Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Palace Candy Store & Fountain/Restaurant

It's hard to document details of life for Stockton Greek-Americans early/mid 20th Century without pictures of buildings inside and out as well as of people.  My September Stockton stay included pestering friends/relatives for old photos.  Thanks to everyone who helped! 

Courtesy of The Haggin Museum
Good information tracing family movement through the years is available in old City Directories found at the public library.  But when you get a lead on an old family address, that home or business may simply no longer exist -- like the Palace Candy Store & Fountain/  Restaurant, which was located at 216 Main Street a few doors down from what became the Fox (now the Bob Hope) Theater. My Papou George Sarris was the cook, with candy-making duties.  Think See's Candies of Stockton...

Jane & Kathy w/Aunt Libby
The Palace was owned by Bill and Sophia Demakopoulos (my Papou's sister).  They had 5 children -- Evelyn, Jimmy, Demie, Nick and Georgia -- and last lived at 320 W.  Poplar before moving to Santa Cruz.  The children also eventually moved away except for Dr. Nick Demas, who married Lilla ("Ginger" from Georgia). They had 2 daughters, Kathy and Jane.  Kathy got the call; did she have any photos of the Palace? She had one, with  her Papou and uncle Demie standing outside. The sign in the window says, "A complete dinner 50 cents."

Demie & Bill Demakopoulos
The same photo turned up a few days later in Aptos (Santa Cruz) where I happily visited with Connie Mellis, daughter-in-law of Evelyn Mellis and now the matriarch of that side of the clan.  Appointments with Bill Maxwell (Archive Manager, Bank of Stockton) and Todd Ruhstaller (CEO/Curator of History @ The Haggin Museum) turned up 2 downtown photos from the early 20's with the Palace sign clearly visible.

I have dreamy memories of visiting the Palace as a child -- allowed into Papou's inner sanctum and then to eat lunch (roast turkey with a scoop of mashed potatoes cradling delicious brown gravy) along with my Mom in one of the booths. That was a little girl's most favorite thing. 

But the business closed down around 1952...and I have no pictures of that kitchen or those booths or the candy room upstairs where Yiayia Sarris worked boxing bonbons after Hilda had dipped them in chocolate. Does anyone out there have any photos of the inside of the Palace Candy Store & Fountain/Restaurant to share?  There is a reward!

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