The Community Workers' House: a Monument of Lviv's Interwar Working Culture
Pidzamche's working culture symbol is a big red building, located just behind the railway bridge, between vul. Zamarstynivska and prosp. Chornovola. Today, the building is officially called the "Hnat Khotkevych Palace of Culture."
The history of the Palace represents the fact that workers in interwar Lviv were a noticeable strata and sought to occupy a rightful place in the society, like their counterparts from other European countries. Actually, Pidzamche's outskirts were one of the most known places of workers' activity. Thus, it was at Habrielivka (Gabrielówka) that secret meetings of striking trammers were regularly held in 1918.
The original idea of creating a workers' club emerged after a massive strike in 1924. Worker activists had no room for assembly and therefore decided to create their own center. Lviv's workers' community supported the idea, and for 10 years they assigned a part of their salaries for its implementation. In September of 1933 the Community Workers' House of the city of Lviv was officially founded. The construction works were carried out by the workers themselves who worked in their free time, at night and on weekends. A year later, in November, the House began to function.
The Community Workers' House was used both for social activities and for leisure. There were large rooms for assemblies, smaller ones for meetings, lectures, and musical groups in the house; also, there were a cafeteria, a bowling alley, a laundry, and a library there. The house was even given an informal name of the "Red Fortress" due to its red brick lining and socialist sentiments of the visitors. On 17 May 1936 an international anti-fascist congress in defense of culture was held there.
During the German occupation the Judenrat, the governing body of the Jewish community in the ghetto, functioned in the House for some time. After the war, in Soviet Lviv, the Club of the Lviv Tram and Trolleybus Administration was arranged there; that is why it was given another name, that of "Tramvayshchyk" ("Trammer"). In the collective memory of Pidzamche inhabitants the "Tramvayshchyk" appears primarily as a place where the loudest dance in the area was held.
In 1976-1980 a restoration of the building was carried out; in particular, a front part was added to it. The club was given the status of the "Palace of Culture" which was named after Mikhail Kuznetsov. Now the Palace has been renamed after Hnat Khotkevych and functions as a center where classes are held in numerous amateur and professional clubs and groups for children and teenagers, concerts and various other cultural events are organized.