For a deeper look at my work regarding the Flint Coney, click here.
The left image is page 70 from the Report of the International Commission to Inquire into the Causes and Conduct of the Balkan Wars, published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in 1914. The upper map was defined at the Conference of London of 1912 – 1913, while the lower map was the result of the Treaty of Bukarest (sic) of 1913. The draft map on the right shows the location of Akritas, which was known as the village of Boufi prior to the 1913 Treaty.
The following is an excerpt from the Flint Coney history we’ve been working on since 2012. This is currently an unpublished work and its development is ongoing. Copyright remains with us.
A practical example of what happened during the Balkan Wars in the early twentieth century can be realized by looking into what occurred at he village of Boufi, Florina, Macedonia. Boufi was quite small, with populations never exceeding a couple thousand people. But as of the late twentieth century, the renamed village of Akritas had a population of only around 200 people, depending on the source of the record. The events that occurred there in the early 1900s were downright brutal, and require a closer look as they were the cause of the mass emigration from the area to other parts of the world.
In the early twentieth century the prefecture of Florina was in turmoil, along with the rest of Macedonia. On August 23, 1903, the Los Angeles Herald reported that the previous day “… the villages ‘of Boufi, Rakaro and Armcsko, near Florina, have been bombarded and their insurgent garrisons annihilated. At Boufi alone 500 Bulgarians are reported to have been killed. The women and children escaped to the mountains.’” [“Insurgent Garrisons Wiped Out – Three Villages Near Fiorina Have Been Abandoned”. Los Angeles Herald, Volume XXX, Number 320, 1903.] In 1914 the Report of the International Commission to Inquire into the Causes and Conduct of the Balkan Wars, from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, stated that during this time “… there are a thousand deaths and, in the final result, 200 villages ruined by Turkish vengeance, 12,000 houses burned, 3,000 women outraged, 4,700 inhabitants slain and 71,000 without a roof.” [Report of the International Commission to Inquire into the Causes and Conduct of the Balkan Wars. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1914.]
Akritas, formerly known as Boufi, as shown in Google Street View from their visit in October 2011. This is the active Street View, and can be manipulated as usual.
In Macedonia during the second Balkan War in the summer of 1913 it seems Boufi remained untouched, as there is apparently nothing described in official documentation. The fighting appears to have occurred elsewhere, most of the atrocities occurring east of Florina in villages such as Serres and Doxato. But as it had been only ten years since the atrocities in Boufi of 1903, it’s quite possible there was simply not much left. [Report of the International Commission to Inquire into the Causes and Conduct of the Balkan Wars. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1914.]
Boufi was later renamed Akritas as per the Treaty of Bucharest in 1913 when the Florina prefecture was granted to Greece. [Report of the International Commission to Inquire into the Causes and Conduct of the Balkan Wars. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1914.]
There is constant debate about when and where the Coney Island hot dog was first served. The earliest known year is 1914, with both Ft. Wayne’s Famous Coney Island Wiener Stand in Ft. Wayne, Indiana [“History page“, Ft. Wayne’s Famous Coney Island], and Todoroff’s Original Coney Island in Jackson, Michigan [“Todoroff’s Original Coney Island“, Jackson, MI], opening that year. As specific opening dates for those two locations are not known, and it also being unclear if there are other earlier openings at other locations, the first instance of the Coney Island hot dog is yet unknown and no reliable claim can be made.
A timeline of openings of the earliest coney island restaurants in widespread areas of the US is rather telling:
- 1914 – Ft. Wayne Coney Island, Ft. Wayne, Indiana
- 1914 – Todoroff’s Coney Island, Jackson, Michigan
- 1915 – Coney Island Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo, Michigan
- 1916 – Coney Island Lunch, McKeesport, Pennsylvania (closed 2017)
- 1917 – American Coney Island, Detroit, Michigan
- 1918(?) – Lafayette Coney Island, Detroit, Michigan
(The story about the American and Lafayette coney shops can be found here.)
- 1921 – Red Hot’s Coney Island, Highland Park, Michigan
- 1921 – Original Coney Island, Duluth, Minnesota (closed 2017)
- 1922 – Empress Chili, Cincinnati, Ohio
(While not specifically termed a “coney island”, the Macedonion roots and culture are uniquely similar to other coney shops of the time.)
- 1923(?) – Flint’s Original Coney Island, Flint, Michigan (closed 1979)
- 1923 – James Coney Island, Houston, Texas
- 1926 – Coney Island Hot Weiners, Tulsa, Oklahoma
(Founder and Greek immigrant Christ Economou had opened Coney Island Lunch in McKeesport, Pennsylvania ten years earlier, which closed in 2017. Coney Island Hot Weiners in Tulsa was his 27th coney shop, and his first in Oklahoma.)
- 1928 – Coney Island Deluxe, Duluth, Minnesota
Except for Lafayette and American Coney Islands in Detroit, each of the owners would likely not have known what the others were doing, as communication between immigrants in those days was sparse. It’s also clear that the owners immigrated from various parts of Greece and Macedonia at various times. That the Coney Island phenomenon occured at all is an interesting matter.