George Marousis, “No.s Lottery” 19 Feb 1942

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The Marousis brothers James, William and Speer, left the Greek village of Lyrkeia for America in 1906 when Speer, the oldest, was just eighteen. They arrived in New York and headed straight for New Castle, where they shone shoes and cleaned hats until they had enough money to open a cigar store on East Washington street. In 1912, James returned to Europe to join the Greek army, fighting in the Balkan wars and the first world war. He sent out their cousin, George, to replace him in New Castle. The brothers made George manager of their new store on the Diamond, while they concerned themselves with other businesses—a confectionary called Candy Land, run by William, and a cinema called the Dome, run by Speer.

By 1921, Speer had taken over four more cinemas—the Penn, the Regent, the Capitol and the Star. The Capitol burned down in 1930 and he lost all but the Regent in the depression. In 1940, Speer and William bought the Fountain Inn, the grandest hotel in New Castle. They ran it for ten years until their partnership dissolved. William retained the hotel. Five years later, Speer closed the Regent, blaming television for falling audiences. He bought the old Coliseum theater and had it razed and the ground cemented over for a parking lot. The rent from that and his other properties paid for his retirement. William ran the Fountain Inn until it burned down on Christmas eve, 1968. It, too, became a parking lot.

While his cousins’ businesses thrived, failed, rose and fell, George went to work day after day in the cigar store on the Diamond, changing its name from Marousis Cigars to the American News Stand not long after he was arrested for running a lottery on the premises, during the county detective’s crackdown on numbers operations in the city.

George worked at the store for fifty years, until he died in 1969, at the age of seventy-two. Two years after his death, Pennsylvania established a state lottery. The American News Stand was the only ticket agent in downtown New Castle.

10 May 1912, “Mercantile Appraisement”; 3 March 1913, “Local Greek Guards Turks”; 22 Feb 1915, “Youth Fails At First Job Of Burglary”; 13 Aug 1920, “New Candy Shop To Be Opened Here”; 7 Oct 1920, “Fine Art Work On Decorations For New Store”; 28 June 1921, “Big Theatrical Business Deal Is Consumated”; 16 March 1925, “Boyhood Ambitions”; 19 Feb 1942, “Arrest Four As Numbers Operators”; 24 April 1951, “Father Of George Marousis Is Dead At Home In Greece”; 31 July 1969, “Deaths Of The Day”; 16 Oct 1972, “Speer Marousis Dies In Hospital”; 28 Feb 1977, Pennsylvania Lottery advert.

2 Comments

  1. Jim Villani says

    The American News Stand is still there on the Diamond. My dad was a regular customer to buy his Pittsburgh paper and lottery tickets.

    • I wish I’d dropped in when I visited the city last year, but I hadn’t researched George’s picture then, so I didn’t know I’d have any cause to. Some other time, perhaps…

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