History of the Folk House in Bukowina Tatrzańska

Folk House in Bukowina Tatrzańska
Collection of the National Digital Archive
October 6, 2023

The inhabitants of Bukowina Tatrzańska built their own Cultural Centre at the turn of the 1920s and 1930s on the initiative of Franciszek Ćwiżewicz Ludowy.

A teacher and manager of a school in Bukowina, as an advocate of promoting Polish and regional highlander culture, he saw a great need for a cultural institution. In 1924, together with Julian Karłowicz, he set up the Committee for the Construction of the Folk House and began collecting funds. In the 1920s, the Great Depression prevailed in Podhale and Poland, so it took a lot of hard work and dedication to undertake such a huge undertaking as the construction of the Folk House. Most of the villagers brought the materials for the construction: wood, planks and stones, and fundraising took place throughout the Podhale region.

History of the Folk House
Collection of the National Digital Archive

With the joint efforts of all the inhabitants, the construction of one of the largest wooden buildings in Poland in the Witkiewicz style began in 1928. Six years after the establishment of the Building Committee, the Folk House in Bukowina was built in 1930, and as noted in the Golden Book of the Folk House, the roof had not yet been finished and all the windows had not been put in, but the first theatre performances were already taking place on the stage. The initiator and building manager Franciszek Ćwiżewicz became the first chairman. It was here that Bukowina's cultural life was centred, with the Theatre and the Peasant Choir having their seat. The initiative of the Bukowina people of that time was not limited to spreading culture. On the initiative of Franciszek Ćwiżewicz, roads, waterworks, bakeries and even the first power plant in the pre-war Kraków voivodeship were built. Franciszek Ćwiżewicz and his friends brought a marine diesel engine from Gdynia and set up a power station under the People's House. The first electricity flowed to the houses on Christmas Eve 1936. Bukovina was the first village to be electrified.

The Folk House was established as a Cultural and Educational Cooperative and this tradition is still cultivated today. The Folk House is currently the seat of the Bukowina Cultural Centre, and there is still a thriving theatre currently called the "Józef Pitorak Amateur Theatre Group". The building of
the Folk House houses the Michalina Ćwiżewiczowa Public Library, a branch of the Podhale Association and many other associations with a view to the welfare and development of Bukowina Tatrzańska. The energy of Bukowina's inhabitants from the 1930s can still be felt today, the Folk House is alive with traditions, art and living culture.

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