Our Mission

Our mission is to promote and preserve Croatian culture and to educate future generations of Croatian Americans and the general public with the richness and beauty of Croatian Culture and Croatian American contributions to the building of the United States of America. Javor is a federally approved non-profit 501(c)(7) organization. Any donation made to support Javor is tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.


A Short history of the Javor Singing Society

Love for their homeland, songs and melodies was the driving force for many Croatians living in the Northside of Pittsburgh to form a singing society.  The first meeting was held on July 11, 1905 at the Church Hall.  The following were present:   Zlatko Kerhin, Josip Bosnjak, Franjo Novakovic, Juraj Novakovic, Stjepan Novakovic, Mako Kirin, Franjo Stipic, Dragutin Jergovic, Petar Galovic, Franjo Habrle

The first Board was as follows  Zlatko Kerhin – President ; Juraj Novakovic – Secretary ;  Franjo Novakovic – Treasurer

At the end of the meeting it was written in the minutes…….With this said, the first meeting of Croatian Singing Society “Javor” in closing they exclaimed – “Long live our brotherly unity.  Long live “Javor” and Long live our homeland Croatia”

During the second meeting  the group recognized the need for a teacher.   At the third meeting it was announced that Dragutin Legro would be the first teacher.  The first classes for the group were held on August 23, 1905. 

They worked and practice tirelessly so that they could quickly show the public what they were working so hard to achieve.   On January 23, 1906 in the Czech Hall on Vinial Street they held their first concert.

After their first public concert, Croatians who settled here became more and more interested in this new society and making it survive.  It’s difficult to mention everyone who worked for the good of this group in the first 25 years.  They included - Z. Kerhin, Franjo Novakovic, Juraj Novakovic, Franjo Zibrat, Juraj Matijascic, Josip Spehar, Juro Majetic, Charles Legro, Josip Novakovic, M. Kirin, Stjepan Kosokovic, Anton Rozman, Drag. Skrtic, Marin Belinak, Josip Bosnjak, Drag. Jergovic, Petar Galovic, Franjo Stipic, Franjo Habrle, I Stjepan Novakovic.

The group recognized the need for a Charter.  In order to obtain the Charter it would cost $100.00.  At a meeting on March 8, 1909 President J. Matijasic talked of the importance of having a Charter and under his leadership and persuasion, the group would come up with the money themselves.  The following members donated the following at that meeting  -  Juraj Novakovic, Juran Majetic and Ivan Jedinak donated $25.00 each; Franjo Novakovi $10.00; Petar Galovic, Petar Chemac and Stjepan Matota $5.00 each.  The society received  it’s Charter in June 1909.  

During this time the society was renting space to rehearse and perform.  The Group decided that it was time the look into purchasing a building. They had been able to raise some money and in 1913 a building was purchased in Manchester.

The members of the singing society were well known and loved throughout Pittsburgh.  Although they were not only singers, they wanted to provide their fellow Croatians a “DOM” so that they would have a place to call their own.

In 1917, Javor singing society helped to purchase the old Cecilia Hall on 822 North Canal Street in the Northside for $7,000.  The “hall” was not only used by the singing society,  Lodges from the Croatian Fraternal Union, Croatian Catholic Union, Hrvatska Zena and others  were also using the facilities for meetings and functions.

To this day, under the leadership of President Paul Bubanovic “Javor” continues  to be a place for Croatian-Americans to meet and celebrate.  In the near future, our children, born in America will continue to preserve our cultural and humanitarian interests as their forefathers have done before them.


Other important dates and events since the 25th Anniversary in 1931 program include ----


During its long history, the Croatian National Hall became a meeting place for all the Fraternal Lodges and events sponsored by the Croatian community.  Tamburitza music was abundant during this period and many orchestras provided pleasurable renditions on the stage in the upper hall.  Dances were scheduled for Saturday nights and the facilities offered and excellent place for banquets and weddings.

The Croatian National Hall prospered until the war years took its toll on the membership and activities.  The retirement of the late Professor Dobrovolsky caused the disbandment of the Singers, however, the Club continued to function until the new East Street Expressway became a reality.  In 1969, the club was sold to PennDot and the building was razed.

The license and money received for the building were left in escrow for several years.  An off chance phone call by brother Frank Pastorkovic to Bob Tezak, the Financial Secretary and record keeper, revealed that a temporary location could be acquired in the immediate neighborhood.  The decision was made to contact the past officers and members to lease the property and start anew.

Frank Vidina the club steward and Frank Pastorkovic were key in searching for a new location.  Finally in 1977, the old Hartley Cleaners and a small church next door were found as a potential new home.  Inspired by the leadership of Paul Ceh, and with the legal guidance from Lou Marohnic, the membership agreed to pay over $50,000, plus more for renovations for a new – Croatian National Hall Javor.

On September 23, 1977 we celebrated the grand opening of the new Club.  Since the time of the opening, many activities were innovated to keep the new Croatian Hall in the forefront on the North Side. 

The members of the Croatian National Hall, both regular and social, have to be commended for their services, sacrifices, achievements and generous donations, which have established the Croatian National Hall as a permanent fixture in the City of Pittsburgh.    Nick Simunovic, and his family, have provided leadership to keep the Club vibrant in the for the past 30+ years.

Lastly, we cannot forget our founding fathers and mothers.  Without their struggle and perseverance to preserve the Croatian culture and to have a home for the Croatian community and their friends, there would be no Javor.