Welcome! This collection traces the development of an ethnic community in unincorporated Seminole County over the past century.
The early history of this community and that of St. Luke's Lutheran Church and School are intricately intertwined. Every member of the community was a member of the church and the church was at the very heart of the community of Slavia. It's very name-"Slavia"- can be translated as "Gloria."
The Slovak settlers who established Slavia Colony in 1911 shared a common language, a common faith and a common vision: to find a place where they could farm their own land and educate their children according to the tenets of their Lutheran heritage.
Photographs, texts and documents from the early 1900s through the century which followed, chronicle the perseverance, self-sacrifice and faith of the founders of St. Luke's Lutheran Church and School and the ultimate fulfillment of their collective dream.
To shelter their families, the struggling pioneers had only deserted turpentine shacks, in which they also gathered for worship. But within only months of their arrival in Florida, on March 17, 1912, eight of the settlers signed a charter, establishing St. Luke's Lutheran Church.
Most of the celery farms of the early settlers have been replaced with residential or commercial properties in recent years and Slavia has evolved into a vibrant and diverse community.
But more than 100 years later, the faith of the Founding Families of Slavia Colony lives on through the outreach ministries of St. Luke's Lutheran Church. The legacy of the Founders' sacrificial commitment to Christian education and to the care of children and the elderly is perpetuated through St. Luke's Lutheran School and the Lutheran Haven Retirement Center.
With praise and thanksgiving to God, this collection is made available to the public through the multi-year efforts of Judith M. Duda and the staff of St. Luke's Church, in partnership with the University of Central Florida Libraries Dept. of Information Technology & Digital Initiatives and University Archives.
A final note to our visitors: a search for a specific member of a Slavia founding family may reap more results than expected!
In the Slovak tradition, no middle names were used. Furthermore: the oldest son was often named after an uncle (rather than the father), so the Slovak terms starsi (elder) and mladsi (younger) were more and more confused with the suffixes Sr. and Jr. as time went on. Favorite "given names" were used again and again. The spouses of the 2nd generation of Slavians were often offspring of another family in the community. Consequently, within this collection one can find images of: Anna Duda Jakubcin, Anna Jakubcin Mikler and Anna Mikler Duda! A search for one will likely find the other two, as well, despite our best efforts.
If you become confused in your search, please contact us for any assistance we can offer.