Polish Emigrants in Jersey City
by Jean Dupon

The American Melting Pot absorbed thousands of immigrants from eastern Europe in the late nineteenth century. In the region surrounding the Visła (Wistula) River, governed by the Russian czar, seeking a better new life, scores of families who identified themselves as "Poles" left Europe and streamed into the greater New York CIty area. They settled in neighborhoods like Brooklyn's Greenpoint and Maspeth and also in the downtown section of Jersey City, NJ. By 1886, enough Polish Catholic families lived in the area formerly known as "Paulus Hook" that one of the first Polish-American Catholic parishes, St. Anthony of Padua was established by Fr. Ignacy Barszcz.
These early families sponsored siblings, cousins and acquaintances and by 1905, St. Anthony's served enough Polish Catholic families that a satellite parish, called Our Lady of Czestochowa was established. Some of the Poles prospered and sought less crowded neighborhoods and many moved to the northwestern portion of Jersey City known as the "Heights" starting about 1910. Another Polish Catholic parish was established to serve this community, known as St. Ann's Polish Church.

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