Born and raised in Tyler, I'm still a resident of the city known to many as "The Rose Capital of America". I've collected Tyler memorabilia for years and decided to share some of my collection through a series of websites. This is just one of those websites, so if you did not start from my Past Glimpses of Tyler, Texas home page, be sure to visit it next to see more Tyler memorabilia.
I encourage you to please write with your comments and share your memories of Tyler. Enjoy this visit to Tyler's past!
Since you're visiting this webpage, you might be interested in my first book with Arcadia Publishing titled Images of America: Tyler. For more information, click the link below.
A Little History, Provided By LaRue Foster...
As a Greek immigrant, Gus Malavansos (my maternal grandfather) came to this country in 1893 via Ellis Island virtually penniless, moving to Texas where his older brothers who had immigrated earlier lived. He stayed first in Corsicana, then moved to Galveston and missed the devastating hurricane of 1900 by two days because he had gone to visit his brother in Waco on Thursday before the hurricane struck on Saturday, September 8. He then moved to Tyler and first operated a candy kitchen, where he made and sold hand-dipped chocolate candy.
Then about 1905 he opened the restaurant (called the Malavansos Cafe) you see in the pictures. He had the cafe on the corner of College and West Ferguson from about 1905 through 1937, when he retired. I don't know the vintage of the pictures, but I think they were probably taken in the 1920s or 1930s.
He was very proud of his adopted country and was known for his generosity. In the 1930s when everyone who could buy or rent a rig was drilling for oil, men who were down to their last penny would come in the restaurant, and he would feed them, accepting their IOUs, which he tore up after they were gone. My mother was a teenager working in the cafe and asked her father why he did that because the IOUs could be worth a lot of money some day. He told her that this country had been good to him and he would never let anyone go away hungry, but that it would offend a man's pride to accept a handout, so he let them give him their IOUs.
One other thing my mother told me: At one time before Smith County became totally a 'dry' county, beer could be served in restaurants, and he had a huge keg with beer on tap located at the back of the cafe. However, when a law was passed that beer couldn't be sold within so many feet of a church, he moved it to the front of the cafe since the First Baptist Church was only a block away. This would have been before Prohibition, of course.
A Little History, Provided By Lorraine Ford...
The building in the background is the La France House, circa 1933. At the corner of Border & West Ferguson was an empty lot, where the Rose Festival was held and where traveling medicine shows set up their tents. Next to the lot was the La France House, located at 509 West Ferguson, with city offices beyond that. She believes the house was originally built by a Mr. Le France, who had been in the navy, but at the time of the photo the building was owned by the city. Lorraine's great-grandparents, Ella & Sidney Guthrie, leased the house from the city and used it as a boarding house for oil field wildcatters. Lorraine's mother, Dorothy Dell Berger, is the taller girl in the photo, shown with a friend. Dorothy recalls setting the table for dinners with white tablecloths & china settings and Ella insisting that the men be cleaned up and well dressed when they came to dinner.
This webpage last updated on February 22, 2010, by R Reed
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