of Route 16 (Milford Street) in Mendon, on the Hopedale line.
picture above looks like the Bright Oak Club. However, it doesn't seem that that could be true, according to the articles written at the time. The
Bright Oak Club was opened in 1934. The picture of the Italian Club is dated 1936 and the article says it was north of Mendon Street. Elmwood is
north of Mendon Street, but the Bright Oak is south of Milford Street in Mendon. I'll keep asking around to see if I can find out more about the two
places.(See Debbie Mantoni's comment on this, below.)
showers, dinner dances , bocci matches etc.
The Hopedale Italian Club was on Elmwood Ave in Hopedale. I lived at 12 Elmwood Ave and it was next door. It was quite a hopping place when
I was a child. My Dad, "Minnie" Mantoni, his cousin Louie Mantoni, Al Ambrogi and many others from Hill Street were instrumental in keeping it
running. The weekends were pretty lively with porkettas and great Italian dinners hosted there with chef and bartender Mary Zappella at the
back and married and returned. They bought an old farmhouse on the Mendon side of the Hopedale/Mendon town line on Route 16. I was born
there in 1917. There was a big kitchen where neighbors sometimes gathered. There was a stove in the kitchen that said “Bright Oak” on it. Later
when the clubhouse was built just past my parents’ property, and the members needed to come up with a name, they named it for the stove they
used to gather around to talk in the evening.
Linda. Arthur was a grade lower than me, but we hung around a lot together. He was very old-acting and had facial hair before any of us. He was
getting served alcohol long before he came of age. Because he worked with his father in the stone-masonry business in the summers, he knew
where to go to get beer.
He brought Peter Martini and I to the Bright Oaks Club and I remember being amazed at not getting carded. We also visited the Polish-American
club in Uxbridge.
There was another after-hours place with homemade Italian food down the hill from Art's house on a dead-end street to the left of Route 16. I think
Mrs. Zappella ran the place and the food was excellent.
What great memories of law breaking.
Buildings and Businesses Menu Now and Then Menu HOME
Club in 1950. Thanks to Susan Pagnini for sending the photo.
Club is now the Mendon Community Church.
Thanks to John Trainor for the photo of the church.
assuming that the building across the street, where Lord &
Son Auto Body is, was formerly the Italian Club. Well, never
assume anything...you know how that line goes. Fortunately
Wayne Lord was working in his garage when I stopped by to
take a picture. I told him what I was looking for. He pointed
across the street and said that's where the club had been. It
was in pretty bad shape when he bought his place in 1984 he
said, and now it's entirely gone.