History Revealed: Italians on St. Paul’s East Side

History Revealed: Italians on St. Paul’s East Side
John Andreozzi

Italians on Saint Paul’s East Side
John Andreozzi

History Revealed Series
Program Date: Thursday, July 20, 2023
Video on YouTube

In partnership with the East Side Freedom Library & Ramsey County Libraries

Italians have had a significant presence in St. Paul.  Although there were only a few as the City began to grow in the 1850s, within five decades their numbers had grown substantially. Many settled in Railroad Island and Swede Hollow on the East Side. They had been farmers in Italy, but in St. Paul they worked on the railroads that surrounded their neighborhood, as well as the city’s public works department, while some were self-employed as peddlers or operators of confectionery and grocery stores.

St. Paul Italians founded institutions in Railroad Island that offered protection from bigotry and facilitated the assimilation process. The Dante Alighieri society formed in 1883, was the first Italian group in the state. The Christ Child Center, a Catholic settlement house which offered a variety of programs, was located in a building erected by Italians. East Side Italians established Saint Ambrose church in 1915, and they became known for their processions honoring patron saints.

John Andreozzi was born in Lackawanna, NY, and has worked as a teacher, clinical social worker, community organizer, and ethnic historian.  He has been studying Italian American history for more than fifty years, and he holds Master’s Degrees in Sociology and Social Work. In 1985, he moved to the Twin Cities to work at the Immigration History Research Center and Archives., and he became an organizer of Festa Italiana MN.  John has written two books and several scholarly articles on the experiences of Italians in the United States, and he maintains a website at Italian-American-Experience.org.

His presentation is part of our series “Making Minnesota: Natives, Settlers, Migrants, and Immigrants.”

The Ramsey County Historical Society, in partnership with the East Side Freedom Library, the Ramsey County Roseville Library and other community organizations, will present a series of programs and events during 2022 that will center on the experiences of indigenous people, African Americans, and immigrants in Ramsey County from the 1800s through the current day. programs which focus on the too often lost, erased, forgotten or misrepresented histories and stories of Ramsey County and the state of Minnesota. We expect these presentations to enrich and complicate our understanding of the development of the county and the state that we call home.