The Suburbanite
  • The Monday After: A Heritage Remembered

  • “Italians’ unique contributions, sacrifices, and hard work deserve to be honored, remembered, and memorialized.”

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  • “Italians’ unique contributions, sacrifices, and hard work deserve to be honored, remembered, and memorialized.”
    The sentence, written by J.A. Musacchia for the introduction of her historical photo collection “Italians of Stark County,’ offers an overriding reason for the author to have gathered more than 200 images of the vibrant ethnic community of the past.
    The photographs in the book, part of Arcadia Publishing’s Images of America series, “give readers an understanding of the lives of the Italian immigrants,” writes Musacchia, “and an appreciation of their values through their foundations, their faith, the families, and their friends.”
    Decades-old images are windows to the years of Italian immigration that began late in the 1800s, notes the publisher.
    “At the time, Stark County’s urban hub of Canton and the surrounding communities were in the middle of a thriving expansion driven by industry, transportation, and manufacturing,” says publicity material for the book.
    “Along with this growth came the need for labor, with immigration filling many of those needs. Italians came to Stark County to work in the steel mills, in the coal mines, and on the railroad, as well as to start their own small businesses.”
    Included on the pages of “Italians of Stark County” are images of Leonardo Campolieto in his cobbler shop in Canton, John and Laura Ferrero at Venice Spaghetti House in Massillon and Marion and Annunziata Belloni at Belloni IGA grocery store in Brewster.
    Food-related businesses were popular enterprises for the Italian community. Other individuals found other avenues of income, such as the funeral homes operated by the Rossi brothers when they came to the United States.” Dominick Rossi immigrated first and started a funeral home in Utica, N.Y.,” notes Musacchia in her book. Carmen Rossi started one in Akron, while Louis, Fred, and Adam Sr. initially started one in Youngstown. In 1923, Adam Sr. opened his first funeral home in Canton.”
    It was not all work and no play for those in the Italian community, however. Strong family ties mean abundant social functions, notes Musacchia in the “Family and Friends” section of her book. A multitude of “life events” and church functions, as wells as the dinners that accompanied them, provided a built-in social network, the author wrote.
    “Tradition is a very important aspect of family life, creating the bonds that hold the Italian family together,” she explained in the book, which includes photographs of church, family and community events.
    Musacchia seems at home in the Italian culture, and indeed grew up in it. Born and raised in the Italian community of Stark County, the author was able to include a number of photographs from her personal collection.
    Page 2 of 2 - The images chronicle an ethnic community in Stark County that grew in strength and character.
    “Once established, Italian families began to replicate the community foundations from their native land, and in turn these foundations reinforced embedded values: family, food, religion, music, and freedom,” summarizes the publisher.
    “This photographic history illustrates these values while bringing to life the character, work ethic, determination, and love of life of the Italian people of Stark County.”
    Reach Gary at 330-580-8303 or gary.brown@cantonrep.com.
    On Twitter: @gbrownREP

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