Friday, January 4, 2013

A Visit to the Home of the First Italian Settler in Geneva, IL

"Mrs. Edwena Rabella" serves some Italian sweets for guests who visited an Open House at 810 Dow Street, Geneva, IL.  Mrs. Rabella and her husband, Joseph, were considered to be the first Italians to have settled in Geneva.  810 Dow Avenue was more than likely their original and only home in Geneva which they purchased on August 18, 1901.  In 1919 Adwena was widowed and in 1923 remarried Tony LaVendi.  He sold the home in 1927.

Although Geneva is known for its Swedish settlers, many do not realize that Italians numbered almost as many as the Swedes in the early 1900s.  The Italian gardens were well known in Geneva where vegetables and fruit were grown and grape arbors were a common site in the early 1900s.  Many of the Italians that settled in Geneva grew grapes as wine was essential to their social gatherings.  Ancestors of the Rabellas' shared that there were many grape arbors at their home and one can imagine that the two lots just south of the home which the Rabella's had once owned held a beautiful garden and splendid grape arbors.  

The Italians made their own wine oftentimes in their basements consisting upwards of 80-90 gallons.  If they didn't have their own garden they purchased grapes by the carload in order to make their own wine.  The juice from the grapes would ferment in barrels in the basement and "...for weeks afterwards the whole house would smell sweetly of the wine fermenting in the basement."  {quote and information from Geneva, Illinois:  A History of its Times and Places.}

This Looks Like Home!

For more information about this home contact:

Marian Boveri, Real Estate Consultant
Historic Homes Specialty
Keller Williams Fox Valley Realty, 847-308-2424

Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

(An old Irish blessing.)

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