Welcome to the web blog of the Grand Lodge of the ČSPS of Baltimore located at 1300 Horners Lane, Baltimore, MD 21205 and the Offical Site of the Bohemian National Cemetery of Baltimore, MD. Our mission is to promote the history and culture of the Bohemian people. The Lodge supports the “Bohemians of Baltimore Museum,”ancestral data base, Visitors’ Center, and the Bohemian National Cemetery of Baltimore.
What is the Grand Lodge Č.S.P.S?
The Grand Lodge Č.S.P.S. is a Czech benevolent society that was formed in 1854 by the Bohemian immigrants to facilitate their socialization in the U.S. and assure the continuation of their history, culture, language, and spirit. Č.S.P.S. supported a Czech language school, social events, provided health and life insurance, and created a cemetery for its members. The Společnost of Baltimore City, lodge 26, operated in Baltimore City and the counties of the state of Maryland.
In 1854, the Bohemian immigrants banned together to form a benevolent society that would serve to unite them and provide a forum for social activities, provide services, help obtaining insurance, promote the continuing education in the Czech language, and a common place for gathering and support. In the early and mid 1880’s, there was an influx of people from Bohemia into the U.S. Since Bohemia was land locked, many Czechs traveled to Germany and traveled to the U.S. to either the New York or Baltimore Harbor.
On November 8, 1880, the following signers of the papers of incorporation formed the Grand Lodge Č.S.P.S of Baltimore City: Voztech Vohrna, Josef Vavrina, Václav Neuman, Otto Hilser, Joseph Schir and Dominik Zelenka who served as the Board of Directors for the first year.The lodge had a unifying effect on the Bohemian community for many years. However, as time passed, leadership aged and the membership faulted.
Other branches of this organization spread to other states with the western migration. The first Texas Č.S.P.S. lodge was organized April 13, 1894, and by 1987, there were 27 Č.S.P.S. lodges in Texas alone. The Č.S.P.S. lodge # 29 in Wilber Nebraska was founded, in 1881. The Č.S.P.S. sponsored activities in St. Louis and remote towns throughout the Midwest. The Č.S.P.S. lodge in Iowa was established in Cedar Rapids, in 1879. Membership grew quickly and other Č.S.P.S. lodges were formed in Cedar Rapids, as well as other towns.
Many descendents of those original founders and members have demonstrated an increased interest in reviving the lodge and supporting the original goals of the society while preserving the history of the Bohemian community. With the help and guidance of the Maryland Historic Society and volunteers, we are reestablishing the membership, restoring the site at Horner’s Lane, establishing an ancestral database, and a small museum. The carriage house and cottage are in the process of being repaired for use as a museum and activities center.