From Ohio History Central
Marijin Spolek was the first Slovenian social organization in Cleveland, Ohio.
During the late 1800s and the early 1900s, large numbers of Slovene immigrants came to the United States of America. In 1900, fewer than ten thousand Slovene immigrants resided in Ohio. By 1920, more than thirty thousand Yugoslavians resided in Ohio. Slovenia was part of Yugoslavia at this time. Most of these Yugoslavians and Slovenes settled along Lake Erie, especially in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1910, more than fourteen thousand Slovenes resided in Cleveland alone, giving Cleveland the third largest Slovene population of all cities around the world.
Slovene Ohioans established numerous organizations to celebrate their homeland and to assist their fellow migrants. Upon first arriving in the United States, many Slovenes were destitute. To assist recent arrivals, in 1890, Cleveland resident Joseph Turk, who supposedly was Cleveland's first resident from Slovenia, established Marijin Spolek. This group acted as an insurance agency. Members assisted each other financially, providing health, death, and burial benefits. The organization also played an important role in creating the first Slovene Roman Catholic Church in Cleveland. Marijin Spolek remained in existence for only three years, but several additional organizations quickly replaced this one, continuing to provide assistance to Cleveland's Slovene residents. The Marijin Spolek illustrates the influence that Slovene immigrants have had on Ohio's development.
- Van Tassel, David D., and John J. Grabowski, eds. The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996.