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Adding to the interest in the Partners Nursing Home, might I modestly add an overlooked point: The location of the home is a historic North End site.

At the corner of Fulton and Richmond was a rickety building, perhaps dating to the 1700s, that was home of The Italian News in the early and mid-1950s.  This weekly newspaper was published by City Councillor Gabriel Piemonte. The staff (two of us) and print shop (one linotype operator) occupied a second floor. On the first floor and basement was a blacksmith shop. The pounding of our typewriters and the pounding or art iron and horseshoes made a neat duo.

The Italian News championed the interests of the Italian-American community in general and North End in particular. We fought the good fight to eliminate the shockingly discriminatory and racist McCarran Immigration Act.  We fought stereotyping of Italian-Americans in films and TV. (It was a struggle that goes on: the Sopranos.) A weekly feature, under the title Genus Ausonia, ran interviews of famous artists, academics, scientists, politicians, business people — from Aldo Felicani , secretary of the Sacco-Vanzetti Defense Committee, to Bernard DeVoto, Harvard professor, author and scholar, to Tony Bennett, one of many Italian-Americans who performed at Blinstrub’s in Southie, the premier Boston night club of the 1950s. The list can go on and on. Unfortunately, we did not collect these into a book (I must have written well over 100)  but we did publish a small book, “This is the North End.”. Much more to tell about The Italian News, but I’ll save it for another time.

The historic building and its neighboring structures were demolished to make room for the nursing home. An excellent use.

In the video below, Bob Skole talks about his days as a reporter at the Italian News.

 

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6 COMMENTS

  1. The blacksmith shop was owned by the Scappicio family who lived near the corner of Salem and Parmenter Sts. I went in there a couple of times with Johnny Scappicio and watched his father and uncle work on the forge and anvil. Fascinating.
    When Minnie DeLuca built his house in Medford he had Mr. Scappicio make all the hardware for his cabinets. He was a real craftsman.

  2. Robert Skole wrote: The LOCATION of the home is an historic site in the NE. LOCATION. Does that not mean the property?
    Why is there an issue with the nursing home if the property is an historic site. Let’s renovate then, and let the people stay where they are.

  3. How well I remember Mr. Scappicio (Sebastiano), my wife (Elenor) resided in the same Salem Street building as he did. His son Emelio and his wife Lucy, who also resided in that same building, are dear friends. We were thrilled when our dear aunts were able to be placed in that nursing home. Both have since passed, but it would be a real tragedy to uproot those North Enders from their neighborhood in their remaining years. I hope that the current North End residents will do all in their power to prevent this from happening.

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