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SOKOL CLEVELAND was a Czech gymnastic, cultural, and educational organization founded in 1895. The Czech Sokol (Falcon) movement began in Prague, named for the native Czechoslovakian bird known for its strength and freedom, the qualities the movement wanted to cultivate through its program of gymnastics and physical training, while developing national pride and unity among CZECHS. Cleveland's first sokol, Sokol Cech, organized in 1879; by 1919 it had 148 men and 46 women members. In 1921 it merged with Sokol Havlicek (1905); by 1935 the combined Sokol Cech-Havlicek was the largest in Cleveland, with 500 adult and 250 junior members.

Sokol Cleveland organized in 1895 on Plymouth (Central) Ave. At the end of the first year, it had 94 members. In 1910 it built a hall at 8932 Quincy and organized a women's auxiliary. By 1935 it had about 400 members; in 1946 it opened a new hall at 20110 Harvard Ave. Membership declined from 127 in 1955 to 111 in 1959. In 1960 Sokol Cleveland merged with Sokol Cech-Havlicek, whose membership had declined from 129 in 1955 to 99 in 1959. Between 1960-64, membership in the new Sokol Cleveland Cech-Havlicek increased from 208 to 216. In 1985, however, the organization was dissolved; many of its members joined SOKOL GREATER CLEVELAND.

Ferdinand Jirsa Papers, WRHS.

Frank J. Bardoun Papers, WRHS.

Ledbetter, Eleanor E. The Czechs of Cleveland (1919).