Kefalonia's' history is quite fascinating and dates back many centuries. However
this section is dedicated to the kefalonia of recent historical times,
here we will look at Kefalonia in the past couple of centuries. The island
was home to some beautiful classical mansions and sadly with most of It's
churches and buildings destroyed in 1953 when the Ionian Earthquake
struck, little remains of the wonderful architectural .
This building is located on the left in a slightly elevated situation
overlooking the Argostoli lagoon, on the coastal road to the finari area.
The building was owned by the family of John Sanders (last consulate of
Great Britain). In 1930 the building became the Sotir Orphanage and was
home to some 100 children who had no parents. The board of governors successfully
managed to secure the donation of the building from the British government
to enable the orphaned children to be housed When the 1953 earthquake
struck donations from the people of Britain and Malta assumed the full
expenditure for the building, this saved the Greek government the
burdensome outlay. Today the orphanage is still up and running.
Before 1953 the original building stood near the waterfront of the town,. Located
towards the end of Argostoli towards the Finari area. It was a grand and
spacious. The hospital was extended by adding new wings this was funded by
a grant which was left in the will of the great benefactor of Kefalonia
Panagis Vallianos, following his death in 1902 in London. The hospital
went on to develop with new laboratories and advanced medical tools, it
offered electrotherapy and spa treatments. The hospital was finally
completed in 1912 with the new wings. A large statue of Panagis Vallianos
can be seen in Argostoli main square.
Vallianeios Agricultural School
This splendid building was located on De Bosset Street in Argostoli.
Inspired by Panagis Vallianos this was the place for both the young men
and women of Kefalonia to learn about the different methods of farming.
The school specialized in model plantations and select animal breeding. At
the end of the school year the students obtained certificates in various
studies such as Beekeeping, Tree Pruning and Olive Tree cultivation to
name a few. The school supported a soil analysis laboratory and supplied
farmers with agricultural chemicals and knowledge.
The Stavros Metaxas Family Mansion
The ground floor of this grand classical building was the base for the
National Bank of Greece, until it was bombed in 1943 during the
Italian-German fighting. Later it was demolished by the earthquake of
The Halda Mansion
This beautiful two story mansion house was the home of Dr Aristos and his
family. Built in 1900 with funds from the families business based in
India. This home had fifteen rooms lavishly decorated by the Italian
Percoleze painters. The fresco ceilings displayed wonderful artistic
landscapes and beautiful pictures adorned the staircases. The hallways
were very long, certainly big enough for children to ride their bycles.
During WW2 (1941-1943) the house was used as the garrison headquarters for
the Italians, the Germans and finally the Partisans. While the house was
under occupation the family re-located to a country house away from
Argostoli. Businesses also used the ground floor of the mansion, these
included the National Bank of Greece, the Central Bank of Greece and other
small franchises who used the remaining space. In 1953 the earthquake left
this splendid building in ruins, although not completely destroyed,
however following the two banks request the mansion had to be knocked down
by army engineers so the banks to salvage the vaults. The building may
still be standing today if these requests were not made.
The Grendilinis Mansion
Grendilinis Mansion which is now know as the Focas-Cosmetatos was designed
by the architect Ziller and built in the beginning of the 19th century. It
is probably the only pre earthquake house that is fully intact which
stands in Argostoli. Only the ground floor remains with the families coat
of arms displayed over the entrance door. The house can be found in the
palm lined street just around the corner from the Ionian Plaza Hotel on
the main square.
Drapano Obelisk Kolona*
Built and once adjourning the Drapano bridge the obelisk sits rising up
from the sea. This monument is made from carved rocks and was erected back
in 1813 at the same time as the building of the Drapano bridge. There is a
plaque built into the walls of the monument and read in four languages,
Greek, English, Italian and Latin. The obelisk is a token of gratitude
from the Kefalonia government to Great Britain. It reads; To the glory of
the British Nation by the Cephaloniots.The small walkway which connected
the obelisk to the bridge has now gone.
This leather processing factory stood proudly at the end of the Drapano
Bridge. (probably where the water park stands now) It was founded by the
Stivas family in Argostoli in 1880. The factory produced soles and
vaketes* In the 1940s shoes were all handmade.