"To Go Home and Fight - Chicago Greeks Ready to Raise a Large Regiment" article - Chicago Daily Tribune, February 15, 1897

Take special notice of the section below "Greek Colonies in Chicago" which outlines the particular streets where Greeks are living in 1897. 


Published by Chicago Daily Tribune, February 15, 1897

Spartan Blood Boils in the Local Colonies
for a Conflict with the Turks -
Representative Men of the Nationality
Talk of the Cretan News with 
Enthusiasm - Hellenic and Ottoman
Consuls Decline to be Interviewed
on the Bellicose Cablegrams.

The Greek colony in Chicago was greatly excited last evening over the news of the nominal declaration of war against Turkey by their mother country.  These people are for the most part humble citizens, but the Spartan blood is still running in their veins, and they all say that if there is a war they will hurry back to Greece to take up arms for the land they have left but have not ceased to love.

There are now about 2,000 native-born Greeks in Chicago, and something over 20,000 in the whole country.  Among those who could be seen last evening after the cablegrams announcing the firing on the Turkish flag by the Greeks had been received there was no difference of opinion.

Regiment of Fighters in Sight.

Should affairs continue to assume a more serious aspect there is no doubt that a regiment of fighting men will be enlisted in this city.  N. Mazarakos, who holds a high position in the esteem of his countrymen is outspoken in declaring that this should be done.  It is said he would not have to call twice for volunteers.  The Greeks who have come this far away from home, and nearly all in Chicago are native born, are energetic men and excellent for soldiers.

Among the Greeks there are a number of friendly societies which extend over the whole country wherever a Greek has gone in search of a new home.  The members of the societies keep in the closest communication with each other, and any news which concerns their native country is spread far and wide as rapidly as the wires will carry it.

Last evening the whole Greek colony in Chicago, and probably every Greek the world over, heard the echo of the shot from Prince George's fleet, which sent defiance at the Turkish flag.  In some quarters there was immediate talk of starting an enlistment, but it was deemed wisest to move slowly and not to excite antagonism before it should be absolutely necessary.

Gleeful Over War Prospects.

George M. Brown, a barber, No. 32 Wells street, and, in spite of his English name, of pure Greek blood, was seen last night at his home in North Market street, between Kinzie and Michigan.  He rubbed his hands gleefully when told of the latest cable news.

"I am glad to hear this," he said.  "There are 2,000 of my fellow-countrymen in Chicago who will return to their native land to fight against the hated Turks.  I hope it will end in driving the Musselmans out of Europe.  We have been holding meetings for some time and almost without exception the Greek residents are anxious to fight.  I do not know positively, but understand the resident Consul favors the movement and has promised it support.  As soon as war is declared, and I guess the news of today is a practical declaration of war, we shall write to the Consul at New York and offer our services.  Many of us can and will willingly pay our way back, but the majority will require assistance, which I have no doubt will be furnished by the proper authorities.  The Greek colony numbers 3,000 and there are few women and children.  If passage money is assured, it is probably 2,000 would embark for Greece without delay."

Greek Colonies in Chicago.

There are probably fewer native Greeks in Chicago than there are natives of any of the other Mediterranean countries.  Many of them live in Fifth avenue and Sherman street, between Van Buren and Twelfth streets.  There is another colony on the North Side in Kiingsbury, Kinzie, and Illinois streets, and a few are scattered in the vicinity of Tilden avenue, Taylor street, and Center avenue on the West Side.

Since the famous "banana war" in Chicago the Greeks have had the bulk of the pushcart and street-stand fruit trade, having defeated the Italians and Sicilians in that memorable contest.  Many of the Greeks are expert varnishmakers and are employed in local factories.

Greek and Turkish Consuls Silent.

C. J. Hutchinson, President of the Corn Exchange Bank, is Consul-General of Greece in Chicago.  he was appointed during the World's Fair.

"I do not think I should say anything about the news from Greece," said Mr. Hutchinson last night.  " It is not the proper thing for the representative of a country to express any views when international complications arise."

Charles Henrotin, Consul-General in Chicago for Turkey, also declined to be interviewed.