Cherry's Galveston Memories
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
where his older brother, Sam, lived. Then Tripo joined the U.S. Army
and was sent to Ft. Sam Houston in San
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.
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
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
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
Miltonís Rosenberg Library, though, remains for those who come after
Bill Cherry's Galveston
Memories April 3, 2009 column
© William S. Cherry. All rights reserved
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.