CLUB AZTECA plays a pivotal role in the life of the Mexican-American community in Greater Cleveland. The first substantial group of Mexicans (see HISPANICS) to migrate to Cleveland arrived shortly after the end of World War I. At first they maintained their cultural ties informally, but as time passed the early settlers decided to establish a forum to discuss mutual problems and to preserve their cultural heritage. In 1932 that forum was formalized with the founding of Club Azteca. Felix Delgado was the club's first president.

In 1945 the club was officially incorporated, but it still lacked a home, its members taking turns hosting meetings. It was not until 1951 that the members had accumulated sufficient funds to buy a facility. From their accumulated savings and donations, members were able to acquire a building at 5602 Detroit Ave. Members then began the task of renovating and decorating the building, which officially opened its doors in 1957.

Club Azteca sponsors 2 annual celebrations commemorating important events in Mexican history. The first event marks the Cinco de Mayo victory of the Mexicans over the French in 1862. The second is Mexican Independence Day, which occurs on Sept. 16. Because these celebrations are attended by more people than the club building can accommodate, they have been held at the Sokol Hall on Clark Ave., and in more recent years at ST. MICHAEL CHURCH on Scranton Rd. Besides serving as a meeting hall for the club, the facility, with its small kitchen, bar, and dance floor is also used for various social activities. Fridays and Saturdays are dance nights for members. The club had 75 full-time members and some 200 social members in 1995.

Club Azteca Records (copies), WRHS.

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