In the early 1900’s, a large number of Italians migrated to California and settled in San Francisco’s Italian Quarter (now known as North Beach). After the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, a large group of Italians relocated across the bay to Oakland.
The history of the Colombo Club began at this time at a rock quarry in Oakland (presently Rockridge Center). Many Italian immigrants worked at the quarry and lived across the street in the company boarding house. The quarry was later known as the Oakland Paving and Quarry Company.
Most of the quarry workers were single men who had freshly arrived from the “old country” and were extremely homesick. After work and especially on Saturday nights, across the street from the quarry, a Mr. Lovisone and his family would let the boys use their basement to play cards and exchange stories. These early beginnings, “the quarry fellowship get-togethers” were an effort by the men to create friendships and establish a social network with their “paesani” (friends and family) much like they had in Italy. As these men married, they would gather their families together for dinner and dancing and reminisce about their native Italy. This was the beginning of the Colombo Club.
In 1920, a group of men formed the Colombo Club and purchased property in Oakland at 49th and Broadway. The Club was incorporated in 1922. By 1949, the Club had outgrown the building and looked for a new home. The sale of the building, plus bank loans and member loans, provided the necessary funds to purchase the land and begin construction on our present building on Claremont Ave. which was completed in December 1951.
Today, the Colombo Club is recognized as one the largest active Italian social clubs in the United States. Firmly committed to the ideals of our founding fathers, we strive to provide our “famiglia” and their guests with social activities that honor our heritage and preserve our traditions.
The gatherings of the original group of men who longed for companionship and a connection to their homeland, has grown to a fraternity of 900 members, dedicated to preserving the Italian culture while expressing gratitude to be considered citizens of the greatest country in the world; the United States of America.
In preparation for the 100th Anniversary of the Colombo Club in 2020, a book is being written titled Cent’ Anno. For information, contact Rich Puppione, Colombo Club President at (510) 653-9716 x356.
The Columbo Club Charter Members
C. Merlone, P. Puppione, A. Faldi, C. Maffei, L. Botto, M. Lovisone, D. Graziano, S. Orio, L. Galletti, J. Orio, L. Razzano, J. Parena, F. Graziano, B. Goria, A. Morra, O. Gaia, C. Gentile, M. Gratian, E. Sburlati, T. Basso, G. Ollino, D. Damonte, A. Manacorda, E. Borelo, C. Pastrone, B. Rainero, V. Cafasso, P. Meda, G. Beccio, F. Poletto, L. Ferraris, F. Cafasso, J. Negro, M. Maggiora