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Family Membership: $30.00
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Business Membership: $100.00
Lifetime Membership: $500.00
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242-1/2 Langley Street is in back of the Niles
Firebrick office building and was the first home of the Bagnoli-Irpino
Mason Street Bagnoli-Irpino Club building purchased
from the Thomas Steel family.
of the Bagnoli-Irpino Club
By the 1930s there existed three fraternal organizations
within this immigrant community. In addition to a chapter of the
Sons of Italy established in the 1920s, members of this group
participated in two locally formed organizations. During the end
of the first decade of Italian immigration to Niles, residents
of the small but growing ethnic community surrounding the NFB
organized themselves into a small, self-held association, the
San Filippo Neri Club. Open to any male of Italian descent, the
club served as a gathering spot where members could socialize
and participate in a variety of games such as Morra, Tresette,
and Bocce. In conjunction with their local parish the group formally
celebrated the feast day of their patron saint, Filippo Neri,
with attendance at mass and an all-day party featuring free food
and drink for family and friends. Their dues also provided a death
benefit for members and their families. The “insurance”
covered the costs of a modest funeral for any paid member and
his immediate family.37
The establishment of the Bagnoli Club in 1923
represented an equally significant movement within this community.
Loosely affiliated until 1932, the group formerly organized and
purchased from the Thomases a building on Mason Street in Niles.
The structure served as their headquarters and a community gathering
place. Nick Alfiero, Rocco Gargano and Lawrence
Toriello, all tracing their descent from Bagnoli-Irpino and
the Niles Firebrick Company, established the Bagnoli-Fraternal
Order organization in the midst of the Great Depression as a buffer
against the economic problems that plagued the community at large.38
In addition to the more social functions of the
group, the Bagnoli Club provided informal educational services.
More established members of the club taught classes where newer
immigrants could learn English and prepare for citizenship exams.
Advanced offerings featured courses that improved literacy.39
While not unique within the Italian-American experience, this
relatively small group of immigrants displayed an unusual tendency
toward “joining.” Immigrants not only associated across
parochial Italian barriers, they did so very early in their American
lives. They also organized to make progress toward goals that
encouraged their assimilation into the American mainstream more
rapidly than their counterparts in larger metropolitan areas.
To Work and Live: Brickyard Laborers, Immigration
and Assimilation in an Ohio Town, 1890-1925
1932 Bagnoli-Irpino Club PO2.122
1936 Bagnoli-Irpino Club
1960 San Filippe Bocce League Runner-ups
Eileen Roberts Remembers the
As a kid growing up in Niles, my friends and
I would frequent places on Robbins Avenue such as James Dairy,
Morabito's Market and Woodcock's Drug Store. To our delight,
cherry phosphates, plump fruit and a large supply of comic books
were enjoyed at these places.
Another place of interest was The Bagnoli Club on Mason Street.
The club was perfect for entertainment such as weddings and
banquets. It had a full basement containing a kitchen and wooden
saloon-type bar. The upstairs floor had a platform stage where
hired musicians could play a myriad of numbers for dancing to
ballads, polkas, tarantellas and jitterbugs.
On many Sunday afternoons, my grandfather would don his Italian
straw boater hat, navy blue suit and take me to the club to
watch bocce ball games. He would buy me a Grape Nehi soda and
I sat on the edge of the bocce court where I could watch the
game. Every time a team scored a point, a loud shout of joy
was heard throughout the neighborhood.
My grandfather, Dominic Clemente,
was born in Bagnoli Irpino, Italy. He worked there as a laborer
and in 1905 traveled to Niles with his brother, Aniello
Clemente, sister, Lucia Clemente and her husband,
Joseph Pallante. News of available work at the Niles
Fire Brick Company had reached their village and was a strong
incentive for many men to move. Grandpa Clemente obtained a
job as a night watchman at the Fire Brick Company where he worked
until retiring. Many men who traveled from Bagnoli Irpino held
Wedding receptions were always festive at the Bagnoli Club.
Days before the event, men and women of the club volunteered
to make this event possible. Upstairs, the men set up long tables
and folding chairs for the afternoon meal. They polished the
bar and stocked it with selected alcoholic and soft drinks the
bridal couple had chosen. Downstairs, the ladies began food
preparation for the big event. They rolled meatballs and simmered
wedding soup and tomato sauce. Everyone labored very hard before
and during the celebration to ensure a smooth social event.
They also made sure the bridal table was beautifully decorated
for the wedding cake and bridal favors. The small favors were
usually made up of Jordan almonds secured in netting with a
ribbon tie. Another popular souvenir was a match book engraved
with the couple's names and marriage date on it.
Only at the very end of the evening after the merriment had
ended the bridal couple and guests had left the club did those
unselfish, hard-working Bagnoli Club men and women sit down
and have a piece of cake. The following day, they were back
again at the club to clean up and put things in order.
Oscar Wilde said, "Memory is the diary that we
all carry about with us."
Dedication of the Flag
September 22, 1918
Patrick DeFabio front center with hat
and watch chain, 2-1/2 years old.
Josephine(Infante) DeLucia front with white dress and
1936 Trumbull County Bocce Champs
Front: Gatta, Macchia, Villio, Brutz,
Back: Villeco, Infante, Massaro,
Joe Ross holding sign on left.