of Poland History
Excerpts from Maria A. Katny "House of Poland Chronicles"
1935 California Pacific Exposition
In 1935-36 Balboa Park in San Diego was a main scene for the California Pacific Exposition.
Frank Drugan, Executive Secretary of the Exposition and the Director for the Foreign Participation for the Exposition, brought about the idea to establish the post Exposition permanent ethnic presence in Balboa Park. The international village called the House of Pacific Relations was opened on March 28, 1937. At that time, Frank Drugan contacted a group of Polish workers from the local CONSAIR and officially invited Poles to get organized as a group and to join the House of Pacific Relations.
1938 House Of Poland - Grand Opening
The first meeting of the group was held in 1937 in the residence of Mr. Boleslaw Kugel. The group adopted the name "Polonia Club". In late 1937, five members of the Polonia Club signed a Charter Application for Membership in the House of Pacific Relations. Those members were: Dr. Chester Witkowski, Rudolf Miller, M.O. Dudzinski. Boleslaw Kugel and M.Drabent. The Polish group was admitted to the HPR, received the fifteenth bungalow in Balboa Park. and prepared it for the grand opening, which took place on September 4th, 1938 at 2:00pm.
1939 First Bylaws
During the first years of its operation, the House of Poland became one of the most populous and very active cottages in the House of Pacific Relations. In January 1939, House of Poland approved its first Standing Rules and the Bylaws.
World War II
During World War II, the House of Pacific Relations ceased its activities after United States Navy Hospital took control of Balboa Park and almost all buildings, including international village, were used by military personnel. During that time the members of the House of Poland held occasional social meetings in various rented places in San Diego. In February 1944, the members of the San Diego Polish - American community registered in the State of California the new nonprofit organization: Polish-American Association of San Diego.
1948 Post War Re-Opening
On January 1st, 1948 Ed Raymond, Z. Raymond, Boleslaw Kugel, Rudolf Miller and L. Raymond signed the petition for the re-occupancy of the Polish Cottage in Balboa Park. The City of San Diego reverted to the House of Pacific Relations fifteen bungalows serving nineteen nationalities on August 1st, 1948. The House of Pacific Relations received the cottages for use based on renewable occupancy permit, bestowed by the City of San Diego. From August 1948, the House of Poland and the Polish - American Association of San Diego formed a "tandem" entity, associated by personal union (s): all officers of the Polish-American Association served as the officers of the House of Poland. The Polish-American Association became the main sponsor of the House of Poland. In the fifties, sixties and seventies, the House of Poland was sponsored also by the Polish National Alliance and the Polish Woman's Alliance.
1995 House of Poland - nonprofit corporation
In January 1995, the House of Poland and the Polish-American Association of San Diego split. The House of Poland was incorporated with the State of California as a nonprofit corporation ( Code sec.501 (c) 3), member of the House of Pacific Relations and is operating as formed until today. During all the years of service, the House of Poland has marked an impact on San Diego cultural and the international landscape. Every year on the first Sunday of May, the House of Poland holds its lawn program, commemorating Polish Constitution of May 3rd -first democratic constitution in Europe.