#50: Commerce and agriculture (1929)

"When we reached Thessaloniki, May 25, 1929, Mrs. Elsie White, who was our landscape gardener, led us out into the garden to pick roses, not a seed or any living vegetation having been planted anywhere on those grounds when we left for America, October 29th preceding. There are the sun and the soil for some of Nature's best work in Macedonia provided human efforts are supplied in a skillful and industrious way, especially in adding water.

Government officials, as well as the College constituency, seemed generally to be increasingly favorable toward the College as intimacies increased. When I met the superintendent of education for Macedonia, who was charged with the responsibility of supervising our institution, it was heart warming for Mr. Compton as well as myself to hear him say, "We regularly report to Athens, Anatolia is the only foreign school that conforms to all the government regulations. Your attitude of respect for the laws won't hurt you". A class of 24 completed our course and received their diplomas at the commencement season.

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One evidence of general development in the province was the gradual construction of better roadways, as we clearly realized when a new highway was built on a direct line between our lower and upper campus grounds. On the next slope above the College, also, a government "vineyard nursery" had been established to supply grapevines to the new settlers and others in Macedonia at cheap rates and free from diseases. The blight, phyloxera, a few years before, had almost destroyed the grapevines in that part of the world. The purpose of the nursery was to furnish roots of American stock, free from disease, grafted with different varieties of grapes, liked and wanted in the Near East. Near to the American College was the wayside announcement of "American grape wines". They were supplied in astonishing numbers and at equally remarkable low cost, usually from a quarter million to a half million vines for the planting season every spring, distributed at a price of about one cent per tiny vine.

In September, the annual International Commercial Fair was held, an institution which had now become quite an affair. Merchants from different countries gathered, Japan being usually the most remote, and for about a week were meeting one another, advertising their respective bargains, learning market needs, and planning for a full tide of business. The "Field of Mars", which had been used as a military parade ground, was assigned permanently for the purposes of the Fair. When Mars turns merchant, it is usually a very good thing for all concerned."

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