Croatians In Lorain

There is evidence that the first Croatians to arrive in America were sailors on the ships of Christopher Columbus. Most of them came from the Dalmatian coast region. The first permanent Croatian immigrants to the US arrived during the 1840s and 1850s. Most were from the Dalmatian region, settling in New Orleans and other Gulf Ports becoming prominent in the fishing business. Some of those immigrants also went to California, founding such well known American companies as Star Kist Tuna, Boskovich Lettuce Growers, just to mention a few.

       The second and largest group of Croatian immigrants arrived in the US from the late 1890s through the start of World War I. Most of these immigrants came from villages and small farms and came seeking better economic conditions for their families. At that time Croatia was associated with the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which had little industrialization and little opportunity. Those came with a desire to make life better for their families and a will to succeed. They settled in places where heavy labor jobs were plentiful. Jobs such as steel making, coal mining, lumbering, ore mining, factory work, textiles, tire making and other such work.

        The third wave was after WW II. This group was generally better educated than the first groups with many coming from cities. Many of these Croatians were victims of communism.

         The record of the first Croatian immigrant to Lorain is lost in the memory of time. But certainly the first to arrive was in the first part of the 1900s. A smaller second group arrived after WW II, but among them educated and professional people.