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 Texas : Feature : Columns : Bill Cherry's Galveston Memories :

MILTONíS ROSENBERG LIBRARY

by Bill Cherry
Tripo Mitrovich came from Serbia to the U.S. in 1913. He was 17-years old, and he knew that if he remained in Serbia, he would be conscripted into the Austrian army.

Tripo was certain that he couldnít support Austriaís cause.

He came through New Yorkís Ellis Island, and then caught the train to Galveston where his older brother, Sam, lived. Then Tripo joined the U.S. Army and was sent to Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio.

He was preparing to be shipped to France when he got seriously ill. By the time he recovered, World War I was over.

Tripo came home to Galveston and went to work as a professional waiter, first at Nick Ballachís Elite Cafť on the Seawall and later at Celli and Fredericksonís Johnís Oyster Resort on Broadway. Both were fine fish-specialty restaurants of that time.

Tripo was one of the many who immigrated to America and the island, and became the strong threads of the cityís fabric. It was the pride and work ethic of Galvestonís immigrant population that caused Galveston to progress, and for its people to learn to live with, depend on, and to equally respect the contributions of the others.

Tripo married Adele Pechacek, and soon Milton was born. In fact he was born on the 100th anniversary of Texas Independence; March 2, 1936. He was proud of that.
Milton Mitrovich, Galveston, Texas
Milton Mitrovich
Photo courtesy Elaine Mitrovich
Elaine was born four years later. And Tripo and Adele made sure that Milton and Elaine learned to pride Galveston, a city where, for an example, all of the knowledge they could ever possibly need was in store for them at the Rosenberg Library, and at no cost. Adele took them there every week. Both children became and remained veracious readers.

When Milton first saw ďMiltonĒ cut into the stone surrounding the top of the libraryís building, he insisted that engraving was in his honor and not that of a famous author. From then on, he called it Miltonís Rosenberg Library.

Milton loved Galveston and he loved the part he played in making and keeping Galveston what it was, the place his family had helped build. He was, after all, a BOI and he practiced the responsibility that he felt came with it.

Milton worked as a Houston Light and Power Co. lineman, retired, and then managed the Galveston Historical Foundationís Mardi Gras Museum and then the 1900 Storm Museum. He even served at the Texas State Museum in Austin for awhile.

Milton was a good source of Galveston history and of the tales that are not written down. And for years he collected photos and postcards to document his memory of the city Tripo and Adele had taught him to love. Miltonís collection was huge.

Milton died of prostate cancer a few weeks ago. The city that he had documented with his big collection of postcards and photos had begun to struggle along with him. And then Hurricane Ike had come and made big changes, none for the better. And finally, within days of his death, Johnís Oyster Resortís building was plowed to the ground, removing the final monument of Tripo Mitrovichís important island contribution.

Miltonís Rosenberg Library, though, remains for those who come after him.


Bill Cherry's Galveston Memories April 3, 2009 column
Copyright William S. Cherry. All rights reserved
Related Topics: People | Mothers | Fathers | Marriage | Galveston | Galveston Stories | Texas | Online Magazine |

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Bill Cherry, a Dallas Realtor and free lance writer was a longtime columnist for "The Galveston County Daily News." His book, Bill Cherry's Galveston Memories, has sold thousands, and is still available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com and other bookstores.
 
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