In 1925 two recent Greek immigrant brothers, Nicholas and Angelos Tsardoulias, purchased and began operating the Hotel James in Greenville, Ohio. They continued to own the building for several decades until it was sold, to be razed, in 1961.
This photo of the Hotel James (found here) appears to be from the late 1930s, given the models of the cars shown.
Though I am not certain, I am exploring the likelihood that Nicholas and Angelos are my 2nd cousins 3 times removed. There are many indications that support this, but there are still questions that need answers for me to feel more confident.
Here is the article describing the sale of the building in 1961.
In a previous post you read about how a Greek genealogy researcher I hired identified several members of my Tsardoulias family that were previously unknown to me.
One of the newly identified relatives was a Cristofis Tsardolias who was the son of Nikalaos Tsardoulias (1830-1879). It is believed that Nikalaos was my 4th great uncle, the brother of my 3rd great grandfather, George Tsardoulias (b. 1825). All the Tsardoulias family that I know of came from nearby villages on the island of Samos, Greece.
Two of Cristofis’s sons were the Angelos and Nickolas described above who owned the Hotel James. If this is not my family, it seems almost impossible that these Tsardoulias brothers did not known my known Tsardoulias relatives.
For those keeping score at home, here is speculative relationship chart between Angelos and Nicholas and myself. Some of the birth years are estimates.
While researching these brothers I discovered several other news articles that told more of their story.
In 1922 Angelos attained his U.S. citizenship. He did so with a James Tsardoulias who I believe was another brother of his and Nicholas’s. At the time James and Angelos operated a shoeshine business. Perhaps this was a precursor to Tsardoulias family’s entrepreneurial aspirations that would lead to the purchase of the hotel just three years later.
The first mention I found of the Tsardoulias brothers connected to the Hotel James was from 1934. It details Nicholas and his wife’s return trip to Greece to visit relatives.
Here is an article from 1956 that provides interesting information about this history of the Hotel James site. It includes legends of alleged mystery escape tunnels, huge wine cellars in the basement, and famed German food served by prior owners. The building also sat on the site of the old Fort Greenville, where apparently General “Mad Anthony” Wayne signed an important peace treaty with the Native Americans.
I also found several photographs of the Hotel James at different times in history. Here is a postcard for sale on eBay that shows Greenville City Hall in the front and a different view of the Hotel James in the background.
This is not a great photo, but it is the only image I found that shows anything about the inside of the Hotel James.
And here is another street view postcard of the hotel.
A word of caution here! It is possible that these are not my people. I WANT them to be because it is such a neat story. But, even if they aren’t, the story is still pretty cool. It’s not the typical Greek immigrant story more common in my family. The one where laborers or carpenters scraped up enough money to come to the U.S. and found jobs where they could.
There is a lot more I want to know and I will keep you posted with what I discover. Please feel free to let me know if you have any insights to share. I would love to hear from you!
This is the 42nd of 52 weekly posts planned for 2018. It was inspired by the #52Ancestors writing challenge issued by professional genealogist, Amy Crow Johnson. The challenge: once a week, for all 52 weeks of the year, write about a relative in your family tree.