Rekreacijski centar Martin J. Bogdanović

Martin J. Bogdanović „Recreation Center“ (Rekreacijski centar), nalazi se na vrhu zelenog brda u San Pedru, koji je ujedno veliki park i rezervat prirode. Ako se pogleda na zapad, vidi se divno more, a ako se pogleda na jug, vidi se velika metropola Los Angeles. Unutar parka se nalazi igralište, mnogo planinarskih putova, nogometnih terena, bejzbol terena i terena za košarku. Uvijek puše umjeran morski povjetarac, kroz travu i polja koja rastu na području parka. Vežu me lijepe uspomene na park otkada sam bila dijete. Pamtim igranje na igralištu, učenje i igranje košarke pa čak i moj prvi „date“ kao tinejdžerka.

Kao dijete, često sam pitala o Bogdanoviću. Tko je bio on?

Bio je Hrvat, bila sam sigurna. Znala sam zbog „ich“ na kraju njegovog prezima – moje prezime je bilo isto. Ali što je on uradio za San Pedro da je čak jedan park nazvan po njemu?! Možda bih mogla pronaći odgovor na ovo pitanje u knjižnicama u San Pedru, čitanjem članaka i knjiga da bih dobila hladnu bezličnu sliku njegovog života i rada. No, činilo mi se da bi bilo najbolje da pitam – i dobijem odgovor – daleko od San Pedra, preko 6 400 milja, u gradu Komiži, na otoku Visu, u Hrvatskoj.

Martin Bogdanović rođen je 1882. g. na malom otoku Biševu, koji se nalazi neposredno ispred uvale u kojoj je smještena Komiža. Poslije poljoprivredne krize, njegova obitelj a tako i on doživljava poteškoće u opstanku, te odlučuje otići u Ameriku. 1908. g. doselio se u San Pedro u Kaliforniji. Neki Komižani i Hrvatski doseljenici već su bili zasnovali život tamo i izgradili jaku ribarsku industriju, sličnu industriji u Hrvatskoj. Bogdanović se vrlo brzo pilagodio, pridružio se doseljenicima iz Komiže te počeo eksperimentirati s tehnikama hlađenja ribe. Poslije nekog vremena osmislio je način kako konzervirati ribu na duže vrijeme dok se ribarilo, što je omogućilo duži boravak na moru. S ovim prednostima, u suradnji s drugim Hrvatima uspostavio je tvornicu srdela u San Pedru 1917. g. S njegovim rukovodstvom, postepeno se razvijala poduzetnost i tvornica je postala najveće društvo za srdele u SAD-u, Starkist Tuna.

Zbog svojih korijenja težio je zapošljavanju doseljenika iz svoje zemlje, kao što je i sam bio. Moja prabaka je bila zaposlena u njegovoj tvornici kao i neka druga njezina rodbina, našli su prvi posao baš tu u tvornici ribe. U više navrata, moja baka mi je prepričavala kako je njena majka dolazila kući iz tvornice prepoznatljivog ribljeg mirisa infiltriranog u kosi i odjeći. Kad bi vjetar puhao iz smjera tvornice, nitko nije mogao pobjeći mirisu i cijeli je San Pedro mirisao na srdele. To je bio podsjetnik velikog poslovanja u luci.

Kao što mu je poslovanje bilo važno, ujedno je bio svjestan tegoba Hrvatskih doseljnika u Americi, te zbog toga odlučio je izgraditi Hrvatski Američki Dom u njegovom američkom domu. 1926. g. on i 25 drugih doseljenika izgradili su “Klub Jugoslavena”, te je potom bio I izabran za predsjednika kluba. Klub ili “Slav Hall” po čemu je bio poznat, posluživao je hrvatsku I komišku hranu te su doseljnici iz cijele Hrvatske mogli uživati domaća jela I hrvatsku kulturu. Naravno, I moja obitelj se učlanila svojedobno u klub I petkom navečer odlazili su u klub radi plesanja I druženja. Moja nona je upoznala svog muža uravo tamo. On je bio mladi muškarac porijeklom iz Hrvatske, baš kao I ona. U međuvremenu, Bogdanović je još uvijek predsjedao I odlučio je promjeniti ime kluba u “Jugoslav-Američki Dom” 1949.g., čime je htio simbolizirati promjenu nacionalnosti doseljenika u San Pedru iz Jugoslavenske u Američku.

Pedestih godina 20. stoljeća, poslovanje Bogdanovića počelo je nailaziti na probleme. Zbog prelova, više nije bilo dovoljno srdele u okolici San Pedra, te je Bogdanović odlučio početi loviti tunu umjesto srdele. 1961. g., dogodila se tragedija: Bogdanović je doživio srčani udar I umro. U međuvremenu na Biševu I u Komiži također se osjetilo teško razdoblje. U istoj godini u kojoj je umro Bogdanović, jedina škola na Biševu se zatvorila – nije više bilo dovoljno učenika za pohađanje nastave. U međuvremenu klubom je predsjedao novi predsjednik te je I StarKist postizao velike uspjehe s tunom. S druge strane na Biševu I u Komiži populacija je nastavila opadati. Sve više ljudi je odlazilo u inozemstvo.

Danas su gradovi gospodarski mnogo jači i još uvijek usko povezani. Ekonomski oba grada su se usredotočila na turizam. U Komiži nakon zatvaranja tvornica srdela, gospodarstvo se počelo potpuno temeljiti na turizmu. Turistički brodovi, prvenstveno jedrilice, vide se usidrene pored starih ribarskih brodica, a brojni restorani nalaze se duž komiške obale. San Pedro trenutno slijedi primjer Komiže, nadajući se da će gospodarstvo prebaciti na turizam, a u tijeku je revitalizacija starog ribarskog pristaništa u trgovine i restorane. Društveno, ljudi iz Komiže I San Pedra se isprepliću, te putuju naprijed-nazad između gradova. Bake i djedovi odvode svoju djecu i unuke u Komižu kako bi ih poučili o njihovoj baštini, a Komižani putuju u San Pedro kako bi vidjeli obitelj i prijatelje koji više nisu u svom rodnom gradu. Jugoslovensko-američki klub, koji je sada preimenovan u Dalmatinsko-američki klub, i dalje redovito kreira društvena događanja, sastanke i nedjeljne ručkove. Moja nona i ja nedavno smo proveli tamo nekoliko uzastopnih nedjelja, gdje sam uz nju I njene prijatelje mogla nesmetamo vježbati I prakticirati svoj hrvatski jezik kojeg I studiram.

I Bogdanović nije zaboravljen. Spomenik je izgrađen u njegovu čast I postavljen u njegovom starom klubu. Bogdanovich Park je također posvećen njemu u čast. Sad, San Pedro ima oko 35,000 Hrvata te je u međuvremenu otvoren I drugi Hrvatski dom. Nasljedstvo Bogdanovića – nije samo tvornica ili njegova tehnološka inovacija – ali jest pripadajuća mu čast zbog “brige” o diaspori u San Pedru. Iako je bio odličan biznismen ponajprije je bio “Otac Hrvatskog života” u Južnoj Kaliforniji. Bogdanović je izgradio most koji je povezivao Komižu i San Pedro. Za vrijeme života u San Pedru, doseljenici nisu napuštali tradicije svoje kulturne baštine, već su je prilagođavali američkoj tradiciji. U mjestima kao što je Dalmatinski Američki Dom, težili su očuvanju tradicije svojih predaka za buduće generacije. Uvelike su utjecali na razvoj San Pedra I to se može vidjeti I danas. San Pedro je gradić u kojem svaki čovjek zna jedno drugo, gdje ih prezimena povezuju još iz prošlosti I gdje je ponos za baštinu i obitelj velik. Od svih otočnih kultura, komiška je kultura najzastupljenija. Čak I moja nona govori komiški, iako potječe s Brača I Dugog otoka. no zbog utjecaja brojnih Komižana, I ona priča komiški. Na blagdanima pravimo I jedemo “pogacu” I hruštole. Stabla rogača rastu nanizani u redovima po ulicama. I većina stanovnika San Pedra ima bar nekog od obitelji u Komiži. Kulturalno I doslovce gospodarski, San Pedro je izgrađen radom Komižana, a sve zahvaljujući Martinu Bogdanoviću.

Napisala
Nadia Nizetich,
porijeklom iz San Pedra,
koja već drugi put posjećuje Komižu u jednoj godini.
Ujedno je i volonterka Geoparka Viški arhipelag.

Martin J. Bogdanovich Recreation Center

Situated atop the peak of a lush hill sits Martin J. Bogdanovich Recreation Center, a large park and nature preserve overlooking the bustling port town of San Pedro.Looking west, one is greeted by the sight of a magnificent ocean, and to the south the expanse of the Los Angeles metropolis. The park itself features a children’s play area, hiking trails, baseball and soccer fields, and a gym complete with a basketball court. More often than not, a gentle sea breeze blows here, through the butterfly brush and native grasses growing contentedly on the park’s grounds. I have happy, fond memories here: being pushed on the swings by my grandmother as toddler, learning to play rookie basketball in the gym as a kid, and going on my first date as a teenager.

Growing up, I had often wondered about the park’s namesake. Who was this Bogdanovich? He was Croatian, I was sure. I could tell by the “ich” at the end of his name – mine had one just like it. But what did he do for San Pedro to deserve a park in his honor? I probably could have answered this question in the libraries of San Pedro, digging through yellowed archival records to get a rigid, calculated account of Bogdanović’s life and work. But I would later find that this question was best asked – and answered – 6400 miles away, in the town of Komiža on the island of Vis, Croatia.

Martin Bogdanović was born in 1882 on the small island of Biševo, a neighbor to the larger island of Vis off the coast of Croatia. Facing hardship after years of agricultural blight and a declining local population, Bogdanović decided to try his luck in America in 1908, and moved to San Pedro, California. Some Komižan and Croat immigrants had already established a life here, and so he was greeted by a budding fishing industry, not unlike the one he left at home, and fell easily into step. Partnering with other immigrants from Komiža and Croatia, he experimented with refrigeration techniques, eventually developing methods to preserve fish for longer periods while at sea, enabling trips to be longer and catches to be greater. These advantages set him apart from his contemporaries, and as a result he established a sardine cannery operation in San Pedro with 3 fellow Croats in 1917 on Terminal Island. With his leadership, they would eventually grow their enterprise into StarKist Tuna, the biggest tuna canning company in the U.S.

True to his roots, he staffed this factory with fellow Croat emigrants like himself, with many coming from Biševo and Komiža. My own great-grandmother was employed by his factory, and many of her cousins coming from Croatia found their first work in America there. Many times, somewhat fondly, my grandmother recounted her mother coming home from the factory with her clothes and hair coated in a fishy perfume. If the wind was blowing just right, nobody could escape the smell – all of San Pedro would bear the aroma of sardines, reminding them of the huge operation in the port.

But while Bogdanović was certainly concerned with his business venture, he knew all too well the hardship of Croatian laborers coming to America and decided to also put his efforts into the construction of a Croatian social club in his American home. In 1926, he and twenty-five Croat immigrants established the Yugoslav Club in San Pedro and elected him as their first president. The Club, or “Slav Hall” as it became known in San Pedro, served a mixture of Croatian and Komižan food, and immigrants from all parts of Croatia could enjoy a home-cooked meal surrounded by familiar faces and a familiar language. Naturally, my family became active members, going out to the Club on Friday nights for dancing and socializing with other Croat immigrants like themselves. Much to her parents’ delight, my Nona met her would-be husband there: a young man born to Croat immigrants in the U.S., exactly like herself. Meanwhile, Bogdanović continued to preside as president, making the decision to change the name of the club in 1949 to the Yugoslav-American Club, reflecting and solidifying a change in identity of Croats in living in San Pedro, from Yugoslav to American.

But Bogdanovic’s operation was not without problems. Having overfished California waters, he was forced to change his operation to focus on tuna instead of sardines. Then, in 1961 on his way to a meeting at the Yugoslav-American club, tragedy struck: Bogdanović suffered a heart attack and later died. Likewise, Biševo and Komiža could not escape hardship.The same year Bogdanovic died, the only school on Biševoclosed permanently, no longer having enough students to continue. While the club found a new president and StarKist had great success with tuna, Biševo could not as easily remedy its problems, and the population dwindled to just a few residents and no children. Neighboring Komiža fared better, but residents continued to move to abroad.

Today, the towns are faring better and are still closely linked. Economically, both towns have graduallyshifted their focus to tourism. In Komiža after the closure of the sardine factories, and the economy became entirely tourism-based: tour boats are seen docked next to old fishing boats and lobster restaurants are situated on top of old lobster pools. San Pedro is currently following Komiža’s lead, hoping to shift its economy to tourism, and is in the process of renovating its former fisherman’s wharf into shops and eateries. Socially, Komižans and San Pedrans are likewise intertwined, with residents travelling back and forth between the cities. Grandparents bring their children and grandchildren to Komiža to teach them about their heritage, and Komižans travel to San Pedro to see family and friends no longer in their hometown. The Yugoslav-American Club, now renamed The Dalmatian-American Club, still regularly holds meetings and Sunday lunches – my Nona and I recently spent a few Sundays there, where she and her friends happily helped me practice my Komižan.

And Bogdanović has certainly not been forgotten. A statue was erected of him in his old club, and Bogdanovich Park was dedicated in his honor. Now, there are an estimated 35,000 Croats and people of Croatian descent in San Pedro, and a second Croatian social hall has opened its doors to them. This is where the true legacy of Bogdanović lies - not in his company, Starkist, nor in the fishing industry as a whole, but in the diaspora of Croats in San Pedro. While he obviously was an outstanding businessman, he was also something greater: he was the father of Croatian life in Southern California. Through his work, Bogdanović built a bridge from Komiža to San Pedro, providing immigrants with work and making the transition to a new life in the U.S. slightly easier. Once in San Pedro, these immigrants did not simply abandon their customs and adopt American ones. Aided by the Dalmatian-American Club, they shaped and expanded their traditions, adapting them to American life and preserving them for future generations. They molded San Pedro into what it is today: a close-knit town where everybody knows one another, where a familiar last name signals an old-world connection, and where family and pride in one’s heritage go hand-in-hand. And, of course, it is a place where Komižan culture reigns king: my grandmother speaks Komižan-Croatian, not her island’s dialect; we eat Komiškapogača and hruštole on holidays; rogač trees line the town’s parks; and everyone seems to have a Komižan in their family. Culturally, economically, and literally, San Pedro was built by the labor of Komižans. And we owe it all to Martin Bogdanović.

Written by Nadia Nizetich
Volunteer for the Geopark Vis archipelago

 
Nadia 2san pedro dom 1san pedro dom 2

NOVOSTI!

linija.jpg
Broken Clouds

14.61°C

Komiža

Broken Clouds
Vlaga: 82%
Vjetar: SW u 2.6 METER/SEC