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Gust Spanos Oral History


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Biographical Information:

Gus Spanos was born in the Greek town of Selene (on the island of Marmara in the Aegean Sea) on November 23, 1893. In 1912, he left Greece and immigrated to the United States of America. Spanos originally lived in Wisconsin, finding work in construction and with the Great Northern Railroad company. He arrived in St. Cloud, Minnesota, in 1914, where he later opened his own grocery store. Spanos married his wife Ruth Stewart (a native of St. Cloud) in 1923, and the couple managed their store together for the next forty years. They together raised two sons and two daughters. Spanos passed away on February 8, 1991, at the age of 97.

Transcript Summary:

In an interview conducted on April 5, 1978, Gus Spanos discussed his life. Spanos said he was originally born in Greece, but chose to emigrate to the United States in 1912 at the age of 19. Spanos mentioned that his early years in the U.S. were somewhat difficult, largely on account of the physically taxing work in the construction and railroad industries, as well as struggling with the English language. However, Spanos also affirmed that his life as an immigrant began to greatly improve following his relocation to St. Cloud in 1914. Here he opened his own grocery store at 10th Street South and 1st Avenue South, often called “Gus’s” or “Riverside Store”. Spanos also spoke of his strong ties with the wider St. Cloud community, especially with St. Cloud State. He discussed that St. Cloud State students and faculty regularly made up a large portion of his store’s customer base, right up until its closure in 1963.

Interview conducted by Cal Gower and John LeDoux


Image ID: 13664

See additional files below for full transcript.

13664_transcript.pdf (232 kB)
Gust Spanos oral history transcript

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