321 East 73rd Street, 3rd Floor

New York City, NY 10021

History > Building history

Building History

1892 – Bohemian Benevolent and Literary Association (BBLA) is established as an umbrella organization for over eighty Czech community groups and clubs.

1896 – Designed by architect William C. Frohne in neo-Renaissance palazzo style, Bohemian National Hall opens following successful Czech community fundraising campaign, including Antonin Dvorak-led concert in 1892.

1897 – BBLA was forced to enlarge the building eastward to fully accommodate activities in restaurant, bar, club rooms, top-floor ballroom/theater, basement bowling alley and rifle range.

1914 – WWI increases political awareness for those using the building. More than half a million Dollars of Liberty Bonds are sold here.

1939 – Political activity heightens following Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia.

1940 - 60's – As the Czech and Slovak populations moves out to the suburbs. Fewer functions are held at the Hall, space in the building is rented out to other organizations.

1986 – Ghostly rotting building declared unfit for occupancy, though partial use permitted for occasional community events through 1990s.

1994 – Designated New York City landmark by Landmarks Preservation Commission.

1995 – Careful restoration of main façade completed by Czech-American architect Jan Hird Pokorny.

2001 – BBLA donates Bohemian National Hall to the Czech Republic for symbolic one Dollar. The Czech Government pledges to restore the building to its former glory.

2003 – First phase of renovation begins based on drawings by Czech-American architect Martin Holub.

2005 – New core and shell of the building including the third floor is completed. Building opens for partial use by BBLA.

2007 – Interior renovation of unfinished areas of the building, including ballroom, begins according to design of Czech architects Milan Kvíz and Atelier M1.

2008 – Commemorating 90 years of state independence, the Vice Prime Minister of the Czech Republic unveils fully renovated Bohemian National Hall on October 30, 2008.

History in images

Events Gallery

Visit our image gallery from the restoration of Bohemian National Hall.

Bohemian Benevolent & Literary AssociationHospodaThe National Czech and Slovak MuseumAmerican Friends of the Czech RepublicCzech CenterConsulate General