On Sunday, April 2, members of the Slavonian Lodge will host a special Daffodil Dinner and Croatian pastry sale. A tradition for the past 30-plus years, the dinner is the main annual fundraiser to keep the Croatian Lodge/Slavonian Hall at 2306 N. 30th St. well maintained, as it is listed with the Washington Preservation Society. This is where the dinner will be held, offering a wonderful chance to see this historic building up close and personal.
Dinner will consist of Croatian pasta with meat sauce, kielbasa and sauerkraut. Cost is just $15 (tax included) and $5 for children 12 and under. Dinner will be served from 1-7 p.m. Bring a non-perishable food item to donate to Emergency Food Network.
The Croation Lodge in Tacoma is one of the few fraternal groups in Washington that still maintain their own original building. Founded April 7, 1901, the lodge building was completed in 1903 and remains in its original state. Beginning in the late 1870s, hundreds of immigrants arrived in Tacoma from the Dalmatian coast and mainland of Yugoslavia. Due to the geo-politics of the time, the people were identified as Austrians. After World War II they became known as Yugoslavs and today people from the area represent the nation of Croatia, formed in the 1990s following the breakup of Yugoslavia.
Commercial fishing was the immigrants’ primary trade but in the off-season many put their skills to work in shipyards building boats (as they had done in their homeland). They also built roads in Tacoma by laying bricks and cobblestones in Old Tacoma. The lodge building was the central gathering place for food, dancing, singing, companionship and playing cards. For strangers in a new country, the lodge was an essential portal into a new life. Large funerals and weddings were also held at the lodge.
Today, members of the Slavonian American Benevolent Society dedicate themselves to annual events that preserve and pass on family and cultural traditions. These events sustain pride in our culture and continue to build a sense of community among the Slavic people with roots in the former Yugoslavia.