Greek Americans of Cleveland Since 1870, a 416-page history of Greek immigrants who settled in Cleveland (Ohio), traces the lives of the first immigrants to settle in this area, life in communes, the nomadic search for work, the establishment of the first businesses, and the creation and growth of the first Greek Orthodox Church Community and those that followed. The book is now available from The Hellenic Preservation Society of Northeastern Ohio.

The new publication is an expanded and upgraded version of an earlier book that was published in 1984. It covers a greater number of activities and chronicles a greater number of historic documents and events. The earlier version traced the history of the Greek American Communities of Cleveland in detail only to the period immediately following World War II. The new version offers a more detailed picture of all activities to the present day.

The history follows clues in search of the stories of the first Greek immigrants to settle in Cleveland and the paths that led to the creation of a formal community. It described the establishment of the first businesses and the entrepreneurs who founded them, the creation of a formal Greek Orthodox Church community, its struggles through hard economic times and wars, a growth that saw four churches operating under one charter, and the ultimate expansion into four viable independent communities.
The history of Greek Americans of Cleveland contains more than 500 photos, as well as other graphics that include documents, tables, sketches, and passages from oral histories. During the early period of research, dating back to the 1950s, more than forty immigrant pioneers (protoporoi) were interviewed and their voices preserved on recordings. Few of those earlier pioneers remain.

Co-authored by Mike Vasilakes and Themistocles Rodis, Ph.D., this volume has been produced under the aegis of The Hellenic Preservation Society of Northeastern Ohio, to which Mr. Vasilakes and Dr. Rodis donated all rights and revenues. Mike Vasilakes is vice president and editorial director of Specialty Gas Publishing, Inc., and Dr. Rodis is Professor emeritus and former head of the history department of Baldwin Wallace College. He also served as Dean of Hellenic College.

The history book contains 20 chapters that trace not only church community activities, but also the founding of regional and national societies, the Greek Schools, and businesses, as well as the accomplishments of individuals in the professions, education, politics, industry, entertainment, and the arts.

To fund the research, production, and printing of this volume, Part 2 was added to this book. This section contains in-depth histories of more than 50 families who supported this effort with their donations to the Hellenic Preservation Society of Northeastern Ohio and this project. During the course of compiling these family histories, considerable valuable additional historical data was obtained.

George "Gary" Thomas, president of the board of trustees of The Hellenic Preservation Society of Northeastern Ohio, states: "Projects such as this fulfill the mission of HPS that includes the preservation of the history of our forefathers. This publication reflects the hardships and joys these early Greek immigrants experienced coming to America and Northeastern Ohio. These pioneers left everything they were familiar with, came to a new land, and established a new life for themselves, their children, and their succeeding generations. While embracing and assimilating into their new country they managed to maintain the ethos of their roots, as well as those elements that helped them retain their Greek identity. This is what is at the heart of Greek Americans of Cleveland, our ancestors' preservation of their religion, language, morality, food, music, work ethic, commitment to their children's education, and enjoyment of family life. It was no small task to capture the history of our community's growth and vitality. It required teamwork, dedication, and a love of the task that will prove valuable for the generations to come."

The work of the coauthors was supported by a volunteer staff that included professional researchers, writers, legal scholars, librarians, teachers, and many others who offered unstintingly both of their time and talent.

Copies of Greek Americans of Cleveland Since 1870 can be obtained by donating $45.00 to The Hellenic Preservation Society of Northeastern Ohio, c/o Charlotte LaJoe, 25026 Mill River Drive, Olmsted Falls, OH 44138.

(Posting date 12 April 2006)

For more information about the book, contact Mr. Mike Vasilakes: phone 216-226-3796; fax 216-274-9536; email For additional information about The Hellenic Preservation Society of Northeastern Ohio (HPS), contact the society at 12550 Lake Ave., Ste. 1312, Lakewood, OH 44107

HCS readers can view other genealogical articles and releases in our extensive, permanent archives at the URL For more information about genealogical methodology, especially in researching Hellenic ancestry, see especially the main genealogy page or the section about Hellenic Historical and Genealogical Association at the URL

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