Famous Poles

Famous Poles
(and those of Polish descent)

General Casimir Pulaski (1747-1779) – Commander and defender against the Russians. He led a group in General George Washington’s army during the American War of Independence. The Pulaski Monument is at South Division and Main streets (adjacent to the Ellicott Square Building).

Chopin was a composer and pianist who wrote his first composition when he was 7 years old. At the age of 8 he mastered the piano and performed for the public. The Chopin Monument was originally located in front of the Buffalo Museum of Science but now stands in front of Kleinhan’s Music Hall.

John Paul II (1920-2005) – Probably the most famous Pole ever, Pope John Paul II was born in Wadowice, Poland. He was the first non-Italian pope in almost 500 years.

ohn of Kolno – a polish sailor is said to have been in the service of the King of Denmark and reached the American coast in 1476, 16 years before Columbus
Jan Heweliusz – Polish 17th- century astronomer from Gdansk, who studied comets, catalogued the stars, and created some of the first accurate maps of the moon’s surface.
Tadeusz Kosciuszko – came to America to aid in the cause of freedom during the Revolutionary War. George Washington called him “a gentleman of science and merit.” Before returning to Poland in 1784, he helped found West Point Military Academy.

James Sadowski – was a pioneer backwoodsman. His ventures included laying out the present site of Louisville and Harrodsburg, Kentucky in 1774., and camping on the site of what is now Cincinnati, Oh. Sandusky, OH is named for this famous pioneer family.
Helena Modjeska – was considered one of the greatest dramatic Shakespearean actresses of the day in the laet 19th Century. A native of Poland, her American career lasted 28 years. Her farewell testimonial in 1905 was held at the Metropolitan Opera House.
Mother Angela Truszkowska – founded the Felician Sisters in Kalisz, Poland. The order began in 1855 as an orphanage. In 1874 Mother Angela came to the U.S. and teach in the parochial schools here by sending five sisters to work among Polish immigrants in America.

I. Paderewski – was a statesman as well as a concert pianist. During World Wars I and II he frequently worked for Poland’s Independence. Through the efforts of his friend, President Woodrow Wilson, in a document known as the Fourteen Points, the independent Polish State with free access to the seas was called to be restored.
Henryk Arctowski – A Polish scientist, oceanographer and explorerof the Antarctic. His name has been given to a phenomenon of a rainbow in the shape of a halo that forms around the sun as light is refracted through ice crystals in the atmosphere.
John Cardinal Krol – was appointed archbishop of Philadelphia in 1961 and was raised to the office of Cardinal in 1967. In 1976 he was host to the 41st International Eucharistic Convention in Philadelphia.A

Bobby Vinton – born near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He studied music as a boy and bcame a popular entertainer during the 60’s. He achieved super stardom in the 70’s with his hit record, “My Melody of Love.” Polish Americans acknowledge their approval of this tune, named Bobby Vinton the “Polish Prince.”
Loretta Swit – played Major “Hotlips” Hoolihan on the lung-running award winning TV series, M.A.S.H A native of Passaic, NJ, she has made theatrical features and films for TV and appeared on Broadway as well.
National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame is located in Dombrowski Field House at the Orchard Lake Schools Complex in Orchard Lake, MI. Members include Stan Musial (baseball), Ted Kluszewski )Baseball); Ed (Tryanski) Tyson (softball), Stella (Walasiewicz) Walsh (track and field), Al (Szymanski) Simmons (baseball), Alex Wojciechowicz (Football), Tony (Zaleski) Zale (boxing), Stan (Kowalewski) Coveleski (Baseball), John (Krzyminski) Crimmins (Bowling), Ted Marchibroda (football), Tom Gola (basketball) and Bill Osmanski (football).
Marian Owczarski – a native of Poland, is a gifted and innovative contemporary artist who specializes in stainless steel sculpture. His works have been shown and appreciated worldwide. Some of his sculptures are not a permanent part of the Vatican Museum, Cranbrook Institute and the Shrine of the North American Martyrs. Currently he is artist in residence at St. Mary’s College, Orchard Lake, MI.