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Home > My Ancestors > Italians > Timeline: 1850-1949
  • 1854: Nicholas A. Apollonio, son of an Italian immigrant, is elected City Registrar of Boston, a position he occupies with distinction for the next thirty-seven years.
  • 1861: Most of Italy is unified under the crown of Savoy. Gustovo Finotti of Brookline is appointed the first Consul of the Kingdom of Italy in Boston.
  • 1873: St. Leonard's Church, on Prince Street in the North End was founded by Italian immigrants. It is the oldest Italian church in Boston and second oldest in the United States.
  • 1873: Italian-Portuguese Catholic Church, St. John the Baptist, is dedicated.
  • 1882: Italian Charitable and Relief Society is established at 193 Hanover Street with A. Garbati serving as President.
  • 1887: Father Nicholas Russo is elected the Seventh President of Boston College.
  • 1891: The Immigrants' Home is established at 73 Marginal Street with Mrs. A. C. Clark, missionary, in charge.
  • 1901: John Cifrino of Dorchester founds the nation's first supermarket in Upham's Corner.
  • 1906: Frank Leveroni of Boston becomes Massachusetts first Italian-American judge (a Special Justice of the Boston Juvenile Court).
  • 1910: Banca Italo-Americano sets up business in the Paul Revere House in Boston's North End.
  • 1906: Banca Ettore Forte is established in Boston by Ettore Forte at 3 North Square.
  • 1914: The Boston Spaghetti Manufacturing Co. is established by Michael La Marca, Joseph Scaminara, and Michael Cantella in Boston's North End. La Marca was born in Villarosa, Enna, Italy in 1871, son of Calogero and Giacoma La Marca. He was educated in his native town and served in the Italian army before immigrating to the US in 1898. He, along with his brother Joseph, established a baking company in 1900 before establishing the Boston Spaghetti Manufacturing Co. in 1914.
  • 1916: John Ciardi, the great poet, translator of Dante and Saturday Review Editor, is born in Boston. The Boston City Directory names four Italian Banks in Boston: Banca Centrale Italiana at 130B Salems St.; Banca Commerciale at 424 Hanover Street; Banca Popolare Italiana at 168 Endicott Street; Banca Stabile & Co. at 115 Devonshire Street
  • 1919: January 15, Great Molasses Flood in Boston's North End creates devastation and results in over one dozen deaths. Martin Clougherty, whose mother and brother Stephen died in the accident, told his story to the Boston Globe. "I was in bed on the third floor of my house when I heard a deep rumble. I was asleep and the rumble did not wake me thoroughly. The first impression I had that something unusual had happened was when I awoke in several feet of molasses. It didn't dawn on me that it was molasses I was in. I thought I was overboard. A pile of wreckage was holding me down, and a little way from me I saw my sister. I struggled out from under the wreckage and pulled my sister toward me and helped her onto a 'raft'. I then began to look for my mother."
  • 1919: Home for Italian Children is established at 1125 Centre Street, Jamaica Plain. The home is founded as an orphanage in response to the devastating swine flu epidemic of 1918 that struck Boston and the nation. In the beginning it was primarily occupied by female orphans, in an old farmhouse located on the same site it occupies today. Now the home aids abused children of all ethnic groups and is in active operation having celebrated its 75th anniversary in 1994.
  • 1920: April 15, Robbery and murder of a shoe manufacturing company paymaster leads to the arrest, in May 1920, of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti. Worldwide hysteria resulted in what appeared to be prosecution based on prejudice towards Italian immigrants.
  • 1921: The first Italian Newspaper (printed in English) in Boston, The Italian News, is established. The newspaper is printed weekly, on Friday. The Feast of San Rocco is established in the North End by Italian immigrants from the village of San Michele Baronia, Avellino Province.
  • 1925: The Boston City Directory lists only one surviving Italian Bank in Boston, Banca Stabile & Co. at 329 Hanover Street in the North End. By 1926 none are listed.
  • 1927: August 23, Sacco and Vanzetti are executed. Langone Funeral Home on Hanover Street in the North End handled the massive funeral that attracted thousands of onlookers.
  • 1931-35: Andrew Casassa serves as first Italian State Senator.
  • 1934: Vincent Brogna of Boston (born in Montefalcione, Italy in 1887) is named as Massachusetts' first Italian American Superior Court Justice.
  • 1936: Felix Forte is nominated for Massachusetts Attorney-General on the Republican ticket. The Boston University law professor and future State Superior Court Judge is the first Italian-American nominated for statewide office.
  • 1939: Attorney Michael A. Fredo is appointed trustee of Massachusetts General Hospital.
  • 1940: Italian Chamber of Commerce of Boston and Vicinity is established at 199 Washington Street.
  • 1942: Boston's tragic Coconut Grove fire takes over 100 lives, including over forty Italian-American's from Boston's North End and vicinity.
  • 1944: Captain Louis Polcari, Boston's first Italian-American to graduate from West Point (in 1942) is killed in action during World War II.
  • 1946: John Diferrari, Italian-American businessman, donates two million dollars to the Boston Public Library. The Diferrari wing is named in his honor.
  • 1948: Foster Furcolo, of East Longmeadow, is elected Massachusetts' first Italian-American Congressman.

See 1750-1849 | See 1950-present



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