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The Frank & Sylvia Pasquerilla Heritage Discovery Center, part of the Johnstown Discovery Network, is a community center that contains several attractions: the "America: Through Immigrant Eyes" exhibit; the Johnstown Children's Museum; the Iron & Steel Gallery; and two additional galleries. It also houses the Galliker's Cafe and the 4th Floor Ethnic Social Club. The HDC is operated by the Johnstown Area Heritage Association (JAHA). Welcome!
|Ethnic Social Club|
Last Friday at the Ethnic Social Club
JAHA regularly opens the Ethnic Social Club on the last Friday of the month at 5:00 pm, with music starting at 5:30. This casual, relaxed event is a great way to end the month. Visit JAHA's calendar of events for Last Friday information, as well as other JAHA events for the whole family.
Last Friday takes a hiatus in November and December 2015 because of the holiday season, but we have a great 2016 planned! Upcoming dates:
About the Ethnic Social Club
The Ethnic Social Club is one of several new amenities added to the Heritage Discovery Center during its 2007-2008 renovation. Located on the fourth floor of the building, the club's bar, furnishings and decorations create the authentic atmosphere of a Johnstown ethnic social club. This space is used for special events that are sponsored by JAHA and by other organizations, and is available to rent for private events (see the Facility Rentals page for more information about all JAHA facilities available for rental, and general rental policies).
The bar and backbar in the social club date from the 1940s and were designed in the Art Moderne style, and have been carefully restored. They were part of the West End Polish Citizens Club, which was originally founded to help Polish immigrants become citizens. The club was located on Fairfield Avenue before it closed in the early 1990s. Other furnishings in the club, including the tables and a blackboard, come from the Slovenian Home in Lorain Borough.
A very special feature of the club is the Autopiano, which was built in the early 20th century and has since been electrified. Restoration work on player pianos was the avocation of the late Ed Regan, a steelworker, who worked on hundreds of Autopianos during his lifetime. This Autopiano stood in the family home and was donated to JAHA by the Regan estate, along with scores of rolls for the piano ranging from Tin Pan Alley classics to "YMCA" by the Village People.The red and black linoleum tile floor was chosen to complete the atmosphere of an authentic social club. Other decorations include a metal poster for Grossvader Old German Lager, which was once brewed in Johnstown by the Emmerling Brewing Co., and JAHA expects to add more social club memorabilia in the near future.
Ethnic social clubs played a major role in Johnstown's history, and many are still active today. At their peak, more than 100 clubs were active in Johnstown. Initially, they were founded to help recent immigrants adjust to life in America, providing needed social and economic support, including insurance benefits, citizenship classes, English classes and more. By the end of World War II, most clubs filled a purely social function, and as the clubs' native languages shifted into disuse many clubs began admitting members of other ethnic groups. For more on the rich history of Johnstown's ethnic clubs, see Down at the Club: An Historical and Cultural Survey of Johnstown's Ethnic Clubs by Curtis Miner, which is available in the gift shop of the Heritage Discovery Center.
Photos on this page by R.A. Maurer.