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.

2011 – Grand Opening of the Dvorak Room

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