Ottoman Greek immigrants from the island of Marmara settled in major Western US cities. In addition to San Francisco, the City of Angels was home to a significantly sized enclave of Marmarinians. Like all immigrants to Los Angeles during this time period, Marmarinians were drawn to LA in response to an oil and gas boom.

The Beverly Hills and Salt Lake Oil Fields were primary production sites and Marmarian immigrants worked side by side with other immigrant laborers to build the city’s natural gas line infrastructure.

The Continental Canning Company provided other industrial blue-collar jobs that employed Marmarinians.

As we have seen in previous weeks, Marmarinians also contributed to a service sector that included cafes, diners, restaurants, flower shops and confectionaries. Examples of large and prominent Marmarian owned shops were the Achilles Meat Market near Boyle Height, the Hondros Market in downtown Los Angeles, and three grocery stores owned by the Stratos family on Washington Boulevard, Hooper Avenue, and on Soto Street in East LA.

The Coffeehouse That Served Marmarinians Their Futures Featuring Dr. Jim Dimitriou

The Marmarinian community of Los Angeles engendered strong kinship ties through their cultural organization, The Benevolent Society Marmarinon “E Afthone.”

The name of the organization was a testament to the intentions of the founders and subsequent members and executive committees.

Rallis Panagiotou Rallis (left) Panagiotes Basile Vasillion (right)

Afthone was one of Marmara’s main towns on the Northeastern coast of the island. This is where the Marmarinians of Los Angeles hailed from.

A Sharing Community