Detroit's Polonia

More than a century has passed since the first Poles settled in Detroit. The first communities were established on the east side of Detroit, but the colony expanded rapidly to the west neighborhoods, and Poles in Detroit still identify themselves as East- or Westsiders. The pioneers left Poland for freedom of language and religion, and to own property. They replicated village life in the big city, living in close-knit neighborhoods anchored by the parish church. Polish immigrants made cigars, built railroad cars, molded stoves, established businesses and breweries, and moved into the political arena. The struggles and triumphs of these early settlers are on display in the pages of Detroit Polonia, a photographic history that links future generations with their Polish heritage.