The AHEPAN - Fall 2009 - 26

Book review The Early Greek Settlers of Lancaster County, Pa. By Nikita (Nik) Zervanos The Greek immigrants of Lancaster County, like most of the other Greek immigrants, were characterized by their industry and reliability. They demonstrated love of family and devotion to their Greek Orthodox roots. As elsewhere, they formed a koinotita (community), and one of the first goals of the koinotita was to raise money to establish a Greek Orthodox Church. Lancaster’s Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church held its first services on March 25, 1922. In the early 20th century, the major driving force for Greeks to immigrate to the United States was economic. They endured many hardships, but with hard work and application of their intelligence and wit, they knew they could do well. Although many returned, those that decided to stay sought to become good citizens and contributed positively to American society. Besides the church, which provided encouragement and stability and helped them to adjust, it was organizations such as the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), which facilitated their acculturation and assimilation into the mainstream of American society. AHEPA was founded in 1922 in Atlanta, and three years later Lancaster’s Red Rose chapter, No. 71 was established. The first of the known Greek immigrants in Lancaster County were two young men, William Jackson and Peter Davis who Anglicized their names soon after their arrival in America in 1889 and 1892, respectively. They soon learned to be confectioners, and like so many other enterprising Greek immigrants established their own business. They came to Lancaster in 1896 and opened and operated the New York Confectionery & Ice Cream Garden. While a number of Greek immigrants began to trickle into Lancaster soon after the turn of the century, many more went to Lititz, a little borough of less than 2,000 people, just 11 miles north of the city, where the new Animal Trap Company of America had just been established (1905). However, the company was unable to find enough employees from the local area, 26 the ahepan Fall 2009 so company officials sought out the help of a Baptist minister friend in New York. He found the well-educated and multi-lingual Kosta Meros, then working as a waiter at the Waldorf, to join the company and serve as a padron or labor agent. He enticed a good number of his relatives and friends to leave their homes from his native island of Kos, including his first cousins, my father and Uncle Jim. Older Uncle Jim came first, but by the time my fifteen-yearold father arrived in 1907, there were as many as 70 Greek boys and young men working in the Animal Trap Company. Although most Greek immigrants ended up working in factories, such as the knitting mills of Reading, or the silk and cotton mills of Lancaster, a large number were entrepreneurs. Few became farmers despite the fact that most came from agrarian backgrounds. Farming in Greece, was hardly a prosperous business, and people worked their farms for survival, not to make money. One of the most popular enterprises operated by the early Greeks was the confectionery business. Among the most prosperous of the many Greek-owned confectioners was Evangelos Manolakis. He became one of Lancaster’s most prominent businessmen, and served on the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce. Manolakis played a key role in the Greek immigrant community and helped to establish the Greek Orthodox Church of Lancaster in 1922. Other well-known early businessmen were John Agourides and Mike Frangakis who both emigrated from the island of Chios. Beginning in 1907, Agourides established his chocolate factory and a number of eateries including the well-known Rocky Springs Soda Fountain. Somewhat later Frangakis (also Frangos) established the Lancaster Chocolate Factory. The factories lasted until after WWII, after which they could no longer compete with the much larger candy companies. Most all those who operated confectioneries eventually converted their stores to a variety of eateries and restaurants. The restaurant business became the most popular business of the Greeks, and in fact, the Greeks operated the majority of the restaurants in the city of Lancaster up until the sixties. The young immigrant children who managed to be schooled within the American medical education system had clear advantages, and many even excelled. A few of them went on to higher education and entered various professions, especially in education and two became physicians including Dr. August Pavlatos and Dr. Charles Francos, both family physicians. Gus Pavlatos was also a highly decorated army medical officer and commander of a battalion hospital near the front with General Patton in the European theater. In fact, there were many immigrants and sons of immigrants who served in the US military during the two great wars. Lancaster’s Greek Americans have proven to be good citizens. They worked hard, maintained clean and tidy homes, promoted the common good, and few had any kind of criminal record. Their children went on to acquire higher education, entered the professions, established businesses, and became prosperous, productive citizens. The church did much to preserve the Greek-American culture, but now with relatively few first generation Greeks remaining, and a growing number of 4th and even 5th generation descendents, the Greek language is fast disappearing and many of the early Greek customs are no longer practiced. So what is the legacy of the Greek spirit? It continues to be reflected in hard work, love of family, their Christian heritage, and a drive to utilize their talents to the fullest. They continue to do their part to make America strong. “The Early Greek Settlers of Lancaster County, 1896-1922 and the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church,” was published in the Journal of the Lancaster County Historical Society as the Fall/Winter 2008-2009 issue. This 100page booklet is available through the Lancaster County Historical Society of Lancaster, PA for the purchase price of $10.00.

The AHEPAN - Fall 2009

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The AHEPAN - Fall 2009

The AHEPAN - Fall 2009
Supreme President’s Message
Daughters of Penelope President’s Message
Sons and Maids Presidents’ Messages
AHEPA Family News
In Support of the Ecumenical Patriarch
AHEPA Honors Excellence in First of Four Regional Galas
Being Green Is In Our DNA
Book Review
AHEPA Family Chapter News
In Memoriam
The AHEPAN - Fall 2009 - The AHEPAN - Fall 2009
The AHEPAN - Fall 2009 - Cover2
The AHEPAN - Fall 2009 - Contents
The AHEPAN - Fall 2009 - Supreme President’s Message
The AHEPAN - Fall 2009 - Daughters of Penelope President’s Message
The AHEPAN - Fall 2009 - Sons and Maids Presidents’ Messages
The AHEPAN - Fall 2009 - AHEPA Family News
The AHEPAN - Fall 2009 - 8
The AHEPAN - Fall 2009 - 9
The AHEPAN - Fall 2009 - In Support of the Ecumenical Patriarch
The AHEPAN - Fall 2009 - 11
The AHEPAN - Fall 2009 - 12
The AHEPAN - Fall 2009 - 13
The AHEPAN - Fall 2009 - 14
The AHEPAN - Fall 2009 - AHEPA Honors Excellence in First of Four Regional Galas
The AHEPAN - Fall 2009 - 16
The AHEPAN - Fall 2009 - 17
The AHEPAN - Fall 2009 - Being Green Is In Our DNA
The AHEPAN - Fall 2009 - 19
The AHEPAN - Fall 2009 - Education
The AHEPAN - Fall 2009 - 21
The AHEPAN - Fall 2009 - Housing
The AHEPAN - Fall 2009 - 23
The AHEPAN - Fall 2009 - Athletics
The AHEPAN - Fall 2009 - 25
The AHEPAN - Fall 2009 - Book Review
The AHEPAN - Fall 2009 - AHEPA Family Chapter News
The AHEPAN - Fall 2009 - 28
The AHEPAN - Fall 2009 - 29
The AHEPAN - Fall 2009 - In Memoriam
The AHEPAN - Fall 2009 - Cover3
The AHEPAN - Fall 2009 - Cover4