Anton Rokos

Anton Rokos

Anton Rokos (1861-1916) was the first curator of the Spreckels Organ (1914-1916). He worked for Murray M. Harris Organ Company in Los Angeles. His assignments included selecting trees from the forests of Oregon for pipe wood. The Austin Company contracted the Murray Harris Company to install the organ for them in San Diego.

Harris sent two of their most skilled staff for this mammoth undertaking, Edward Crome and Anton Rokos. They began their work at the exposition grounds in 1914 once the Pavilion to house the organ and its 3,400 pipes was constructed.

The Pavilion structure included a tiny apartment in the space provided for the longest organ pipes. Here Anton lived for most of the time he was installing the organ and during his continued work as its first Curator. The single room was drafty and had no heat or running water. Anton contracted tuberculosis in 1915, complicated by pneumonia during the very damp winter of 1916.

Though critically ill, Anton continued his work to keep the organ functioning to its enormous capacity. On February 9th, a worker in the Pavilion found Anton, collapsed from sickness and exhaustion, at the foot of one of the ranks of pipes. He died later the same day.

Anton Rokos’ Exhibitor’s Employee Pass to Exposition

…details courtesy of Ken Rokos, great grandson of Anton Rokos