Occasionally the PHCA will get an inquiry as to whether we have any information on Polish families in the area. Our organization has never maintained an archive of historical material (although we’ve recently started that project; more on that below).
Here’s an inquiry that someone among our readers might be able to address. Leslie Rubinkowski is seeking information on her great uncle, Stanley Ratka. He was born December 11, 1894, grew up in Lawrenceville, and later may have moved to Polish Hill. His relatives, the Rubinkowskis, lived on Brereton Street and attended the church in the early 20th century. Stanley was killed in action in the Argonne forest on September 27, 1917. The Mistelski-Davidson-Ratka Post No. 204, once located at 3119 Brereton Street, was named in his honor.
In the photo below, taken at Camp Lee (now Fort Lee, in Virginia), Stanley Ratka is in the bottom row, marked by an “X”. It’s hard to see him, of course, but it’s such a great photo!
If you have any knowledge about Stanley Ratka or the Post on Brereton Street, please email Leslie Rubinkowski at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Polish Hill has a few amateur historians, but no Polish Hill archive currently exists, and current and former residents are eager to learn about the neighborhood’s history. The PHCA has started to collect photos and archival material relating to Polish Hill. If you have any material you’re willing to share, we can scan and return it to you.
(all photos provided by Leslie Rubinkowski)