News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Top Story 2

April 3, 2010

Historical Society showcases Terre Haute’s rich ethnic diversity

11 groups recognized as part of display

TERRE HAUTE — It may be a little hard to imagine, but — thanks largely to immigrants — Terre Haute was growing at an astonishing rate 100 years ago.

From 1900 to 1920, the population of Vigo County nearly doubled from 62,000 to 100,000.

“This was just like a western boom town,” said John Daniel, whose ancestors came from Italy and Wales in the first years of the 20th century. They were among the thousands of immigrants to settle in the Terre Haute area a century ago. A quick look at Terre Haute City Directories from the early 1900s shows plenty of ethnic diversity. The directories show listings for the Polish National Alliance, the Hungarian Workingmen’s Sick and Death Benevolent Society, the Germania Society and the Hebrew Ladies’ Aid Society to name only a few.

“Each ethnic group seemed to take care of their own,” said Marylee Hagen, executive director of the Vigo County Historical Society, which is honoring Terre Haute’s immigrants through May with a special exhibit. “The immigrants here were what made this place what it was.”

In all, 11 specific ethnic groups that have settled in Terre Haute are being recognized with displays at the Historical Society. The groups include Syrians, Romanians, Germans, Italians, Indians, Scotch, Welsh, Irish, French, African American and Jewish. The exhibits include clothing, photographs, dolls, books and other items representative of the various groups.

According to the 1910 U.S. census, the largest ethnic groups in Terre Haute were Germans and Hungarians, Hagen said.

“I heard Romanian all the time,” said Michael Buzash whose father came to Terre Haute from what would later become Romania in 1915. Many Romanians settled in the northeast section of Terre Haute and many found work at Highland Iron and Steel Co., at Fourth Avenue and 29th Street, he said. Buzash recalls hearing the Romanian language in his home, at church and at social gatherings.

There were about 400 Romanians in Terre Haute around 1920, Buzash noted.

Joe Kosarko, whose grandparents immigrated from Hungary in the early 1900s, also recalls hearing the language from the old country spoken in his home. His parents would “often speak Hungarian … when they didn’t want us [kids] to understand them,” he said with a laugh.

Doctors Anil and Dipa Sarkar came to the United States in the 1960s and settled in Terre Haute about 40 years ago. They are among the approximately 150 Indian families in the area today, Dipa said.

The Terre Haute Indian community is a close knit group, the Sarkars said. Other ethnic groups also retain social organizations today, such as the German Oberlander Club and the Hungarian Hall, which was founded in 1909.

According to 2006-2008 U.S. census figures, Terre Haute’s population of about 59,000 included about 900 people of Asian heritage, including Chinese (214), Indian (182), Vietnamese (153), Korean (111), Filipino (84) and Japanese (74).

African-Americans make up 10.5 percent of Terre Haute’s population, according to the census figures. People of Hispanic or Latino heritage number more than 1,300 and make up more than 2 percent of the population.

Immigrant groups have made and continue to make important contributions to the Terre Haute area.

“They provided good, dependable work,” Kosarko said of the large Hungarian population that mostly settled in the area in the early 1900s. Many were also skilled craftsmen, he said. “And cooking. Cooking is a big part of Hungarian culture.”

Coal mines provided many of the jobs for the east European and Italian immigrants, noted Daniel, whose family settled in western Vigo County.

“They kept the mill going,” Buzash said of the Romanians working at Highland Iron and Steel.

Churches, lodges and taverns were often the center of religious and social life for immigrant groups in Terre Haute. Sonka Irish Pub on Wabash Avenue was actually started by Romanians, Buzash noted. According to early City Directories, the business was started by George and Milania Sonca in the 1930s.

Rozgany’s restaurant at 15th Street and Maple Avenue was another meeting place for ethnic Romanians, Buzash added.

Free black people from North Carolina were among the first distinct, non-native American groups to arrive in Vigo County. Many settled in Lost Creek township about 1850, according to the Historical Society exhibit.

The goal of the Historical Society’s exhibit is to expose people to the richness of Vigo County’s ethnic heritage, Hagen said.

“We’re all immigrants unless you’re an Native American,” Daniel said. “There’s no limit to the contributions the different groups have made.”



Arthur Foulkes can be reached at (812) 231-4232 or arthur.foulkes@tribstar.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Top Story 2
  • Emmy Nominations_Ter .jpg ‘Game of Thrones’ earns a leading 19 Emmy nods

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — The sprawling and bloodthirsty saga “Game of Thrones,” defying the Emmy Awards’ grudging respect for such fantasy fare, emerged as the leader in the nominations announced today with 19 bids, including best drama series.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • MET 033114 GREG ZOELLER MUG.jpg GREG ZOELLER: State’s lawyer has duty to represent state in marriage lawsuit appeal

    Recent federal court actions that first struck down Indiana’s statute limiting marriage to the traditional definition, and then stayed that order pending appeal, have left many in our state in legal limbo.

    July 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • Judge strikes down Kentucky's gay marriage ban

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A federal judge in Kentucky struck down the state's ban on gay marriage on Tuesday, though the ruling was temporarily put on hold and it was not immediately clear when same-sex couples could be issued marriage licenses

    July 1, 2014

  • APTOPIX Gay Marriage _Morg.jpg ACROSS INDIANA: The latest news after gay marriage ruling

    Pence: Marriage should be a state-by-state choice

    GOP leader: Supreme Court must act on marriage

    Some counties wait to issue gay marriage licenses

    Gay marriage opponents say they 'warned' of ruling

    Same-sex couples in Indiana hail equal treatment

    Indiana AG says it will appeal gay marriage ruling

    Judge strikes down Indiana ban on gay marriage

    1st gay couple marries legally in Indianapolis

    June 25, 2014 3 Photos 1 Story

  • Obama_Morg.jpg Obama: U.S. should have paid maternity leave

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama said Monday that the United States should join the rest of the industrialized world and offer paid leave for mothers of newborns.

    June 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Obit-Ruby Dee_Ter .jpg Daughter: Actress Ruby Dee dies at home of 'natural causes'

    NEW YORK (AP) — Ruby Dee, an acclaimed actor and civil rights activist whose versatile career spanned stage, radio television and film, has died at age 91, according to her daughter.

    June 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mosaic Potholes _Ter .jpg Chicago man filling potholes — artfully

    The perfect pothole might not exist for many people — but for mosaic artist Jim Bachor, it’s one with a nice oval shape. Bachor began filling those potholes a little more than a year ago, after one in front of his house became a hassle.

    June 12, 2014 3 Photos

  • Staten Island Fire _Ter .jpg 34 injured in Staten Island fire

    NEW YORK (AP) — Fire tore through three townhouses on Staten Island early today, injuring 34 people including two young children who were tossed out of a smoke-filled second-floor window into the arms of neighbors below, authorities and witnesses said.

    June 5, 2014 3 Photos

  • Germany Van Gogh~s Ea_Ter .jpg German museum shows live replica of van Gogh’s ear

    BERLIN (AP) — A German museum has put on display a copy of Vincent van Gogh’s ear that was grown using some of the Dutch artist’s genetic material.

    June 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • Heat Pacers Basketball Pacers keep hope alive with win over Heat

    Paul George and the Pacers got one win Wednesday night.
    Now comes the hard part: Winning an elimination game at Miami against LeBron James and the Heat.

    May 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • MET 050414 PINK SHADOW.jpg Awareness advocates gather to ‘Paint the Town Pink’

    Pink.
    It is the color of the ribbon painted on the pavement at the corner of Sixth Street and Wabash Avenue in downtown Terre Haute. It’s also the color associated with women and breast cancer.

    May 4, 2014 4 Photos

  • MERS Virus American_Tayl.jpg MERS-CoV: Mysterious virus found in Indiana

    Health officials on Friday confirmed the first case of an American infected with a mysterious virus that has sickened hundreds in the Middle East.

    May 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • MET 041314 PAINT PARTY.jpg Going purple: ‘Honoring those who are still fighting’ against cancer

    Every stroke of paint that touched the roadway had a profound meaning to a small group of painters on Sunday.

    April 13, 2014 4 Photos

  • Ukraine_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Tuesday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, April 8:

    April 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • NCAA Kentucky UConn F_Tayl.jpg UConn wins NCAA title, 60-54, over Kentucky

    No conference wanted them. Several teammates and their coach left them. The NCAA wouldn’t have them.
    UConn won it all anyway.

    April 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • TV-Letterman Retiring_Ter .jpg Letterman’s departure will reshape late-night

    NEW YORK (AP) — Jimmy Fallon’s fast start replacing Jay Leno on the “Tonight” show the past two months had a secondary effect: David Letterman suddenly seemed old.

    April 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • Colts Owner Arrested _Ter .jpg Police: Colts owner had $29K in cash when arrested

    CARMEL, Ind. (AP) — Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay had $29,000 in cash and bottles of prescription drugs in his vehicle when he was arrested on suspicion of intoxicated driving, according to a police arrest report.

    March 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Malaysia Plane_Ter .jpg UPDATE: Relatives sob as Malaysia confirms plane is lost

    BEIJING (AP) — Relatives shrieked and sobbed uncontrollably. Men and women nearly collapsed, held up by loved ones. Their grief came pouring out after 17 days of waiting for definitive word on the fate of the passengers and crew of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet.

    March 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • APTOPIX Chicago Train_Ter .jpg Train derails, climbs escalator at Chicago airport

    CHICAGO (AP) — An eight-car Chicago commuter train plowed across a platform and scaled an escalator at an underground station at one of the nation’s busiest airports early today, injuring 32 people on board, officials said.

    March 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Snohomish Mudslide_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Monday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, March 24:

    March 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • NYC Explosion_Ter .jpg Searchers scour rubble after blast kills 7

    NEW YORK (AP) — Rescuers working amid gusty winds, cold temperatures and billowing smoke pulled four additional bodies overnight from the rubble of two Manhattan apartment buildings, as the death toll rose today, to at least seven from a gas leak-triggered explosion.

    March 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Film Casting Jesus_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Friday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, March 7:

    March 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • US Obama Ukraine Russ_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Tuesday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, March 4:

    March 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • 86th Academy Awards -_Ter (2).jpg ‘12 Years a Slave’ wins best picture at Oscars

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Perhaps atoning for past sins, Hollywood named the brutal, unshrinking historical drama “12 Years a Slave” best picture at the 86th annual Academy Awards.

    March 3, 2014 2 Photos

  • MET030114swope shaffer.jpg VIDEO: Mardi Gras at the Swope

    Teresa Shaffer was handing out beads and masks at the Swope Art Museum's Mardi Gras celebration Saturday night. The event is an annual fundraiser for the downtown museum.

    March 1, 2014 2 Photos 1 Video

  • Married Priest_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Friday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, Feb. 28:

    February 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Planet Bonanza_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Thursday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, Feb. 27:

    February 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Backyard Gold Bonanza_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Wednesday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, Feb. 26:

    February 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Obit Ramis_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Tuesday

    Harold Ramis, creator of comedy classics, dies at 69. The writer-director-actor created a hugely influential body of work, including such films as “Caddyshack,” “National Lampoon’s Animal House,” “Ghostbusters” and “Groundhog Day.”

    February 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Nets Lakers Basketbal_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Monday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, Feb. 24:

    February 24, 2014 1 Photo

Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Kim Kardashian Hits Up Valentino Show in Paris World's Tallest Water Slide: See It for Yourself Four Kids, Two Adults Shot Dead Near Houston Connecticut Boy Dies Inside Parked Car Argentina to Face Germany in World Cup Final Police: Prostitute Accused in Overdose Death Service Held for 200 Whose Bodies Went Unclaimed Israeli Offensive Escalates in Gaza Attack Fans Dying to Be Near Jazz Greats Raw: Obama Shoots Pool in Denver "Hotwives" Spoofs Reality TV Raw: Rocket Explodes Over Israeli Wedding APNewsBreak: Different Attackers in Benghazi? Robots Gearing Up for Their Own 'World Cup' Dodgers Found Partly Responsible in Fan Beating Raw: 10-year Sentence for Ex-New Orleans Mayor Obama Talks Economy, Slams Republicans Weaver Reprises Ripley Role for 'Alien' Game Today in History for July 10th Sterling Testifies in Los Angeles Clippers Trial
NDN Video
2014 Emmy Nominees: 8 Snub Shockers Watch Kelly Ripa Get Soaked! 'Game of Thrones' Leads 66th Emmy Awards Nominations 'Referee' Hands Out Yellow Cards for Social Faux Pas in NYC 7 Infamous Sports Blowouts Argentina tops Holland in World Cup semifinals Emma Watson Is Va-Va-Voom in Valentino News flush: Japanese toilet exhibition making a splash Emmy Nominations: What to Watch For Photographic 'Proof' That LeBron Is Leaving Miami - @TheBuzzeronFOX Elephant Pool Party at The Oregon Zoo Must-See! Berry and Fallon Form Human Hamster Wheel Pilot buys pizzas for travelers delayed by storm Klose nets record, Germany rout Brazil 7-1 'Purrmanently Sad Cat' Looks Adorably Sad All the Time Pharrell 'humbled' by success of mega-hit 'Happy' Day After: Brazil Reeling in WC Loss Jennifer Lawrence Facepalms Emma Watson Athletes Bare All for ESPN Magazine's Body Issue Raw: Brazil Fans Leaving Stadium Before Half
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity