#39: A casino's strange fate (1923-1924)
"December 18th our trustees held a meeting in Boston, and
December 20th Mr. Getchell and I stood together and read the
cabled message announcing the result. It was a bleak and
bitter winter day, with a bitting Vardar wind from the snowy
peaks of high Balkan mountains in the air. All around us were
the charred remains of buildings burned in the great fire.
Refugees huddled in sheltered nooks and corners or shivered
along the streets almost too benumbed to remember whence they
had come or whither they were hoping to go. The message by
cable included the authorizing words, "Proceed plan temporary
interim school", and we wondered! Could we do it? Dare we
undertake it, two of us? What else could we do? "Let's go"!
And before night we had rented a building to be the cradle
of a reborn Anatolia College. The next day we planned with
Mr. Carbonides, the manager of the Casino we had rented, for
such partitions and reconstruction of the interior as would
enable us to have a school with the separate classes in the
building, and the following day work began.
We were fortunate in that about $150,000 were held in Boston
as the property of the College, chiefly as endowment. While
College activities had been suspended, although not all
expenses had stopped, part of the income had been conserved
as a fund for beginning reconstruction. We paid the rent of
the Casino for a year in advance, deposited enough as a fund
to cover two years more, and as the situation developed we
were able to buy the building with its grounds before the
three years' rental period was completed. The location in
the Charilaos Quarter was at least as good as any other,
indeed was doubtless the best in the city for our purpose.
It was just at the terminal of the city tram line, and the
area, three and one-third acres, furnished ample grounds
for school purposes with room for games and sports. For
our purposes, the Casino was not so bad. It was a roomy
structure and was new, though of cheap construction, and
after we acquired the ownership it was not unworthy of the
name, "Tracy Hall". That was the cradle in which the reborn
Anatolia College was nursed during its second childhood."
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