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Saturday
Jul162016

Cleveland's Estonian Cultural Gardens celebrates its 50th anniversary

Toomas Tubalkain, EANC member, was Master of Ceremonies at the June 26, 2016, event.  Special guest was Marki Tihhonova-Kreek, Deputy Chief of Mission, from the Estonian Embassy in Washington DC.Toomas Tubalkain

From "The Estonian Cultural Garden" by the Cleveland Historical Society:
"Designed by Oberlin graduate and prominent architect Herk Visnapuu, the Estonian Garden features an abstract sculpture, an inscribed flame, at its center. Sculptor Clarence E. VanDuzer designed the inscribe flame that represented freedom from bondage, and hope for a brighter future. This was an especially poignant message in 1966 when Estonia was still part of the Soviet Union...Marki Tihhonova-Kreek
The  inscription on the monument is from Kalevipoeg, an epic poem written by Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald, a writer and physician (1803-1882) in the 1850s but originally published in 1861. Part of the broader awakening of nationalist sentiment in Europe, Kalevipoeg became a lightning rod for the creation of Estonian national identity, of self-confidence and pride. It reads: But the time will come when all torches will burst into flame at both ends.

It is believed that the first Estonian settler, Geo. Tammik arrived in Cleveland in 1903. About 35 more people were recorded as Estonian immigrants by 1945 with about 200 more arriving following World War II.