The JOHNS-CARABELLI COMPANY, originally known as Carabelli & Broggini, was founded in 1879 by GUISEPPE CARABELLI and James Broggini. The company's main enterprise was designing and creating commemorative stone monuments, many of which were placed in LAKE VIEW CEMETERY. In the beginning, original designs were drawn at the company, and sculptors chiseled and carved the monuments on-site. Monuments as heavy as 2-tons would be hitched to a team of horses and transported painstakingly to the cemetery.As older sculptors died, it was difficult to find replacements, so the company began shipping its designs to quarries and artisans in Vermont.
Carabelli, a native of Lombardy, Italy, studied sculpture and moved to the United States when he was 20 years old. He worked as a stonecutter in New York for ten years before moving to Cleveland to start his company with Broggini. In 1883, the men changed the name of their successful business to the Lakeview Granite & Monumental Works. Three years later, their partnership dissolved, and the company became known as the Joseph Carrabelli Company.
Located near Lake View Cemetery at 12317 Euclid Avenue, the company had considerable influence on the development of Cleveland, especially the LITTLE ITALY community. Widely recognized as the first resident and 'King of Little Italy,' Carabelli employed and helped "Americanize" a majority of ITALIANS in the area.
Notable local projects of the company include the SOLDIERS' & SAILORS' MONUMENT on PUBLIC SQUARE and the Citizens Building in Downtown Cleveland. Many recognizable monuments in Lake View Cemetery were designed by Carabelli's company as well, including the WADE MEMORIAL CHAPEL and the JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER obelisk, considered one of the largest one-piece granite shafts in the nation.
Not every commission of the Joseph Carabelli Company was local. In 1897, Carabelli contracted with the Venezuelan government and New York architect Giovanni Turini to build a pedestal for a monument in Caracas. Unfortunately, when the Venezuelan government was unable to pay, Carabelli sued, eventually winning $3,200 for reparation of unpaid fees.
John I. Johns (Iacobucci) joined the Carabelli Company in 1931, but branched off on his own in 1937 to establish the Mayfair Memorials Company. Johns remained close to the Carabelli family, however, and their businesses merged in 1971 after the death of Joseph Carabelli III. Thereafter, the company was called the Johns-Carabelli Company, and has been managed by the Johns family.
Today, the company is located at 4202 Mayfield Road on the east side, and 14100 Brookpark Road on the west side. In 2010, leadership was passed to Michael N. Johns, Monica Johns, and Michelle Shaw (n¿e Johns), who represent the fourth generation of monument tradesmen in the Johns family.
Jennifer Graham, Western Reserve Historical Society
WRHS Carabelli Company Records MS 5315
Johns-Carabelli Company website
Cleveland Plain Dealer (historical)