CARABELLI, JOSEPH (9 April 1850-19 April 1911), a skilled stonemason and influential businessman, son of Carolina (Sartori) and Carlo Carabelli, was one of the first lay leaders in the LITTLE ITALY section of Cleveland. A native of Porto Ceresio, Como Province, he immigrated to America in 1870 at the age of 20, following an apprenticeship as a stonecutter. He spent 10 years in New York City as a sculptor, where he carved the statues for the city's Federal Bldg. Carabelli came to Cleveland in 1880 and established the Lakeview Granite & Monumental Works, near LAKE VIEW CEMETERY, which soon attracted a large group of stonecutters from the province of Campobasso, who settled Mayfield Road near the cemetery.
Carabelli was responsible for the creation of a nursery and kindergarten in 1895 for the children of working mothers in this neighborhood. With his financial assistance, and that of JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER, the nursery grew into ALTA HOUSE. Carabelli also played a major part in the creation of the first Cleveland Italian mutual benefit society, the Italian Fraternal Society, in 1888. This society served as the model for many other Italian benevolent groups, and by the mid-1890s it functioned as the arbiter. Carabelli was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives in 1908 on a Republican ticket. He capped his career by pushing a bill through the legislature proclaiming Columbus Day an official holiday in 1910.
Married in Torino, Italy in 1875, Carabelli and his wife Annetta had three children who survived to adulthood, Joseph, Charles A., and Lillian (Bailey); two children died as infants, Charles M. and Irene. Carabelli died in Cleveland and was buried in Lake View Cemetery.