Bohemian influence in the West End also began early. From the 1860s to the 1880s, Czech (Bohemians, Moravians and Silesians) and Slovak immigrants engaged in a period of intense commercial and cultural development. Alongside Germans and Poles, Jews and Scandinavians, they worked the breweries and railroads, quarries and icehouses, and many retail establishments, making West 7th a busy commercial center and the “cradle of commerce” for Minnesota. As skilled tradespeople and artisans, the community was involved in shoe and boot making, cigar making, tailoring, butchering, brewing, blacksmithing, carpentry, gunsmithing, and masonry trades. Most Bohemian workers, however, were “common laborers.”
The Czech Slovak Protective Society (CSPS) was formed in 1872 and opened its first hall in1879. CSPS continues to provide a cultural touchstone for the Bohemian community, with fraternal, educational, social, charitable, and recreational activities, associated with a religious liberalism and/or free thought position.