Mno.hu writes that after 14 years of work, the Hungarian museum opened in Albany, Louisiana last week. Hungarian settlers arrived in the area in 1896. The three families: the Bruskay, the Mocsáry and the Zboray family named the place Árpádhon (Árpád Home).
Hungarian settlers had arrived in the New World even before the three families. They founded new settlements, this is how Új Buda was founded in Iowa, Harasztytown in Wisconsin, Nyitra, Budapest and Tokaj in Georgia, and Kossuthville in Florida. But these agricultural settlements didn’t last for too long. Even though there are still Hungarian village-names on the map of the USA, they are not dwelled by Hungarians anymore.
The founders of Árpádhon – Photo: www.hungarianmuseum.com
Árpádhon is the only functioning Hungarian agricultural settlement, which “joined” the village of Albany founded around a train station in 1910. The founders travelled through the states to spread the news about the settlement and even published an article in Szabadság, the newspaper of Hungarians living in Cleveland.
The settlement grew quickly: it was dwelled by eleven families in 1900, two hundred families in 1920 and 1500 residents in 1935.
The Hungarian dwellers of the settlement dealt with logging in the beginning and later switched to peanut and strawberry cultivation. The later one flourished quite well, since Árpádhon is close to the city of Hammond, from where the products can be delivered easily to even the Great Lakes.
Something else that makes the settlement very unique is that it was the only Hungarian-dwelled place where the education was bilingual. The now decayed and assimilated Hungarian community moved its school from Springfield to Albany in 1927 into a small, flat building. The school functioned until 1944, then it was turned into an elderly’s home, which operated until 1976.
Traditional harvest dance – Photo: www.hungarianmuseum.com
The Árpádhon Hungarian Settlement Historic Society (HSHS), founded in 2003, set the goal to turn the building into a museum. But things didn’t go according to plan as several natural disasters hit Árpádhon, for instance, the Katrina Hurricane in 2005 and the floods of 2016.
Charity events were organised and a unique book was published about the local history to collect money for the museum. They eventually managed to repair everything and the third Hungarian museum of the USA opened.
The State of Louisiana and the Hungarian Embassy of Washington were represented at the event held in the end of September. Moreover, Dale Erdey, the onetime republican member of the senate, who was born in the settlement, gave a speech.
The locals expect many visitors due to the good location of the settlement. For that matter, the two halls of the museum are not ready yet, they’re still waiting for kind donations.
Featured image: www.facebook.com/HungarianSettlementMuseum