YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Reduced to a pile of rubble on Wednesday, Krakusy Hall was once a hub for the Valley’s Polish-American community.
From weddings to communions and many celebratory events, longtime Krakusy Society trustee and former president Joe Magielski pulled out some of the memorabilia that he has collected over the years from the hall, including a photo of the membership from 1939 — the year the hall first opened on South Avenue in Youngstown.
But after the building’s current owner fell behind in his taxes, the city hired a demolition company to bring the old building down this week.
Some are using the chance to grab a souvenir from the building. Rick Tkach snagged a couple bricks for his parents.
“They had their wedding reception here in 1958, as well as a company I worked for used to have their union meetings here,” he said.
As the old building comes down and the salvageable scrap is set aside, members of the Krakusy Society are waiting to see if there is a time capsule hidden behind the cornerstone.
“I’ve heard rumors that there’s some news articles of the time when the building was built, perhaps some plans, and also there’s rumors of a bottle of vodka,” member Kevin Downs said.
“I’m hoping that there is a time capsule so we can see what’s in there. Let the organization open it up and see,” Magielski said.
These days, there are still about 100 active members in the society, but word of the demolition has prompted renewed interest in the organization.
“We’re trying to find some property, trying to reestablish a physical footprint in the community so we can outreach a little bit more,” Downs said.