#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."

NEXT: New teachers (1924)