The NORTH ITALIAN CLUB is a social and mutual-aid organization on Cleveland's west side, near ST. ROCCO PARISH. For many years, membership was open only to those with a northern Italian background. The club was founded in 1927 as a nonpolitical fraternal and social organization. Within a few years, the articles of incorporation were amended as the North Italian Social Club; its members came from northern Italy—Venezia, Giulia, Tirolo, Veneto, Lombardia, Piemonte, Liguria, Emilia, Umbria, Marche, and Toscana. Only men were admitted.
In 1934 the Women's Auxiliary was formed. Many of the club's early members were among the finest trade artists in Cleveland; many had worked on SEVERANCE HALL and other notable structures. A Venetian-style 2-story building, built by members in their spare time, was completed in 1934 on W. 33rd, making the club one of the few such organizations to have its own house. It has been designated a historical landmark by the Cleveland Landmarks Commission. Although early meetings were conducted in Italian, the club encouraged naturalization among its members. For several decades the club's average membership remained near 200, with a somewhat lesser number for the Women's Auxiliary.
Between 1971-80, however, membership dropped from 200 to 108, partly because 2nd- and 3rd-generation northern Italians moved out of the neighborhood and acquired different interests. In the early 1970s, the North Italian Club opened membership to anyone with an Italian background and made an effort to attract younger members. In the 1990s the club remained active, although membership had declined to a little over 50.
The club continues to sponsor social, cultural, and recreational programs such as bocce leagues, picnics, and group travel excursions. The Club currently meets at St. Adelbert School in Berea, Ohio on the third Wednesday evening of each month. The current (2023) president is Jim Lucchese and under his presidency, the Club has grown to over 200 members.
Last updated: 1/25/2023