Arts & Culture Featured

Celebrating 10 Years at North End Historical Society with Author Stephen Puleo

From Alex Goldfeld, President of the North End Historical Society

After speaking to Jim Pasto’s class on the history of the North End at Boston University in October 2009, Jim and I sat down and discussed the amazing absence of a historical society for Boston’s most storied neighborhood. We wanted to promote scholarship on the North End, especially the Italian and Sicilian community. We also wanted to engage residents, visitors, old-timers, and newcomers with interesting programming about this little corner of the city.

The NEHS would not exist without the hard work and dedication of Jim Pasto, Phyllis Vitti, and Mike Chisholm. I want to publicly thank them all again. I also want to thank former board members Sheila Di Prizio and Joyce Pedi, who helped us grow and thrive for so long. The NEHS also would not have flourished without the support and talent of people like Stephen Puleo, to whom I am also grateful.

On December 17, 2009, at the Cross Street location of Caffe Graffiti, we gathered with others who wanted to start a society, including original board member, Phyllis Vitti. The NEHS was born that night. In two months, we became an incorporated charity in Massachusetts, with Mike Chisholm of East Boston joining the board. And ten years later, Stephen Puleo gave a wonderful talk at the North Bennet Street School in honor of our first decade.

Other people and groups who have generously and continually supported us over the years include Matt Conti and, Pam Donnaruma and the Post-Gazette, Jennifer Hawes and Janet Buda and the North End Branch of the Boston Public Library, State Representative Aaron Michlewitz and Maria Michlewitz, Al Natale, Stephen Passacantilli, Anthony Riccio, and Michael Cicalese and James Sorrentino of the Mariners House.

I want to thank Tom Damigella who was a long-time booster even before joining our board of directors. He is currently working on finding us a new home. Without a permanent meeting space of our own, several organizations have welcomed us in over the years, including the Nazzaro Center, Sacred Heart Church, St. Stephen’s Church, the Old North Church, the Paul Revere House, and the many cafes of the neighborhood. I am also sending my thanks out to Jay Priestley and the Beacon Hill Athletic Club in historic Commercial Wharf, where I often meet tour groups, funders, interns, reporters, and authors between clients at my day job.

Finally, we are all lucky to have a core group of members that have been there since day one. Out of our entire membership, these are the folks who have lent their moral support, volunteered their time, and, yes, paid the bills for ten years: Vito Aluia, Bootsie Barbour, Victor Brogna, Janet Buda, Dom Capossela, Sandra Caso, Matt Conti, Mario Di Leo, Carol Fabiano, Hue Holley, Arthur and Masie Lauretano, Cindy and Steve Lefkowitz, Victor Passacantilli, Bill and Judy Reghitto, Mary Smoyer, and Michele Topor. Thank you so much!

Photos by Matt Conti.

Click here to find out more about becoming a member of the North End Historical Society at their website.