Tag Archives: Silesia

Warsaw, Indiana and other non-Polish oddities

Polish place names crop up all over North America and other parts of the globe settled by Poles. Nothing particularly amazing about that, but when you’re lying in bed with the dreaded January virus it’s possible to become a little obsessed with looking them all up. From there it’s a small step to collecting photos of all these geographical orphans, and from there it’s more or less inevitable that one will move on to putting together a blog post about it. It’s a cycle with all the hideous inevitability of the slippery slope from sniffing magic markers to crack cocaine.

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You spelled Warszawa wrong

The Warsaws

North America boasts at least 15 Warsaws. Like a big lummox I always assumed this was because people from Warsaw migrated there and couldn’t be bothered to think of a new name for their new town. In fact the proliferation of Warsaws in the United States was politically motivated. In 1794 in Poland Tadeusz Kościuszko led a rebellion against the occupying powers of the Second Partition. The rebellion failed and even more Poles found it advisable to seek a new life in the New World. Working from first hand accounts she had heard from these refugees the American author Jane Porter wrote Thaddeus of Warsaw (published 1803) an historical novel based on the uprising and the deeds of Kościuszko, who was already an heroic figure in the US for the prominent role he had played in the American Revolution (War of Independence) twenty years earlier. The novel was a huge success and all sorts of people got excited about Kościuszko all over again. Many of them got so excited that they decided Warsaw was a much better name for a town than, say, Buffalobuttock or Thiswilldoville, so they changed it. Almost none of these towns had any significant Polish population at the time.

To add to the confusion some of the brighter communities remembered that Thaddeus (Tadeusz) wasn’t actually from Warsaw and decided to call their towns Kosciusko instead (two surviving communities; one in Mississippi and one in Texas), and some Polish immigrants also decided to change the names of their towns from New Szczecin or Nowy Katowice to Warsaw for simplicity’s sake.

Warsaw, Kosciusko County, Indiana

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Warsaw, Indiana… they have tools.

Warsaw, Indiana is by far the largest of the surviving US communities to bear the name, with a present-day population of about 13,000.

Interesting facts: The town’s motto is “Orthopedic Capital of the World,” which is probably why you’ve never met anybody who admits to coming from there. The first resident to install a telephone was Dr. Eggleston in 1882: his number was Warsaw 1. A shady sounding character by the name of Paul E. “Mike” Hodges was mayor four times between 1952 and 1983 and I like to believe he looked a lot like Boss Hogg off the Dukes of Hazard.

Best website quote: “In addition to orthopedics, Warsaw: 1) is the home of the largest printing presses in the world, 2) home to the world’s largest manufacturer of projection screens, and 3) home of the famous CoCo Wheat’s breakfast cereal.” Just how big are those printing presses?


Warsaw, Duplin County, North Carolina

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West Hill Street, Warsaw, North Carolina. Ain’t no trains a commin…

Interesting facts: Originally known as Mooresville the town changed it’s name to Warsaw in 1855. Told you it was true.

Best website quote: “During the same year, a merchant named Thaddeus Love moved to town to be the stationmaster of the Duplin Depot. At the time, a biography of a Polish national hero, Tadeusz Kosciuszko, was extremely popular. The Joane Porter book, entitled Thaddeus of Warsaw, furnished Thaddeus Love a catchy nickname. In fact, Love’s nickname was so appealing, that by 1847, the community was already known in legal circles as “Warsaw Depot.” When the town was incorporated in 1855, the community was officially designated as Warsaw.”

Warsaw, Gallatin County, Kentucky

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Small town America… they have hardware

The third-largest of the American Warsaws, just.

Interesting facts: Erm…

Best website quote: “The city has a total area of 1.5 square miles of which 1.0 square mile is land and 0.5 square mile is water.” So, a third of your city is under water, perhaps you should be twinned with Wrocław?

Warsaw, Hancock County, Illinois

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The Warsaw post office. You have to wonder what would happen if you posted a letter to Warsaw Illinois in Warsaw Masovia, somewhere a post office employee would just explode surely.

Interesting facts: The first settlement in the area was a fort established by future US president Zachary Taylor to fight the British. Well it’s a fact anyway.

Best website quote: “Whether just passing through or staying for awhile, there are no strangers here in Warsaw.” That might just be because nobody ever goes there.

Warsaw, Richmond County, Virginia

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Warsaw, Virginia is for lovers. You can tell I’m running out of real information can’t you

Interesting facts: “Warsaw was originally called Richmond County Courthouse. It was renamed Warsaw in 1831 in sympathy for the Polish struggle for liberty”. I’m sure the Polish struggle felt much better, if not much more liberated.

Best website quote: “To have your child seat inspected, please call 804-333-3737 for an appointment.”

Warsaw, Wyoming County, New York

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Warsaw, New York… you can turn left there

Interesting facts, website favorite thing… whatever: “Warsaw’s growth and its physical appearance was especially influenced by the salt industry. Between 1878 and 1894 Warsaw became the nation’s largest producer of table salt.” A whole sixteen years at the pinnacle of the table salt industry can be a powerful rush for a town.

Warsaw, Sumter County, Alabama

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Now that’s a small town…

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…also not a very busy one

Warsaw, Walsh County, North Dakota

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There’s a definite tool, or should I say tuel, theme to these places

A genuine Polish community! Apparently it remained largely Polish-speaking until the mid 20th century. It has about 200 residents and a Catholic church (St. Stanislaus’ of course) big enough to accommodate the population of Nebraska.

Warsaw, Washington County, Mississippi

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Warsaw, Mississippi seems to consist of just this bend in the road with its bike/tractor bar

Warsaw, Rice County, Minnesota

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A sign! A sign!

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This is the kind of road that says “Why are you living in Warsaw Minnesota… get out now!”

Warsaw, Kaufman County, Texas

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See comment above on the usefulness of roads

Interesting facts: “The site was settled before 1840 and called Warsaw Prairie. A post office operated in the settlement from 1847 through 1858. The community had a population of fifteen and two businesses in 1936. Afterward, however, Warsaw stabilized at about sixty residents; fifty-eight persons lived there in 1988 and 1990”. ‘Stabilized’ may be a polite term.

Other places

Perhaps surprisingly there seem to be very few communities named after Polish cities other than Warsaw. There are a scattering of Danzigs, Breslaus, and Stettins (the former, German names, of Gdansk, Wrocław, and Szczecin respectively) but few others. These are some of the exceptions, all of which seem to have been Polish immigrant communities.

Lublin, Taylor County, Wisconsin

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If there’s ever a fire in the village hall they’re sorted

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Interesting facts: Population: 108. Churches: St. Stanislaus Catholic Church, St. Mary’s Polish National Church, Holy Assumption Orthodox Church. Town president: Bill Wisniewski.

Best website quote: “Special Features of Lublin: Pig Roast, Municipal Sewer system, Senior citizen nutrition site, …and more!”

Silesia, Carbon County, Montana

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The road to Silesia, Montana if you dare

Torun, Portage County, Wisconsin

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Not even a usable Google Earth image of this place

Torun, Wisconsin is part of the larger originally Polish community of Portage County. Other communities in the area include Plover, Ellis, Amherst, Custer, and Polonia.

Breslau, Pierce County, Nebraska

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Maybe it was a town once

Danzig, McIntosh County, North Dakota

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Danzig, North Dakota in about 1915

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Danzig, North Dakota cemetery today. Either headstones weren’t in fashion or this was an undead community.

Clearly a German-speaking community, but included here for completeness.

Best website quote:
“I am writing this history of my hometown, Danzig, North Dakota, simply because I do not want it to be forgotten.”

That other Poland

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If you must live in a Poland, why not this one?

The Pacific island of Kiritimati, formerly known as Christmas Island, has four settlement: Poland, London, Paris, and Banana (honest). Poland, Kiribati has a population of about 250 and apparently got its name thanks to the efforts of a Polish sailor who helped the local inhabitants build an irrigation system.

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Poland, from above

In the 1950s Britain put a bit of a crimp in property prices on the island by conducting a series of nuclear weapons tests there (Operation Grapple). At a dull moment in dinner-table conversation you can point out the Britain once nuked Christmas, Poland, and London all at the same time.

If you’re reading this and you’re from one of these places say hello, and I apologize in advance for taking the mick.

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English-speaker’s guide to the 8th of March: the day when Polish women come out of the shadows

The 8th of March is Women’s Day in Poland – an annual event that used to be just another opportunity for men to buy their girlfriends, wives and mothers flowers and chocolates. For some time, however, it’s been growing as the biggest festival of women’s rights. As an opportunity for women to voice their opinions and persuade people that women have some common interests. That they should take matters in their own hands: do business, get into politics, demand equality within the family, in the workplace etc.

Manifa 1 Manifa 2

As the manifesto of 2008 Toruń Manifa (march of protesters) says, ‘Women are everywhere, they are 50% of the society. Yet their voice is not being heard. Women issues and problems women have are ignored and marginalised. We are fed up with this. Therefore it’s high time we did something about it.’

Among the demands, this movement voices, are: proper sex education in schools; easy access to contraception; abolishing the gender role stereotypes that people are socialised to; right to decide about oneself and one’s body; no more treating women as sexual objects; no more treating women like little girls whose opinion doesn’t matter; no more ignoring the needs of women who are elderly, poor, homosexual, of different ethnicity, of low social standing, handicapped or in some other way not-matching the mainstream stereotype of what is feminine.

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This is a grass-roots democratic movement with no one single nationwide organiser. In each town a local committee forms itself, comprising NGOs, university gender studies scientific associations, informal groups or individuals. Therefore these events should be rather seen as a wider movement powered by various people. This tends to be difficult to comprehend for the media, who are used to dealing with a clear hierarchy.

Manifas are cheerful and fun events with lots of open-minded people, colourful clothes, and a serious message. It is a good idea to join this lot in a weekend, you might meet some interesting people. It happens sometimes that a counter demonstration, in this or that city, are organised by nationalist youth groups, who might shout hateful slogans. Be warned – if you’re a sensitive person. Yet there is no danger, as the police are always well prepared to ensure everyone’s safety.

Join the action in your city with this All – Poland guide:
This post will be updated when further news are released.

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G D A Ń S K / S O P O T / G D Y N I A

8 March manifa launches at 14:00 from Cinema City Krewetka in Gdańsk, ul. Karmelicka 1. Colourful and loud march of women will be accompanied by samba sounds

Other events in Tricity:

7 March, 16:00 Exhibition opening “Women in Sejm”, Biblioteka Główna UG (University of Gdańsk Library), ul. Wita Stwosza 53, Gdańsk

7 March, 17:00 Political debate with Iwona Guzowska (Civic Platform),Izabela Jaruga-Nowacka (The Left and Democrats), Anna Kornacka (Women’s Party) and Beata Maciejewska (Greens 2004). Wydział Prawa i Administracji (Law and Administration Department), Audytorium C, ul. Bażyńskiego 6, Gdańsk

8 March 20:00, Afterparty at Faktoria, ul. Rzemieślnicza 26, Sopot.
Programme includes
– Hubert Bilewicz’s presentation on homoerotic motifs in paintings of Tamara Lempicka.
– Exhibition of paintings by Anna Mackiewicz “Woman, woman, woman…”
– Presentation of feminist cartoon satire
– Music by DJ A.A.

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Ł Ó D Ź

8 March Manifa launches at 15:00 on the corner of ul. Łodzianki (former Piotrkowska) and Pasaż Włókniarki (former Schiller) with unveiling of a Woman of Łódź (Łodzianka) monument.

Other events in Łódź:

1 March 21:00, Party raising funds for Manifa, Drag Shows, Club la Foufoune

6 March 18:00,  Iza Desperak lecture “Why a flower is not enough for Eves?” at UŁ Ethnology Institute, ul. Jaracza 78, room 35

7 March (time tba), Women’s Lemon Night + opening of an exhibition of photographs entitled “Our ladies”, Cinema Cytryna

Workshops for teachers, educators and leaders at Centrum Praw Kobiet (Centre for Women’s Rights), ul. Piotrkowska 115, left wing, first floor. Participants will receive certificates.
7 March 14:00 – “Gender and human rights in youth education”
7 March 16:30 – antihomophobic workshop “Teacher without prejudices”
8 March 12:00 – “Intermediate Gender”

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K R A K O W

8 March Manifa launches at 14:00 from Barbakan.

Other events in Krakow:

3 March: 20:00, Party “Feminism the Slovakian way”, Kawiarnia Naukowa (ul. Jakuba 29). Knohe band from Bratislava, doing electronic music. Best outfit competition – fancy dress encouraged.

4March 17:00, Film screening: “Anatomie de l’enfer”, Kino 18, ul. Floriańska 18, 2nd floor

4 March 19:00, “Seeking the traces of goddess” – discussion forum at eFKka foundation, ul. Krakowska 26/1 (in Polish)

5 March18:00, Film screening: “Iron Jawed Angels”, the herstory of Alice Paul + discussion moderated by Agata Teutsch. Klub Bunkra Sztuki.

8 March 20:00, The Dolls party, Cafe Stranger, ul. Dietla 97.

15-16 March, WenDo workshop – self-defence and assertive attitude class for women. For details contact agata.teutsch@wendo.org.pl.

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2104.jpgP O Z N A Ń

8 March Manifa launches at 14:30 near Stary Marych (corner of Półwiejska and Strzelecka), will go through Stary Rynek to Plac Wolności.

Slogan: POzostaje nam tylko ironia (All we have left is irony)

This year’s manifa in Poznań will concentrate critically on the current government’s attitude to women’s issues.

Other events in Poznań:

7 March, 19:00, Debate with politicians on the situation of women after the 2007 election, (Głośna Samotność Bookshop, ul. Ratajczaka 18)

8 March, 17:30, Dia de Mujeres, Głośna Samotność Bookshop, ul. Ratajczaka 18

8 March, 21:00, Afterparty in Klubokawiarnia Meskal, ul. Nowowiejskiego 17 (corner of Młyńska)

9 March, 12:00, Open information meeting about breast cancer and cervical cancer prevention. Ośrodek Babiląd, ul. Bukowska 31/6

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Manifa ToruńT O R U Ń

8 March Manifa will launch at the Old Town Market Square near Copernicus statue (at 14:00), going through ul. Szeroka, ul. Świętej Jadwigi to New Town Market Square and back.

Slogan: Kobiety wyjdźcie z cienia (Women, come out of the shadow!)

Other events in Toruń:

4 March 18:30: “Dakini and the Guardian Lady – the angry face of womanhood in the tradition of Tibetan Buddhism” lecture at the English Department of the Nicolaus Copernicus University. Collegium Maius – Wydział Filologiczny, Fosa Staromiejska 11, room 311 (2nd floor).

6 March 19:00: Movie screening: “If Walls Could Talk 2”, Przestrzeń Alternatywna LaLucza, ul. Podmurna 30/4, (part of Women’s cinema month at LaLucza).

7 March (time tba): Interdisciplinary conference: “Female perspectives: Woman – a gender, a phenomenon, a human or a subject of research?”. Various speakers. Muzeum Okręgowe, Kamienica pod Gwiazdą, Old Town Market Square.

8 March 20:00: Afterparty (entrance fee 3zł) at NRD/Galeria Dla… ul. Browarna 6.
Exhibitions of works by Xavier Bayle (“More Than Bodies” – what is woman’s body?) and photographs by Beaty Ziemowska and Katarzyna Jankowska (“Kobiety na Rozbracie” – )
Performances by Xavier Bayle (“History of one liberation” – Polish version of the bobbits, as Mickewicz would have never described it); by To Masz Cebo (live installation “TEST”); and by Dagmara Pochyła (installation with performative participation of the artist “NEWS”)
Party: DJane LU: experimental, electronica, breakcore, drill, digital hardcore, hard step with Drag Queens and Drag Kings.

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Manifa SilesiaS I L E S I A
( K A T O W I C E)

8 March Manifa launches at 11.00 from the square in front of Teatr Śląski in Katowice.

Slogan: Solidarność jest rodzaju żeńskiego (Solidarity is of feminine gender)

Manifa in Silesia will stress the need for solidarity between women. Solidarity above differences: in class, financial status, education, profession, health, political or religious denomination, cultural background, age or sexual orientation.

Organisers encourage to bring bicycles, noise-making devices and fancy hats.

Anyone wishing to lend her hand in preparing signs, and other manifa gear, is asked to pop to Złoty Osioł Restaurant (ul. Mariacka 1) at 9:00 am.

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S Z C Z E C I N

9 March (!!!) Manifa launches 12:00 from Plac Lotników through Plac Grunwaldzki, City Council building to Rusałka (where Marzan, the male version on Marzanna, will be drowned).

Slogan: Świadoma kobieta to zdrowa kobieta (Woman aware of her rights is a healthy woman)

This year’s Manifa in Szczecin will concentrate on health issues. Women often dedicate their lives to both housework and professional work, taking care of their family they ignore their own health. Many conditions are therefore discovered too late to be treated. Women are uninformed in health matters due to lack of accessible information, caused by insufficient government policies in health awareness. Unsuitably equipped state surgeries, worsening image of medical staff, long waiting list – discourage women from taking interest in their health. Szczein’s Manifa will also stress the problem of infertility and IVF. Infertility treatment should be included free of charge within the state healthcare system. Prenatal examination should be available to all women.

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Manifa WwaW A R S A W

8 March Manifa launches at 12:00 from Plac Defilad near Teatr Dramatyczny.

Slogan: Wielki Marsz Solidarności Kobiet.

Other events in Warsaw:

8 March, 18:00: Post-manifa chill-out. Sylwia Chutnik promotes her book “Kieszonkowy Atlas Kobiet” (“Pocket atlas of women”), Świetlica Raster, ulica Hoża 42 m.8

More from Warsaw to be announced.


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