Episodes in One Man's Life

 

Memoirs of Alexander Kosta

 

 

The Greek Historical Society of the San Francisco Bay Area gratefully acknowledges members and relatives of the Kosta family for allowing us to reprint Mr. Kosta's memoirs and for contributing photographs and memorabilia to our historical archive. For additional photographs, please visit the Kosta Virtual Photo Album)

 

Alexander Kosta was one of Holy Trinity's founders. His story is linked to the history of the Greek community in San Francisco and the Hellenic Mutual Benevolent Society, the first Greek organization in San Francisco which was founded in 1888. This organization was a driving force for the establishment of a Greek Orthodox Church in San Francisco.

Alexander Kosta was from Galaxidion and he was a sailor. He was born in 1851. His travels took him all over the world. He saw more places than most people see in a lifetime. Historical records place his arrival in San Francisco close to 1883. He worked in several California cities before permanently settling in San Francisco. Mr. Kosta starts to appear in San Francisco city directories in 1890.

Alexander Kosta's story is a story of success and tragedy.  He became a successful businessman and leader within the Greek community. He was very generous to Greek causes and helped others. His autobiography is the only written account as to how Holy Trinity was founded. After the 1906 Earthquake & Fire he lost everything. He struggled to make a living. During this time his son and eldest daughter passed away at young age.

Alexander Kosta wrote his memoirs in 1924. The original text was written in Greek and was translated by Alexandra Apostolides (founder of the Daughters of Penelope) in the 1920s. In July 1970, Peter George (Alexander Kosta's grandson) re-typed the manuscript with word changes and revisions in syntax and orthography.

His autobiography is divided into eight chapters. Please note that there are Greek words in various sections of the text and you must change the encoding setting on your web browser to view them.

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

 

The historical society researched Alexander Kosta newspaper articles. The following is a summary of events taken from San Francisco Call newspaper articles.  They help to establish a timeline for events referenced in his autobiography.

05/08/1892 - The Hellenic Mutual Benevolent Society is founded in San Francisco.

05/11/1894 - The Hellenic Mutual Benevolent Society holds annual elections. Alexander Kosta is elected president.

04/20/1896 - The Baltimore Oyster House, Alexander Kosta's restaurant catches fire. A kitchen oil stove explodes. The flames are quickly controlled.

04/16/1897 - Alexander Kosta elected treasurer of the Hellenic Mutual Benevolent Society.

05/03/1897 - The Hellenic Christian Aid Society is organized at the Phelan Building. Alexander Kosta is elected founding president.

08/24/1897 - Minnie Kosta, Alexander Kosta's first wife, files for divorce on the grounds of alleged cruelty.

08/24/1900 - Alexander Kosta is elected secretary of the Greek-American Republican Club.

10/20/1900 - Minnie Kosta, Alexander Kosta's former wife, and John Boscus are issued a marriage license. John Boscus is of French decent and they both reside at the same boarding house as Alexander Kosta.

10/21/1900 - Minnie Kosta and John Boscus are married in front of a judge.  Minnie Kosta takes a gun to the marriage ceremony and forces John Boscus to marry her at gunpoint.  John Boscus later abandons her and moves in with his parents.

01/15/1901 - Minnie Boscus commits suicide. She takes an unidentified narcotic.

01/04/1903 - Members of the Greek community meet at Druids Hall and elect trustees for the purpose of building a Greek Orthodox Church.     Alexander Kosta and Berkeley University Professor Albin Putzker address the group.

04/26/1903 - Von Rhein Real Estate Company sells Alexander Kosta a lot on the northeast line of Seventh Street with odd improvements, east from Cleveland Street. 50x70. $5,750.

07/23/1904 - Alexander Kosta sells Holy Trinity lot on NE line of Seventh Street, 25 SE of Cleveland, SE 50 by NE 75. $6,000.

06/26/1905 - Alexander Kosta & restaurant owners file an injunction against the Cooks and Waiter Union to prevent them from boycotting and interfering with employees.

04/18/1906 - San Francisco Earthquake & Fire. Alexander Kosta's restaurant, the Baltimore Oyster House, is destroyed.

02/28/1907 - Alexander Kosta sells Katherine Kosta, his wife, real estate. Lot on E line of Seventh Avenue. 150 N of B Street. N 25 by E 120. $5.

02/11/1909 - Alexander Kosta reopens the Baltimore Oyster House at 156-158 Eddy Street.

10/12/1917 - Alexander Kosta's son John passes away at 12 years old.

03/23/1924 - Alexander Kosta's daughter Amanda passes away at 22 years old.

09/22/1924 - Alexander Kosta passes away from stomach cancer at the age of 73 in San Francisco.

 

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Contents copyright : Jim Lucas & Greek Historical Society of the San Francisco Bay Area