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History of Freeland, Pa.
St. Casimir's Roman Catholic Church

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St. Casimir's Church, built 1886St. Casimir's Roman Catholic Church - St. Casimir's was founded early in Freeland's history by immigrants from Poland and Lithuania. The cornerstone commemorated both the original wooden church (shown at left) and the newer brick one that was built 50 years later to replace it at the same location on Ridge Street.

St. Casimir's was closed a little over a century after its founding, and its parishioners joined the Freeland Roman Catholic Community, to later become part of the new Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church which combined the parishes of St. Ann's, St. Anthony's, St. Casimir's, and St. John Nepomucene.

In the early years of St. Casimir's, just up the street on the same block of Ridge St. was St. John Nepomucene's original wooden church. The view shown below left was photographed from just north of the Ridge and Luzerne intersection, looking south. Note that the street is unpaved, and there was what appears to be a fire hydrant nearby. The photo at right was taken a few years ago from roughly the same point.

[I have seen postcards with "Dead" marked on them before and I wonder if that means that for some reason they were undeliverable?]

Polish and Slovak churches, Freeland Polish church, Freeland

St. Casimir's Communion class St. Casimir's Communion class 1914, from Tom Yaruso: "Nice picture of St. Casimir's Communion Class 1914, Freeland. My aunt Verna Martonis from Highland is 5th girl from left, top row. Wonder how many people will know their old family members by looking at this picture?" Tom later added: "The priest is Father Inczara. The date on the picture is August, 2 1914."

St. Casimir's Choir, 1915, from Bob Rymsza, who wrote: I have recently had photos start to come in for my family in Freeland. None yet showing the saloon but I thought you would like this one from St Casimir. The inscription on the back says Easter 1915. From the 1916 picture on your webpage it appears to be a choir of some sort.

Here is his photo and a crop of it for a closer view of the peoples' faces. If you can identify anyone in this photo, will you please let me know? Thank you to Bob.

St. Casimir's choir, Easter 1915 St. Casimir's choir, Easter 1915

A few days later Bob wrote again to identify a few people in this photo. He wrote: I can tell you the names of two of the young ladies in that photo if you are interested. Everyone I'm about to talk about is on the bottom row. From the choir director, Cecelia is two to the left as you look at the picture. I am not sure but that "could be" her sister Victoria sitting between her and the choir director. Immediately to the right, as you look at the picture, of the choir director is Helen Casper. Kajeton and Antonia Rymsza had a son named Kayton (which is just a phonetic spelling of Kajeton because the "J" in Polish is pronounced as a "Y"). Helen Casper went on to marry Kayton.

He then shared three related photos to help with identifications: the photo at left here shows Cecelia and Helen; the middle photo shows Victoria and Helen; the photo at right shows six young women, about which Bob wrote: The two young ladies, on the outside of Helen Casper [in the choir photo], are also in this photo with Cecelia and Victoria but I have no idea who they are. Cecelia bottom left, Victoria bottom right, Helen Casper top right.

Cecelia Rymsza and Helen Casper Victoria Rymsza and Helen Casper Cecelia Rymsza, Victoria Rymsza, Helen Casper, 3 other young women

These five photos were sent to me by Ed Merrick, copied from the publication St. Casimir Church: 100 Years of God's Love 1886-1986. The captions are at the bottom of each photo. Ed added: According to the pastors listed in the publication, the priest in the 1916 communion photo would be Rev. J. Inczura and in the 1940s communion Rev. Peter Zardecki. On the left in the latter photo is Stanley J. Mackowiak, the choir leader.

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Here are some photos from the mid-1940s. Ed Merrick writes: For your consideration for the church pages are the certificates I received for First Holy Communion and Confirmation at St. Casimir's. The armband is also for First Holy Communion. I had the candle from that rite until I moved last time, and the guy who was helping me move helped himself to a few of my boxes, one of which contained the candle and other things worthless to him but precious to me, including papers I wrote in college. I am wearing the armband and holding the candle on July 29, 1945 in the garden of the house on Walnut Street where my Dad was raised, and where my aunts were then living.

St. Casimir's First Holy Communion certificate 1945 St. Casimir's Confirmation certificate 1946 Ed Merrick, First Holy Communion day, 1945 Ed Merrick's armband, First Holy Communion day, 1945

St. Casimir's at Christmastime

And this more recent postcard image also comes from Ed Merrick, showing St. Casimir's beautifully decorated for Christmas.

And here are two photos of the second, brick Church that were taken approximately 80 years after it was built.

St. Casimir's St. Casimir's

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