Sixty-five years ago, on July 4-5, 1953, more than 2,000 people attended the formal dedication of Soyuzivka in Kerhonkson, N.Y., now known as Soyuzivka Heritage Center and owned by the Ukrainian National Foundation – an affiliated company of the Ukrainian National Association that performs charitable activities on its behalf.
Members of the Ukrainian National Association and their guests arrived by charter buses from across New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Illinois, Ohio, Maryland, North Carolina, Michigan and other states.
The formal dedication took place in the glade before the Main House – then called the “Hostynnytsia,” or Guest House. An invocation was led by the Very Rev. Volodimir Lotowycz of Jersey City, N.J., with responses sung by a specially organized UNA choir, including Home Office employees, led by Eugene Kruk.
Dmytro Kapitula, former president of the UNA and longtime chairman of the Auditing Committee, led the flag-raising ceremony of the Ukrainian and American flags. (The Canadian flag has been included since that time.)
“Our Soyuzivka,” said Dmytro Halychyn, president of the UNA, “represents a fragment of enslaved Ukraine transplanted here upon the American soil.” Mr. Halychyn added that the establishment of Soyuzivka was but another of the great accomplishments of the UNA.
The two-day event included formal dinners, concerts and a divine liturgy on Sunday. The concerts featured performances by the UNA choir, with soloists Mary Polynack Lesawyer, Olga Lepkova and Ray Reynarovich, with accompaniment by pianist Olya Dmytriw.
Dr. Luke Myshuha, editor-in-chief of Svoboda, said, “Soyuzivka was but another of the many gifts of the older generation for their children.” Additional addresses were made by UNA executives, including Roman Slobodian, treasurer, Gregory Herman, secretary, Mr. Kapitula, as well as by Stephen Shumeyko, editor-in-chief of The Ukrainian Weekly.
Greetings were delivered by representatives of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, the Ukrainian Workingman’s Association (later renamed the Ukrainian Fraternal Association), and the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America.
Source: “Soyuzivka – UNA estate dedicated,” The Ukrainian Weekly, July 11, 1953.