The year was 1935, the month was June and the United States was in the midst of the Great Depression. Sixteen naturalized Americans, who years earlier, had left the sunny climate of Calabria, the warmth of the family hearth and the genial companionship of friends and relatives, met and decided they would form a mutual aid society. They wanted to embody the best of Italian culture and customs with traditions of the United States as well as helping fellow Italian immigrants.

It was not a very promising or auspicious beginning. These die-hards held their meetings "here, there and anywhere". One of the founding members offered his fruit and vegetable store on the corner of Union Avenue and Second Street as a permanent meeting place. In 1948 it was decided to hold a bazaar in order to raise funds to buy a club. The bazaar was held on West Main Street at the junction of Main and Huguenot (Exxon gas station a site now). This was the first time in the history of New Rochelle that an Italian-American organization of any kind ventured out of West New Rochelle. The bazaar was planned originally for one week. Because of inclement weather, (rain) it was extended a second week.

The bazaar was such a financial success, the Society purchased its own building at 81 Union Avenue. However, there remained a $13,000 mortgage; a large sum in those days. Members came forth buying shares more on faith than based on business acumen. Amazingly, in a short time, the faithful were repaid.

Before the hall was remodeled, a flag was put on the roof of the Society's building. The flag proclaiming the Calabria Society's patriotism. To this day, the American flag flies atop Casa Calabria day and night. The flag, well lit at night, can be seen flying. An enduring symbol and beacon of true Americanism.

The Calabria Society has been very active in civic affairs in New Rochelle, Westchester County and even in Italy. Her sons and daughters have served in local, county and state governments throughout it's history. It's sons and daughters have served in the Armed Services with honor and distinction. Many of our members our successful business leaders as well as involved community leaders.

Today the Calabria Society is firmly placed in the hearts of many who know where they can go when they want to be entertained by good food and friendship but more importantly where they can go and get the support they need for any kind of help.

 

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