Saving New York's History – Bohemian National Hall
From the Saving New York's History – 10 Years of a Restored Bohemian National Hall
Celebrating the 10 year anniversary of a restored Bohemian National Hall with photographs by Marian Beneš 
Exhibition: Jan 18 – Feb 8, 2018, BNH, Czech Center, 321 East 73rd Street, New York City​​​​​​​
Bohemian National Hall has been a center for Czech and Slovak immigrants on the Upper East Side of Manhattan for over a century. It is one of only a few well preserved original Czech buildings remaining in New York City and is an important symbol of the Czech contribution to the United States.    – Joseph Balaz, President of BBLA​​​​​​​
Photodocumentation: Marie Dvořáková and Pavel Semerák

Bohemian National Hall History Timeline

1892 – Bohemian Benevolent and Literary Association (BBLA) is established as an umbrella organization for over eighty Czech community groups and clubs.

1896 – Designed by architect William C. Frohne in neo-Renaissance palazzo style, Bohemian National Hall opens following successful Czech community fundraising campaign, including Antonín Dvořák-led concert in 1892.

1897 – BBLA enlarged the building eastward to fully accommodate activities in restaurant, bar, club rooms, top-floor ballroom/theater, basement bowling alley and rifle range.

1914 – WWI increases political awareness for those using the building. More than half a million Dollars of Liberty Bonds are sold here.

1939 – Political activity heightens following Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia.

1940 - 60's – As the Czech and Slovak populations moves out to the suburbs, fewer functions are held at the Hall, space in the building is rented out to other organizations.

1986 – Ghostly rotting building declared unfit for occupancy, though partial use permitted for occasional community events through 1990s.

1994 – Designated New York City landmark by Landmarks Preservation Commission.

1995 – Careful restoration of main façade completed by Czech-American architect Jan Hird Pokorny.

2001 –  Ownership of Bohemian National Hall was transferred from BBLA to the Czech Republic for a symbolic one US Dollar under the agreement that BBLA will reside in the building for 396 years.  

2003 – First phase of renovation begins based on drawings by Czech-American architect Martin Holub.

2005 – New core and shell of the building including the third floor is completed. Building opens for partial use.

2007 – Interior renovation of unfinished areas of the building, including ballroom, begins according to design of Czech architects Milan Kvíz and Atelier M1.

2008 – Commemorating 90 years of state independence, the Vice Prime Minister of the Czech Republic unveils fully renovated Bohemian National Hall on October 30, 2008.
Saving New York's History – Bohemian National Hall
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Saving New York's History – Bohemian National Hall

Celebrating the 10 year anniversary of a restored Bohemian National Hall in New York City with photographs by Marian Beneš
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