A brief history…
The name given to this society is: “Club Lavoratori Italiani Sicilia”, and was incorporated in the year 1915, under the laws of 1891 of the State of Wisconsin.In January 1912, twelve men got together with Paratore to form the local society. They began holding their meetings in a wooden building at the rear of a store operated by Angelo Maisano, 821 Regent Street. Maisano kept the membership money at his home. He served as an unofficial “depository” for many years before the money was placed in a checking account at a local bank. There were 43 Charter Members from the first year.
The present clubhouse at 914 Regent Street was built in 1922. Mr. Icke, as ever the benefactor, loaned scoop shovels, tools and other equipment to the club members who worked weekends on construction of the building. With the exception of the steel framework erection, the entire clubhouse was built by volunteer labor of the membership.
Until 1948 the meetings of the society were conducted in Italian; thereafter, the English language was officially used since many of the younger members chose English in preference to their native tongue.
A women’s auxiliary was organized February 22, 1934.
In the earlier years on Columbus Day it was a happy custom of the membership to stage a parade, with the club band leading, from Park & Regent Streets to the Capitol park and back. The band was made up of men who, typical of Italian people, loved music. Heading the band was Tony Piazza who had played in a circus band. Tony Piazza, Sam Piazza and Joe Stassi were the only men who could read music; the rest of the band played by ear. The music emanating from the players never betrayed the lack of formal training.
It has been traditional that the Italian-Americans and their families join for a picnic on July 4th every year at Olin Park.
During World War II the club was one of the foremost purchasers of U.S. War Bonds, demonstrating the member;s loyalty to America, and the progress they had made in attaining a place in society as “solid Citizens.” Over 40 of the club’s members served in the Armed Forces during World War II.
Many members of Madison’s Italian community are now successful businessmen and civic leaders in the city. Their fine homes are found in all sections of the city.
The Italian Workmen’s Club of Madison is believed to be one of (if not the) oldest active Italian Club in the United States.
The Italian Workmen’s Club (IWC) is dedicated to the preservation of the history, culture, language and memories of the Italian people who immigrated to Madison from Sicily and other regions of Italy. The IWC is committed to continual efforts to increase awareness in the Madison community of the many accomplishments, honors, contributions and achievements of the Italian Americans.