Just north of 13th and Rawson Avenues, down the road leading to the water tower and the St. Mark’s Episcopal Church parking lot, is a small plot of land not known to many, but with special significance to our city, state and country.
It’s the St. Haroutune Armenian Cemetery, one just three in the United States, an example of our city’s strong Armenian heritage.
I was happy to join with members of Holy Resurrection Armenian Church in South Milwaukee and others on Sunday to recognize the cemetery’s 70 years.
I was also blessed to get a local Armenian history lesson … and came away with a renewed understanding and respect for this group of immigrants.
Armenian families first came to South Milwaukee as early as 1910, often to work at Bucyrus-Erie and other local factories. Soon more than 300 families called South Milwaukee home. They founded Soorp Haroutune Armenian Apostolic Church in 1924 (the first Armenian church in Wisconsin), and the cemetery in 1948.
More details here.
Today, Holy Resurrection is one of just four Armenian churches in the state, and it’s the third oldest in the country. And our Armenian influences remain strong.
As I told attendees on Sunday, before I enjoyed some of the terrifically prepared Armenian food from Muskies Gourmet House I am always happy to celebrate our diverse past, the melting pot of people who built South Milwaukee and make it what it is today. This city was built by immigrants, and that diversity makes us stronger.
Look no further than the families of those buried at St. Haroutune’s.