Century of Diversity
An illustrated history by Dean Smith
Celebrating the Glendale Centennial:
100 Years of Dreams, 1892-1992.
Printing in 1992, republished in 2000.
Chapter 2: The Convergence of Cultures — Pages 34-36 — [Among stories of Glendale's diverse founding nationalities (Chinese, Basque, Japanese, Hispanic, German, etc) and religions (Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, etc.) is this page about the Russian Molokans.]
One of the unique hallmarks of Glendale is its Russian community, first lured to Arizona with the promise of land and the freedom to practice their Spiritual Christian faiths Molokan religion. The Pryguny Molokans ("Milk Drinkers" "Jumpers" in Russian) were a dissident group which broke from the Russian Orthodox Church and were much influenced by the Mennonite Jumpers and Quakers.
The first members of the Russian colony arrived from California by train in 1911 and settled on farms some two miles west of the Glendale townsite. There were Tolmachoffs and Popoffs; Treguboffs, Kulikoffs and Conovaloffs; the men wearing long beards and the women shrouded in ankle-length dresses. They were brought to Glendale by the Greene and Griffin real estate firm, which had arranged for the Russians to pay for their land partly in cash and partly in the sugar beets they grew for processing in Glendale's Beet Sugar Factory.
As a part of the Russian migration in 1911, the Treguboffs played a valued part in the Russian community as well as in Glendale's agricultural community. Courtesy, Treguboff Collection
[* Omitted: Gozdiff, Papin, Prohoroff, Shubin, Teckenoff, Uraine and Veronin families which remain in 1990. The original 200 families include Valov, Pivovaroff, Galitzen, Rudometkin, Kotoff, Mendrin, Slevkoff, Bogdanoff, Susoeff, ...]
One of the largest parties of settlers ever brought into the Salt River valley started from Los Angeles at 2 o'clock this afternoon over the Santa Fe, bound for Glendale. In the party are about 170 adult Russians, together with the members of their families, all eager to reach the land of promise and of health.
Numbered among the men of the party are farmers, carpenters, painters, blacksmiths, and common laborers ... they will find ready employment when not engaged in tilling their own soil.
Aug. 30, 1911
The Russian immigrants did not mix readily at first with Glendale residents, and their unfamiliar language and customs and religion made assimilation difficult. But their ways were eventually accepted, and soon they became an integral part of the community. Approximately 20 families remain in Glendale today.
Alex Popoff and Jim Treguboff were famed athletes at Glendale Union High School, and many others made their marks. Nationally famous athletes include Olympic diver Michael Galitzen, his brother AAU diver Johhny Galitzen, and baseball player Lou Novikoff. Mary Tolmachoff married noted developer John F. Long, who named his planned community of Maryvale (now a part of both Glendale and Phoenix) after his wife and donated land for the Glendale Airport among many contributions.
Chapter 3: From Farmlands to Smokestacks — Page 38
The Beet Sugar Factory is seen here from the south, ca. 1910. Its opening in 1906* was greeted with great excitement through our the area, but the plant experienced only limited success during the decade it operated. ... The smokestack was removed in 1951 after it was hit by lightning. Courtesy, Glendale Arizona Historical Society.
* As railroads were built across the west since the late 1800s, the sugar industry actively recruited immigrating colonist farmers to work sugar beet and cane fields. Agents and owners tried recruiting Russian Spiritual Christians in Hawaii, California and other states prior to the Arizona contracts. The most zealous Russian leaders also signed an option to buy ALL the west valley land needed to grow ALL the beets required, then he lobbied more families from Los Angeles. By 1920, there were 4 adjacent Spiritual Christian villages between Glendale and Tolleson with a population as high as 1000.
More on the history of Glendale by Jeffrey Scott
Spiritual Christians in Arizona
Molokane, Pryguny and Dukh-i-zhizniki Around the World