Rich history a gift to 21st century members as Polish American Citizens Club hits 100

Pattie McCormack, state Rep. John Moran, City Councillors Erin Murphy and Ed Flynn, Linda Zablocki, and Councillors John FitzGerald and Enrique Pepen.

The souvenir program from the dedication of the club building on Jan. 1, 1939, on Boston Street – 20 years or so before the Expressway was built.

The Polish American Citizens Club on Boston Street held its annual installation of officers for the first time since 2019 last Wednesday, Jan. 31. The session marked a continuation of the trend toward bringing back old traditions that had slipped away over time at the club.

The club building in the heart of Dorchester’s Polish Triangle is now 84 years old but the founding of the organization is technically 100 years old, the result of a group of Polish American citizens coming together to form a neighborhood club in the winter of 1924. It was officially incorporated in 1928.

Due to the Covid pandemic, the club had held off the dinners beginning in 2020, but the tradition had only been revived in 2017 in a nod to the past when the event each January was a hot time on the social calendar in Dorchester, drawing multitudes to the various club functions.

“Since the dawn of the club in the 1920s, they always had huge installation events with big politicos coming as well, and hundreds would come in the 1930s and 1940s,” said Erica Manczuk Stocks, the club secretary. “In 2017, we decided to revive it and bring it back. It might not be as big as it was in the past, but it is a lot of fun.”

President Stasia Kacprzak took the oath of office from Vice President Eric Basile during the 2024 installation of officers at the Polish American Citizens Club in the Polish Triangle on Jan. 31. The Club has revived the installation dinner tradition, a celebration that at one time attracted some 1,000 people to the club.

President Stasia Kacprzak and club members have put a great amount of effort into reviving the club in its membership, and in its physical appearance. The renovated bar area is now top-notch, as is the function room upstairs. Manczuk Stocks said they have been reaching out to long-time members, most especially Polish Americans.

“It’s the second- and third-generation Polish Americans we’re really trying to reach because many want to reconnect with their heritage and learn more about Polish culture and history,” she said.

Ten years after the founding, a group of Polish World War I veterans banded together to buy an old shoe factory on Boston Street and built the club’s home with community contributions in buying “bricks.” At its height, the club boasted more than 700 regular members.

Of international note, the club was central to the defection of close to 30 Polish sailors who had been on fishing vessels in Boston Harbor in January and December of 1988 at the height of massive worker strikes in communist Poland. A few of them jumped over the side into harbor waters while others took flight while on shore leave.

They gained refuge at the club and from there they began the process of seeking freedom in America. Some of the sailors, club members recalled, remained within the club’s walls for some time, sleeping in the basement.

Officers installed on Wednesday were Kacprzak, president; Eric Basile, vice president; Manczuk Stocks, secretary; Peter Dziedzic, treasurer; and directors Joanna Curry, Dawn Morris, Jay Judas, Keith Stocks, and Steven Poftak.

Taking the oath of office were directors Joanna Curry and Steve Poftak; Eric Basile, vice president; Erica Manczuk Stocks, secretary; and directors Keith Stocks and Dawn Morris.

Councillor John FitzGerald, state Rep. John Moran, President Stasia Kacprzak, Council President Ruthzee Louijeune, and Secretary Erica Manczuk Stocks.

Linda Frontczak, Stasia and Bogdan Kacprzak, and Mirek Frontczak.

From DJ’s Market, Kyle Sunter, Dawn Morris, Alina Morris, Dan Morris, and Eric Warsaw.

Andy Warot, of Veterans Post 37, Rev. George Zebrowski, Maria Seasiewicz, and Chris Planeta. Seth Daniel photos

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