"Greeks in Battle Array - Police in Force Await Clash Over Woodlawn Fruit Store" article - Chicago Daily Tribune, May 16, 1906

Published in the Chicago Daily Tribune, May 16, 1906

Police in Force Await Clash Over
Woodlawn Fruit Store.
Peter Liskas and Friends in Possession, Awaiting Onslaught.

Threats of a battle between warring Greeks early this morning at Sixty-third street and South Park avenue kept every available policeman from the Woodlawn station on guard.

More than a thousand spectators crowded the street, on the opposite side of the car line which makes a loop on that point.  Hundreds of others paid 5 cents each to secure a point of vantage on the platform of the elevated railroad near by.

Forty countrymen of Peter Liskas, a fiery descendant of Alexander, armed with rifles, blackjacks, stilettos, pop bottles, baseball bats, and everything else in the way of a weapon they could find, were intrenched behind barrels, boxes, and other barricading material in Liska's fruit store at that corner to resist the threatened onslaught of Tony Tpovanis and an equally desperate band.  

(Note:  name Tpovanis was also spelled as Jpovanis in article)

The scheduled hour for the fight was midnight, but at an early hour this morning the invaders had not yet arrived, although reports from them were received.  At that time they were marching - slowly - in the direction of the fruit store in dispute, from the Drexel ice cream parlor at Shields avenue and Forty-third street, nearly three miles away.

Big Profits in Store.

Possession of Liskas' fruit store, opposite the White City, a prosperous stand, with an income large enough to enable the proprietor to go back to Athens and live like a lord on garlic and figs at the end of a few years, was the casus belli.

The further cause of the feud, however, was an old time alleged effort on Liskas' part to put Tpovanis out of the way.  Liskas was indicted five months ago for an alleged conspiracy against the life of his rival.  George Dixon, a colored man, swore that Liskas had offered him $1,000 to assassinate Tpovanis.  The case is still pending.

Lease Expires at Midnight.

Liskas has had the fruit store eight years, but this spring Tpovanis surreptitiously over-bid him and secured the lease, which expired at midnight.  Liskas contended he had the place until June 1.  When he learned that Tpovanis and his crowd had secured justice court writs he summoned his clans and armed them miscellaneously.  Then the defense forces waited.

During the long hours of waiting there were exciting scenes.  Frank Georgepolis, chief lieutenant for Liskas, wearing a red sash - the insigna of some fraternal order - walked up and down the sidewalk haranguing the crowd.

"Liskas," he shouted, "is the father of seven children.  His wife and they will starve if they are forced to leave this place."

Peter Liskas and his brother James encouraged their supporters to stand by them.  The crowd appeared to be with the Greeks who were in possession.

Justice Richardson remained in the neighborhood to be on hand in case of trouble, which seemed to "shy off."