Cadott Lodge 141
Bohemian Hall Events
2017 Events/Meetings at the Hall
Fri May 5, 2017: 7:00 - 10:00pm $10.00 per person
Long Live the Squeeze Box
Seated concertina concert
Contact Dana Carlson 715 644-0454 Reserve tickets for pickup at the door
Yellowstone Art Tour - September 9 - 10, 2016. 9am to 5pm.
Polka Dance - October 2, 2016, with Cynor Classics from 1pm to 5pm
Youth Sock Hop - Friday, April 10th, 7-9pm, Cadott Lodge Hall
Potato Pancake and Jaternice Breakfast - Sunday, April 12th, 7:30am - 1:00pm, Cadott Lodge Hall
Long Live the Squeeze Box - Friday, May 1st, 7:00pm - 10:00pm, Cadott Lodge Hall
March 20, 2014: Meeting at 5pm
April 11, 2014: Bingo from 7-9pm at the Bohemian Hall. .25 cent cards - meat bundle raffles. Every game is a winner!!
June 7, 2014 - Noon - Bohemian Hall - Youth Finance Workshops on Budgeting and Credit Cards
May 2, 2014, 7pm: Long Live the Squeeze Box, Accordian and Concertina Concert
Bohemian Hall - 7 miles north of Cadott on State Hwy 27
Reserve tickets recommended
Call Dana 715 644-0454
Tickets $10.00 each This is not a dance, the audience is seated.
Hot beefs, kolachys and refreshments will be available before and
during the program.
August 21, 2014 - 5pm - Riverview Park pot luck picnic
August 22 - 24, 2014 - Youth Play (see below poster for time)
September 19 - 20, 2014 Yellowstone Art Trail 10am-6pm
September 25, 2014 - 5pm - Meeting at ZCBJ Bohemian Hall
October 12, 2014 - celebrate 110th Anniversary with Polka Dance by Cynor Classics
April 6, 2013: Spring Cleaning of Bohemian Hall – 12 noon
April 12, 2013: Bingo 7 pm
May 3, 2013: Long Live the Squeeze Box – 7 pm
May 11, 2013: Portage County Cultural Festival
July 31, 2013: YELL! Group Activity
2013 Summer play - August 16th, 17th and 18th
October 2013 - Bingo at the hall - date to be determined
Jan 17: Christmas party meeting - Alberta Mays – 6 pm
March 14: Cadott Color Center - 10:30 am
March 28: Cadott Color Center - 5 pm
April 6: Bohemian Hall – 12 noon
May 3: Bohemian Hall – 5 pm
Aug 15: Potluck Picnic Riverview Park – 5 pm
Dec 5: Cadott Color Center - 5 pm
HISTORIC MILESTONE AT BOHEMIAN HALL - 2013 PLAY
In 1913 a foldable stage was added at the Bohemian Hall to accommodate the Goodwill Actors who performed Krakonos, the Hall’s first play. (Krakonos is a mountain spirit from Bohemian folklore.)
The existing stage was built in 1930 and the first play on the new stage was Who Didn’t Love Didn’t Live. Stage curtains painted by Emil Piler from Weyerhauser were added in 1931, and the stage curtain with advertisements, was added in 1943. In the early years, the Bohemian Hall was a social gathering place for the early Czech immigrants who came to plays, dances, and parties that lasted until till dawn. All social activities ceased during World War II and they never regained their prominence like in earlier years.
After the restoration started in 1999 the Hall hosted a play or two. Then in 2006-2008, under the guidance of student Cade Sikora, several local 4-H clubs presented their mini dramas for the public. In 2009 Cade wrote his first play, Bumping Off the Boss and started the Bohemian Hall Amateur Theatre (BHAT). BHAT was a group of students that were committed to doing theater and bringing it to the Cadott Community. The BHAT quickly established itself as a theatrical entity specializing in comedy, intrigue, and drama with their period-based plays. All but one of their plays has been penned by the group and have taken places in eras ranging from the 1920's to the 1950's. The ensemble casting allowed each character to be the focus equally and helped to tell an engaging story for everyone in the audience. It is no coincident that this year’s play Wedding Bells and VooDoo Spells takes place one hundred years ago, in 1913! Cade Sikora’s unique playwriting style had him penning Act I and as the cast transformed into their characters of the play, they wrote Act II.
The play is about John Crawford (Kaedan O'Brien) who is about to wed his childhood sweetheart Gloria Lindeman (Lauren Manier). As all of their closest family and friends gathered for the occasion such as Gloria's widowed mother, Beth (Kelly Irish), her overly flirtatious Aunt Marjorie (Kylie Bell), John's mysterious magician cousin, Robert (Blake Johnson), and Beth's tipsy neighbor, Violet (Brittany Evans), Gloria's wedding dress mysteriously disappears. Adding to the crazy mix of characters is), John's stern uncle, Reverend Frank Malone (Quinn Sikora), and, an unorthodox nun, Sister Mary Marcella Marguerite Modesta Monica Olga (Saige Sikora) join in the search for the missing dress. Jared Johnson is technical director.
The students from BHAT have committed most of their spare time this summer to play practice and their hard work showed off this weekend as the audience enjoyed the play. There were bursts of laughter from the spectators and outbreaks of clapping during the show. Facebook comments were “two thumbs up” and “small town group with big city talent”. We can all be proud this group of students that are part of the Bohemian Hal Amateur Theatre and from the YELL group for all that they do for the Bohemian Hall and the surrounding community. The Bohemian Hall is affiliated with Western Fraternal Life Association, formerly Z.C.B.J.
Some of the students have been in all 5 BHAT plays and for others, it was their first time. As the final curtain came down Sunday evening, the cast in Wedding Bells and VooDoo Spells, became part of Bohemian Hall history. Five years of the Bohemian Hall Amateur Theatre and one hundred years since the first play at the Bohemian Hall.
2013 Youth Play...
Bohemian Hall History
The wfla/ZCBJ Bohemian Hall is an historical site and a landmark in the Cadott area located 7 miles North of Cadott, WI at the intersection of State Highway 27 and 135th Avenue. ZCBJ Lodge membership was formed in by Czech/Bohemian settlers from the Crescent, Drywood and Cadott areas. Named Bratri Novych Hradu (Brothers of New Castles) ZCBJ Lodge No. 141, they were inducted into the ZCBJ National Organization in 1904. The Bohemian Hall was built 3 years later , in 1907, as a meeting hall and a gathering place for its members.
ZCBJ Lodge No. 141 proudly celebrated its Centennial Membership with the wfla/ZCBJ organization in 2004.
Zapadni Ceska Bratrska Jednota (ZCBJ) translates to Western Bohemian Fraternal Association (WBFA).The name of the organization was formally changed to Western Fraternal Life Association (wfla) in 1971. wfla/ZCBJ is a fraternal association organized in 1897 with its national headquarters in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. From its beginning, the organization was important to its members, offering life insurance and also a support system for Czech immigrants and those of Czech descent. In 1947, ZCBJ lodge membership and insurance was opened to all people, regardless of whether or not they were of Czech ethnicity. Lodges, lodge buildings and lodge members are scattered throughout the United States. ( wfla insurance and other benefits are available to everyone today; to become a member, ask for info: [email protected] or ask a member of the wfla Lodge No. 141 of Cadott. )
Throughout history, the European regions, now known as the Czech Republic (Bohemia and Moravia) and Slovakia, have been areas of turmoil. For centuries, the Czech people suffered through invasions and wars by foreigners competing to control their much desired land and resources or to gain religious power. Constant conflict in their homeland made the opportunities in America a good reason to emigrate.
The first Czechs came to America as early as 1633. But in 1848, a large Czech emigration was prompted by revolution. There were those who came to America to escape religious, political or military oppression. Some wouldn’t conform to the conditions of the conquering rulers and were exiled and many just chose to leave their semi-serfdom status. Others came for land ownership or economic opportunity. Many would later send money to bring their families here; but some had plans to return to their homeland one day. Whatever the reason, once n America, it was important to the Czech immigrants to settle and stay together in an attempt to preserve their ethnic identity and culture and also to support and protect their families from hardship. One such settlement was here, just North of Cadott.
The ZCBJ was only one of the many Czech organizations to offer life insurance benefits to its lodge members. Also, as a means of preserving their Czech heritage, the ZCBJ provided a support-like system of social and ethnic activity to promote friendships with the idea of "neighbor-helping-neighbor". Since 1904, as a fraternal organization, Lodge No. 141 has donated to many worthy causes: the Red Cross, scholarships, various charities, school projects, hurting families and food pantries, are just a few. wfla/ZCBJ encourages fraternal activities and also promotes the cultivation and preservation of the Czech/Slovak history and culture. These traditions live on at the wfla/ZCBJ Lodge No. 141 of rural Cadott. They continue to place a strong emphasis on families, fraternal and community friendships, volunteer service and working with area youth.
Monthly Lodge Meetings are held at the local Bohemian Halls all across the U.S. , District and State meetings are held annually and National Conventions are convened every 4 years in various cities. But there was also "school" to cultivate the "mother tongue" and to teach English. Organized Gymnastics (Sokol ) helped to make the youth physically and mentally strong. Through the years, the Hall was the site for many social gatherings such as wedding and anniversary celebrations, birthday and card parties, funerals, reunions, etc. Its walls have echoed the sound of music : country, gospel, some rock ’n roll, but most often the "squeezers" and Old Time Polka Bands played for the dancers ‘til dawn! Numerous plays and musicals were performed on its stage surrounded by hand-painted backdrops. And, with all the activity, there was always plenty of food and drink : Bohemian specialties, such as vepřové (pork), knedlίčky (dumplings), kysané zelí (sauerkraut), jaternice (sausage), koláčhy (Bohemian pastry) and pivo (beer). For many years, the Bohemian Hall was a place where people celebrated life. It has socially served both lodge members and the community, as well.
However, by the early 1970’s, the use of the Bohemian Hall had lessened, and the main activities taking place were lodge meetings and the meals sponsored by the Bohemian Cemetery Association including a Memorial Day Service with a Potluck Lunch for the community and the Father’s Day Charcoal Chicken Dinner, a fundraiser for the Bohemian National Cemetery, located just ½ mile North of the Hall. The Lodge Hall was not being used as much as in the past, and time was taking its toll on the area landmark.
In 1992, through the combined efforts of wfla/ZCBJ Lodge No. 141 and the Cadott Historical Society, both the Bohemian Hall and the Bohemian National Cemetery were recorded as Historic Sites on the State and National Registers of Historic Places. What an honor for this unique place of Czech heritage … this place with its own historical charm, special sprit and grand character. What an honor for the Cadott Area, as well… the Bohemian Hall is truly a cultural monument to the early Czech/Bohemian Settlers and to this community.
By 1999, out of the 272 lodge members of Lodge No. 141, only a handful remained active. Of those few, many were in their 70’s and 80’s and it was getting harder for them to host events. Also, the Bohemian Hall was receiving only minimal repairs and upkeep. However, that same year, there was spark of new, younger interest in the old lodge building. It was thought that the once lively Bohemian Hall should not remain so idle and with a little help from new members and volunteers, could have a more hopeful, useful and active future. (The alternative, at the very worst, that the building may eventually fall to total disinterest, only to be lost into the pages of history.)
With renewed interest, the "Restoration and Preservation of the Bohemian Hall" began. Members are, again, becoming involved, and even non-member volunteers are lending helping hands. The Lodge No. 141 membership has once-again grown to nearly 300. In support of the restoration, there have been memorials and monetary donations, as well as prize and food donations for new lodge fundraising activities, and also donations and discounts of supplies and materials needed for improvements and repairs of the Hall. All of this and more is from individuals, businesses and charities in support of the restoration effort, and the lodge is most appreciative. Still, there is the hope for more new members and the need for members to become active, even in some small way.
Community response for restoration fund-raising events has been positive and supportive. Some events held in the last 10 years include: the "Long Live the Squeeze Box" Program, a "Potato Pancake and "Jaternice" Breakfast", Koláchy classes, Bohemian Bake Sales, thrift sales, a Gospel Night, Pork Dinner & Polka Fests and Old Time Dances. Non-profit youth events include Join Hands Day, 50’s-60’s Sock-hops, and a Youth Koláchy Class to teach this classic art and tradition for posterity’s sake. Tours of the Bohemian Hall have been given for individuals, families, girl scouts, organization groups and bus tours. Members and volunteers have represented the Bohemian Hall by participating in Ethnic Cultural Festivals and sharing the Czech heritage with the UW Eau Claire, Chippewa Valley Museum, CESA, Genealogy Societies, school classrooms and presentations at assisted-living facilities. A grand Centennial Celebration was held in 2004. The sale of our wfla/ZCBJ Bohemian Hall Centennial Cookbook, Lodge No. 141 continues to be a great success.
To date, some improvements and replacements completed at the Bohemian Hall include: interior painting and stenciling; window and balcony dressings; wheel-chair-accessible ramp and deck; kitchen stove, sink and cabinet, refrigerator, soda and beer coolers, center-stage steps; electrical wiring updates; charcoal pavilion rebuilt; main section of hall roof trusses replaced and insulation added; new tables and chairs; new windows for the entire hall; and a large library display of photos and written articles exhibits an excellent record of the past 100 years. (if you have any photos of lodge events or personal celebrations, copies would be appreciated.) In 2008 the restroom facilities were upgraded with 2 extra-large portable restrooms (more user-friendly and wheel-chair accessible) with a roof covering and a storage shed. The hall’s maple wood floor has been re-finished to its original beauty. The community is using the Hall, once again, for community events and personal celebrations. Most recently, the Hall has been rented for Wedding Ceremonies, Anniversaries, Receptions, Showers, Reunions, Dances and Birthday Parties; and the stage is once again being used by 4-H Clubs for Plays.
The Restoration and Preservation of the Bohemian Hall has been a huge undertaking; but, in the past 10 years with the help, willingness and support of those interested in preserving this piece of history, many goals have been accomplished. wfla/ZCBJ Lodge No. 141 thanks anyone who has participated in any way and welcomes everyone to join them in the upcoming events and activities. This continued support will help the Restoration of the Bohemian Hall and Preserve this historical site for years to come.
Information for this article was gathered from : The wfla Fraternal Herald, 7/1972 ; The Cadott Community Centennial Pub., l965 ; The Czech Book Recipes & Traditions, by Pat Martin, 1981 ; The Czech Republic in Pictures, Lerner Pub., 1995; The Cadott Sentinel ; and Shirley Starck, by-line author for the Cadott Sentinel. To: become a member, insurance information & to join wfla ; help or volunteer with activities or the restoration project; request a calendar of events, help work on the library ; share photos or news articles (we would like to copy them for our photo library & will return the originals to you); or to recount & share any hall history, stories and memories (we would like to journal that info. also) ; purchase cookbooks; to rent / book the hall for a gathering or to arrange a tour the Hall for individuals or groups…..