* The first 20 Year history was written by Gino J . Simi - Italian American News Service

Lido Civic Club Founded in 1929

The Lido Civic Club was organized in the Fall of 1929, when it became evident to concerned business and professional men and government officials of Italian descent that they had to organize a civic club to gain proper recognition and effectively make their voices heard in civic and municipal circles. They also wanted to make positive contributions and build good relationships in their community. The three men who pioneered the Lido Civic Club idea were Massimo Ferrari, Fedele (Fred) Colaprico, and Ralph Cipriano. They were quickly joined by others who felt the pressing need for such a civic organization. These were Captain Gregory Cipriani, Ugo J . A. Carusi, Donato Bianchi, Comm. Ferdinande Cumiberti, Michael A. Carlino, Victor Bastiani, Anthony D. Zeni, Dr. Raphael N. Manganaro, John J . Sirica, Antonio Andreano, Alfred Cerceo, William A. Maio, Vincent Lapariello, Vincent Sesso, Dr. Camillo A. Leonardo, Vincent Meola, Angeio DeRosa, Ciro Galetti, Dr. Charles Feola, Pasquale Altimont, John Galotta, Dr. Vincent Cercell, Alfred D’Ambrosio, Anton T . Contella, Dr. George E. Leone, Giovanni Montella, Francesco Sampogna and Antonio Di Gregorio.

On November 19, 1929, this group met at Nobile Restaurant on E. St., N.W. to draft a constitution and by-laws. After several meetings, the proponents met at the International Exchange Bank on December 10, 1929, adopted the constitution and elected Captain Cipriani as the first president.

Club Name and Symbol

The name of the Club was suggested by Dr. Manganaro as an Italian name with international significance. The Lido of Venice has been attracting business and professional people from all over the world for centuries. In keeping with the Venetian theme, the Lion of St. Mark the Evangelist was adopted as the Club’s symbol along with the Latin inscription: “Pax Tibi Marce Evangelista Meus” (“Peace to you, O Mark, My Evangelist”). The word “Evangelist” means “Bearer of Good News” which is in keeping with the Lido Club’s purpose of bringing good news and a helping hand to Italian immigrants residing in the Washington community, to civic and national U.S. leaders and to diplomatic representatives of the Italian people

The First Years & Mayflower Meeting Place

The first administration was made up of Captain Cipriani as President, Ugo Carusi as First V.P. , Anthony D. Zeni, Second V.P., Donato Bianchi, Secretary, Dr. Raphael Manganaro, Treasurer, Antonio Andreano, Sergeant-at-Arms, and Alfred Cerceo, Reporter.

During the first months of 1930, the Club met at various locations, but in June arrangements were completed for regular monthly meetings at the Mayflower Hotel. In 1933, the Club extended a welcome to the new Italian Ambassador, Augusto Rosso and wired congratulations to President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt. Nick Carusi’s model for our Club seal was accepted. A permanent Welfare Committee (now our Charity Committee) and permanent Naturalization and Historical Committees were established

Past President's Night/Congressional Night

The Club held its first Past Presidents Night in September, 1934. It has now become an annual event. The gala was attended by many prominent Italian businessmen and government and Embassy of Italy officials. On November 11, Armistice Day, a dance was held jointly with the Federation of Italian Organizations to raise money for the Italian Red Cross.

Lido Star

Ralph Cipriano proposed a Lido Club monthly publication and it became a reality in June, 1937 with the first issue of ” LIDO CHIPS”. Ugo Carusi was its first editor and Harry Marselli was associate editor. Over the years, editions of the “Lido Chips” were edited by many members. In 1978, it became the LIDO STAR” headed by Dr. Nicholas Petruzzelli. “Doc” retired as editor in 2003 after 25 years. In 2004, the Lido Star was taken over by co-editors John R. Urciolo & Louis J. Scalfari. The Lido Star is still being published, however it now appears in the monthly editions of VOCE ITALIANA which is the official publication of Holy Rosary Church and Casa Italiana

Lido Club's Special Events and Projects

In 1938, the Club enthusiastically supported Congressman Dickstein’s proposal to erect a monument for the late Guglielmo Marconi and a fund was started. The Club participated in the dedication of the Marconi Statue which stands in front of the Mt. Pleasant Library here in the city. In 1940, another fund was established to send Lido representatives to the International Exposition in Italy in 1941.

The Club joined the Knights of Columbus at the Christopher Columbus Day ceremony held at the Columbus Statue at Union Station. Our Club has continued to be a major sponsor and participant in this great event for the last 75 years!

The Lido Club held seven Bond Rallies during World War I I to help the war effort. In October, 1942, a Columbus Day Bond Rally and Celebration was staged with four Metropolitan Opera stars singing and Ugo Carusi, the U.S. Attorney-General, speaking to the large turnout. Many D.C. Italian organizations joined Lido in this memorable event which sold over $250,000.00 in war bonds. It was the biggest public gathering ever held by Italian-Americans in D.C. history!

In 1971, the Lido Club spearheaded bringing various Italian American clubs in the Washington area together to form AMERITO (American Italia Organization). Lido Members were the founders of The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) . NIAF has been a very strong player not only in our community but on a national scale.

In 1990, as the Quincentennial Anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ famous voyage was nearing, the Lido Club embarked on a fund raising effort to commission a statue of Christopher Columbus to be placed at Holy Rosary Church. With the assistance of Holy Rosary’s pastor, Fr. Ceasar Donanzan, C.S., the Club agreed to raise the necessary funds. The statue selected was that of a youthful Columbus as opposed to the traditional ones seen throughout the world. O n the 500th Anniversary, October 11,1992 , the Lido Club unveiled the statue that now stands in the new piazza behind the newly renovated Church and the new Italian-American Museum/rectory building adjacent to the church. (Note: In 2013, during the U.S. government shutdown, the Lido Club’s statue had the honor of being used for the annual Columbus Day ceremony that normally takes place at Union Station). In 2003, the Club started a fund to help repair and rebuild the pipe organ at Holy Rosary Church. It was decided that the donation be given in the name of Lido member Richard (Dick) Pellicano who, as a young immigrant, had installed the organ. Richard was a 50+ year member of Lido and died in 2002 at the age of 101.

The Lido Club Continues to serve the Italian American Community

The Lido Club continues to be one of the strongest Italian American clubs in the Washington, DC area. We have continued to honor prominent Italian Americans, as well as helping Italian Americans through our Charity and Scholarship Committees. Our scholarship fund now has a corpus of over $1,000,000.00. To date we have awarded over $1,000,000.00 in scholarships.