Ohio History Journal

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Pastor, First Hungarian Lutheran Church, Cleveland


At Cleveland's University Circle stands the unpretentious

statue of Louis Kossuth, Hungarian patriot. It is one of the

many thousands of typical nineteenth-century creations found in

public gardens in almost any city of the Old World. Indeed, this

statue was shipped from Hungary and is the exact replica of the

one standing in a public garden at Nagy Szalonta.1 It was a

gift to the city in 1902 by Clevelanders of Hungarian descent,

commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of Kossuth's visit to Cleve-

land. Originally the statue was to be erected on Public Square

and only because of nationality jealousies2 did the official city

government reluctantly change this first location. Even then, the

city reserved for itself the right to remove it some day to a

court of honor.

The importance attached to the statue of Louis Kossuth by

Clevelanders at the turn of the century was well merited. There

are few public monuments in Cleveland which are so intimately

connected with the city's cultural past. Even today, it plays an

important part in the life of the large Cleveland Hungarian colony.

On Hungarian "Independence Day," usually celebrated on the

Sunday nearest to the Ides of March, thousands of Cleveland

Hungarians gather around it to rededicate themselves to the demo-

cratic principles propagated by Louis Kossuth, principles which

are identical with the spirit of the Declaration of Independence

and the Constitution of the United States. The New England

settlers of the city of Cleveland almost a hundred years ago were

deeply impressed by those same principles when Kossuth was the

honored guest of their city.

Kossuth, to whose memory and honor the administration of

1 Geza Kende, Magyarok Amerikahan 2 vols., Cleveland, 1927), II, 218.

2 Cleveland Plain Dealer, August 1, 1902.