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.
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.
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.
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.|
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.
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.
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
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.
Rosenberg Library, though, remains for those who come after him.
Cherry's Galveston Memories April 3, 2009 column
S. Cherry. All rights reserved