The Ahepan Spring 2017 - 16


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of these railroad workers. Edited portions of these interviews
will become a part of the exhibit and the complete videos are
on file in the archives of Portland's Hellenic-American Cultural
Center & Museum.
The walk-through exhibit was completed in 2015 and features pictures, captions, and a script which tells the story of
these men and the work done by them on the railroads. It highlights the Greek and American flags which are symbolic of the
desire of these immigrants to retain their Greek heritage and
at the same time to assimilate and become proud Americans.
As early as 1907, it was estimated that there were between
30,000-40,000 Greek laborers hired to work on the railroads,
mines, mills, and forests of the American west. The 1910 U.S.
census for Oregon lists 3,448 Greeks, of which 2,116 worked
on the railroad.
The first job for many Greek immigrants who came to the
West was with the railroad, and for some it remained their
permanent job. The exhibit speaks of one such man and the
three generations of one railroad family. In 1906, Gus Melonas
immigrated to the United States, came to Portland, and began
working with the Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railway in 1907.
His work on the railroad was followed by that of his sons, Sam
and John, and grandsons, Gus S. Melonas and Louis Melonas,
who currently work for the Burlington Northern Railway.

16

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THE AHEPAN ยท Spring 2017

PG

TStetz

The exhibit explains that most of the early workers
left the railroad and moved into towns and cities across
the Northwest to become shopkeepers and entrepreneurs.
Although they were now proud Americans, they wanted
to maintain their Greek heritage and today their legacy is
found in towns and cities across the Northwest. Pictures and
captions in the exhibit speak of the organizations that are
now in place through which Greek Americans preserve their
faith, language, culture, and traditions. The Order of AHEPA
was founded in 1922 and Mt. Hood Chapter 154 in 1927.
The Daughters of Penelope was organized in 1929 and Troy
Chapter 32 in 1935. The churches built in the Northwest
and throughout America today sponsor Greek festivals,
Greek schools, and Greek dance programs. Cultural centers
such as Portland's Hellenic-American Cultural Center &
Museum were created. Universities, including Portland State
University, Reed College, the University of Portland, and the
University of Washington, offer Hellenic Studies programs
sponsored by individuals to promote Greek language, history, and culture.
With this exhibit, Portland's Mt. Hood Chapter honors the
rich history and legacy of these early Greek immigrants who
played an important role in the development of railroads in
the Northwest.

www.ahepa.org


http://www.ahepa.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Ahepan Spring 2017

The Ahepan Spring 2017 - intro
The Ahepan Spring 2017 - 1
The Ahepan Spring 2017 - 2
The Ahepan Spring 2017 - 3
The Ahepan Spring 2017 - 4
The Ahepan Spring 2017 - 5
The Ahepan Spring 2017 - 6
The Ahepan Spring 2017 - 7
The Ahepan Spring 2017 - 8
The Ahepan Spring 2017 - 9
The Ahepan Spring 2017 - 10
The Ahepan Spring 2017 - 11
The Ahepan Spring 2017 - 12
The Ahepan Spring 2017 - 13
The Ahepan Spring 2017 - 14
The Ahepan Spring 2017 - 15
The Ahepan Spring 2017 - 16
The Ahepan Spring 2017 - 17
The Ahepan Spring 2017 - 18
The Ahepan Spring 2017 - 19
The Ahepan Spring 2017 - 20
The Ahepan Spring 2017 - 21
The Ahepan Spring 2017 - 22
The Ahepan Spring 2017 - 23
The Ahepan Spring 2017 - 24
The Ahepan Spring 2017 - 25
The Ahepan Spring 2017 - 26
The Ahepan Spring 2017 - 27
The Ahepan Spring 2017 - 28
The Ahepan Spring 2017 - 29
The Ahepan Spring 2017 - 30
The Ahepan Spring 2017 - 31
The Ahepan Spring 2017 - 32
The Ahepan Spring 2017 - 33
The Ahepan Spring 2017 - 34
The Ahepan Spring 2017 - 35
The Ahepan Spring 2017 - 36
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