The Croatian Cultural Club was founded in Benwood, Marshall County, in 1955 by Mike Perkovic, an immigrant Croatian coal miner who worked for decades to preserve and present Croatian culture around West Virginia. Perkovic’s children had been playing tambouritizan music since the 1930s and had a regular Sunday Slavic music hour on WWVA in Wheeling. Until World War II, Croatian and other Slavic languages could be heard in the streets and markets of Benwood and nearby mining communities such as Boggs Run. But by the mid-1950s, these traditions had begun to wane. Established in the abandoned Benwood School on Eoff Street, the Croatian Cultural Club was embraced by the community as a means of fostering traditional cultural and social customs of all ethnic groups. Traditional music, dance, culinary arts, and after school Croatian recitation classes were emphasized by Mike Perkovic until his death in 1969. Fraternal lodge meetings and other local events were regularly held at the club.
Today the club with its homey atmosphere is managed by Mike’s son, John Perkovic, and still serves an important social function in the neighborhood. The club offers a full menu of ethnic foods, music, and cultural events by appointment and is available for parties and retirement dinners.
This Article was written by Michael Kline
Kline, Michael. The Music Made Everything Okay. Goldenseal, (Summer 1982).