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A Tampa Immigrant’s Business Story of the

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1 A Tampa Immigrant’s Business Story of the
Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families FICARROTTA – FERLITA From oral stories, years of research and documentation this presentation tries to piece together the lives of two Italian families that immigrated to Tampa from Santo Stefano Quisquina Kenneth C. Ferlita, AIA February 2014

2 Santo Stefano Quisquina, Sicily
FICARROTTA FAMILY Santo Stefano Quisquina, Sicily FICARROTTA FAMILY IN SICILY This photo always captured my attention, but the people never could be identified. I asked my grandmother in the 1970’s about the people in the photo, all she knew was that the are relatives of the Ficarrotta family. Family relatives in Sicily [circa late 800s] Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families

3 Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families
WEST TAMPA – YBOR CITY FICARROTTA – FERLITA This presentation focuses of two family members, my great-grandfather, Giuseppe Ficarrotta and my grandfather, Giuseppe Ferlita. Both died years before I was born, but the two families are united forever. Today these two men along with their wives and children all resting together eternally in a family mausoleum. Their mausoleum is is located in the center of a children’s playground, at least until Our family mausoleum is one of two remaining from the old Sacred Heart Cemetery that was moved in 1930s for the Sacred Heart School on Florida Avenue. Giuseppe R. Ficarrotta [ ] Giuseppe R. Ferlita Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families

4 Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families Ferlita Macaroni Factory
TIMELINE CHART Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families Giuseppe Ficarrotta killed. Ferlita Macaroni Factory expands to larger factory. 633 Union St, West Tampa Giuseppe Ficarrotta immigrated to Florida [Worked in St. Cloud Sugar Mills] Giuseppe Ferlita dies Ferlita Macaroni Factory expands to 644 Main Street,, next to family bakery in West Tampa Ferlita Family Move out of Ybor factory into a South Tampa Home Ferlita Macaroni Factory expands to Ybor City into new building Ferlita Macaroni Factory forced to relocate to 2001 N Tampaina, West Tampa Ferlita Macaroni Factory est in Ferlita’s home on 518 Green St., West Tampa Inter-national Bank ‘s Loan Due Giuseppe Ferlita immigrated to Tampa TIMELINE Giuseppe Ficarrotta’s life in America was cut short. He arrived in the USA at the age of 24, but his life was cut short when he was murdered at the age of 40. Be had built a bakery, wholesale feed store depot, founding member to the West Tampa Building and Loan Association and served as a City Councilman of West Tampa. He left a wife and nine children. Giuseppe Ferlita and his parents arrived in the USA when Giuseppe was only Giuseppe joined his brother Angelo in Tampa who had arrived two years earlier. His first job was as a cigar worker, but within a few years his father purchased a West Tampa bakery and the Ferlita family all worked there. He began his first macaroni production from the family’s home on Green Street in West Tampa, but within a year moved into a new location on Main Street before expanding to Ybor City. From Ybor City the factory relocated back to West Tampa and operated until the early 1940s when the bank took over the operations. Giuseppe Ferlita died in 1949 at the age 63. Giuseppe married twice and had four children with each child. 1891 1905 1909 1912 1915 1924 1936 1940 1944 1949 1800s 1900 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950s WEST TAMPA YBOR CITY WEST TAMPA

5 WEST TAMPA FLORIDA Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families WEST TAMPA
For me this photo helps set the quality of life our immigrate families saw when they first arrived in West Tampa. Main Street, West Tampa [circa 1895] Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families

6 West Tampa City Councilman
Giuseppe R. Ficarrotta Giuseppe Ficarrotta immigrated from Santo Stefano Quisquina, Sicily to the United States in 1891 and after working at the St. Cloud Sugar Mills for about a year, settled in West Tampa. His wife Maria Nicolina Pirello joined him in 1892. Within 10 years he had prospered to open a bakery and a feed store . He was a founding member, along with Hugh MacFarlane to establish the West Tampa Building & Loan with a stock capitol of $900,000. He served on the West Tampa City Council. His murder was never solved but the newspaper accounts indicated because he was one of West Tampa’s wealthiest businessman, two unidentified men approached him to extort $10,000 to aid id bribing a criminal friend from jail, but because he refused was killed. GIUSEPPE FICARROTTA Giuseppe Ficcarrotta, left Sicily in 1891, leaving a wife and a three year old daughter. His first work in America was in St. Cloud, but I never knew to ask my grandmother any details, but she may not have known much herself since he died so young. Within a year in the America he had settled in West Tampa and sent for his wife and child. But to his surprise at the last minute before sailing to America, an aunt convinced Giuseppe’s wife to leave their baby with the family in Sicily and that will force Giuseppe to return. Giuseppe tried to have his daughter sent to them, but it wasn’t till 1903 when Maria Paolo was 15, that a cousin, Ignazio Favata who himself was only 14 year old escorted her to reunite the daughter with her parents and now new brothers and sisters. By that time her father had become successful and the following year he established with Hugh MacFarlane the West Tampa Building & Loan Association, with a Capitol Stock of $900,000. Giuseppe served on the West Tampa City Council for years and various committees from Finance, Public Works to Ordinances. His wealth was mounting and his position in West Tampa was well known. In 1909 he was approached by two members of the Black Hand and they attempted to extort $10,000 to bribe a criminal friend out of a murder charge. Giuseppe refuse. On the day before Easter two men emerged from the palmetto thick next to their house and assassinated him in the back of his neck, with his four boys with him. TRIVIA: Godfather to Maria Leto Pasette’s mother, Josephine Milletto Leto Giuseppe R. Ficarrotta West Tampa City Councilman Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families

7 WEST TAMPA 1909 Murder www.WestTampaMurder.com
1910 Ficarrotta & Albano Lynching [Howard and Kennedy] WEST TAMPA MURDER On Saturday, April 10, 1909 Giuseppe Ficarrotta was gunned down as he arrived home around 8 o'clock in the evening.  The family had always claimed the murder was the result of an attempted extortion for money.  Giuseppe Ficarrotta was described as a wealthy wholesale and grocery owner and served as a member of the West Tampa City Council.  There was a possible connection to an earlier murder of B. LaBella.  The accused murderer of that case was Orniferio Chiarmante, who was believed to have gone to Giuseppe Ficarrotta for money to defend him or bribe officials which he was refused, so my great grandfather's assassination was arranged. The funeral was held the day after the murder on Easter Sunday and was reported in the newspaper as the largest the city had ever seen.  His murder was never solved, however our uncles had always told me that Angelo Albano and Castrenze Ficarrotta, the two men lynched on September 1910 were involved.  My great grandmother Maria Nicolina Pirello Ficarrotta had blamed herself, thinking she aided the assassins by turning on the porch light as her husband Giuseppe arrived home.  She was so distraught that she remain in her room for over a year in mourning and also she always wore black until the day of her death. Tampa Police Department 1900s Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families

8 Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families
WEST TAMPA Condolence Letters Maria Pirello Ficarrotta WEST TAMPA MURDER The family mourned the lost of their husband and father. The community sent letter and resolutions of condolences. Hugh MacFarlane a business friend, offered money toward the capture of resolution of this murder. In 1909 the coroner preformed the autopsy in the street at the murder scene. Due to Giuseppe Ficarrotta’s untimely death, he was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery, but later moved (his name still is apart of the database on the City’s website). At a later date the Ficarrotta and Ferlita families constructed a new granite mausoleum at the Sacred Heart Cemetery on Florida Avenue. During various legal investigations and trails, my grandfather’s body was exhumed for additional autopsy and finally moved to his current resting place at Sacred Heart School. In 1930 when the church was developing the site for their new school, they moved all the grave sites, except for two. My great-grandmother refused to move him again. My grandmother was the last person buried there in 1977. Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families

9 WEST TAMPA 1909 Murder www.WestTampaMurder.com
Acting Municipal Judge Granville Larimore West Tampa Constable Fernandez Gonzalez WestTampaMurder.com To review my on-going research and read the newspaper accounts of the day, visit my website at: This story continues…… Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families

10 WEST TAMPA FLORIDA Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families G. FICARROTTA & CO
“Bakery” Giuseppe Ficarrotta had established a bakery at 636 Main Street in West Tampa with his wife who shared some of her talents of cooking. One “edible piece” of history which was handed down is her recipe for Sicilian Meat Scachatta. Her granddaughter, Florence Ferlita won recognition from a Tampa Tribune Food Contest in the 1950’s where it was published. To this day , a true traditional family gathering has to include “scachatta” . The bakery was later sold it to Rosario Ferlita , the father-in-law two of his daughters. In this photo is when the Ferlita family operated the bakery. The sons are in front of each wagon and Rosario Ferlita and his wife, Maria Leto are on the balcony with their younger children G. Ficarrotta & Co. Bakery – Rosario Ferlita Bakery Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families

11 WEST TAMPA FLORIDA MAIN STREET Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families
Bakery & Macaroni Factory FICARROTTA – FERLITA West Tampa The Ficarrotta Feed Store and the Ferlita Bakery were located on Main Street in West Tampa, just east of Albany (then Frances) Street. Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families

12 GIUSEPPE ROSARIO FERLITA
Giuseppe R. Ferlita Giuseppe R. Ferlita immigrated from Santo Stefano Quisquina, Sicily to USA in He first worked as a cigar maker until his father purchased a bakery in West Tampa . With a loan from his brother-in-law, James Ficarrotta, and assistance from good friends like Angelo Mortellaro a businessman and founding member of the Italian Club, his macaroni factory was on Main St in a building owned by his in-laws. The business continued to grow and relocated to a new factory on 22nd Street and 6th Avenue. As pasta shipments expanded as far north as Georgia, again the factory was in need of expansion. In the late 1930s the business moved Union Street in West Tampa, but was forced to relocate again due to a new Public Housing development. Shortly after the final move to Tampaina Avenue ,WWII broke out and other finances difficultness began to strain the business. The bank called in the loan to buy the business for the banker’s son and within five years Giuseppe Ferlita died in 1949. GIUSEPPE ROSARIO FERLITA As a young man Giuseppe R. Ferlita dreamed of immigrating to America and becoming very successful. In 1905 Giuseppe arrived through Ellis Island as a teenager with only a third grade education. He came from Santo Stefano Quisquina, Sicily, with his family to join relatives who had previously settled in Tampa. He first worked as a cigar maker until his father purchased a bakery in West Tampa where he married his childhood sweetheart, Maria Paola Ficarrotta. With a loan from his brother-in-law, James Ficarrotta, and assistance from good friends like Angelo Mortellaro a local businessman and founding member of the Italian Club, Giuseppe was able to realize his dream of owning a business in America. His first macaroni factory was on Main St in a building owned by Giuseppe’s in-laws. The macaroni factory was growing and Giuseppe expected the need to expand within a few years, so he purchased land in Ybor City in 1918, site of the factory building which stands today. Giuseppe and Maria Paola had four children but when their youngest son Paul was just six weeks old, Maria Paola died during the Spanish Influenza of With a new macaroni business growing and four children, within a few years Giuseppe married Maria Paolo’s sister, Vincenta. The business continued to grow as he predicted and he also outgrew both their home and the West Tampa factory. By 1921 the land in Ybor City was paid off which allowed Giuseppe to construct the brick factory building for his family on one side and operation of his business on the other. They moved into their new home in Giuseppe and Vincenta had four additional children. Of those, three were born while living at this house on 22nd Street.    In West Tampa the macaroni factory delivered by horse and wagon. Then Giuseppe purchased a truck with no doors, but by the time he moved the factory to Ybor City, macaroni was sold all over from Miami to as far north as Atlanta. The factory packaged their own brand and brands like Tampa Maid for stores that later became Winn-Dixie. The factory building was sold to Pedro Perez in 1946 and his family used the factory to produce cigars until the mid 1960’s, but the family continued to live in the factory another decade until they sold it. Giuseppe R. Ferlita Ferlita Macaroni Co. Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families

13 WEST TAMPA FLORIDA 1911 1920 Giuseppe R. Ferlita
Married Maria Paolo Ficarrotta On They had four children; Rosario, Mary, Giuseppe (Baby Joe) and Paul. Maria died of Spanish Influenza in 1918 Vincenta Rose Ficarrotta They had four children; Florence, James, Ernest and William Giuseppe Ferlita marriage to Maria Paola Ficarrotta Giuseppe Ferlita marriage to Vicenta Ficarrotta Maria Paola Ficarrotta was separated from her parents at the age of four and wasn’t reunited until she was fifteen years old. She married her childhood friend in Tampa at the age of 23,. Sadly her life was cut short at only 30 when she died of Spanish Flu. That same week the Ficarrotta Family lost two other siblings also to the flu. Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families

14 Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families
FERLITA FAMILY 1920 FERLITA FAMILY My grandmother, Vincenta with her stepchildren (and nephew and nieces). Mary, Rosario (stand in the center), Paul and Giuseppe (Baby Joe) in his father’s arms. L-R: Vincenta Ficarrotta, Mary, Rosario (standing), Paul, Joseph, Jr. and Giuseppe Ferlita Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families

15 Giuseppe and Vincenta Ferlita
FERLITA FAMILY Giuseppe and Vincenta Ferlita USA CITIZENSHIP My grandfather was born in Santo Stefano Quisquina in 1886 and became a Naturalized Citizen in 1942. My grandmother was born in West Tampa in 1895 and “was” an American citizen, but when she married she lost her citizenship and had to reapply to become an American citizen again. We still have the American flag she was given. Certificate of Naturalization Certificate of Citizenship Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families

16 YBOR CITY FLORIDA Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families
FERLITA MACARONI FACTORY Ybor City In 1918, my grandfather purchased from the Nuccio family the land to build his future factory. He paid off the land in three years and began construction immediately on his new factory. By 1924 the factory was complete and both the manufacturing operation and family moved into the Ybor City factory location on 22nd Street and 6th Avenue (along the railroad tracks). Ferlita Macaroni Factory [1930s] Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families

17 YBOR CITY FLORIDA Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families
FERLITA MACARONI FACTORY Paul Ferlita was the youngest of the children born by Giuseppe’s first wife, Maria Paolo. Paul still nursing when his mother died that a neighbor helped nurse and raise him. The photo of Vincenta and Giuseppe standing next to one of their delivery truck was after they moved the factory back to West Tampa. Paul Ferlita standing on truck [1928] Ferlita Macaroni Delivery Truck [1930s] Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families

18 YBOR CITY FLORIDA Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families
FERLITA MACARONI FACTORY Accounting & Bookkeeping The books where typically managed by the family, but they had hired one of Tampa’s most prominent CPA’s, Rex Meighen. These records were discovered decades after my grandfather’s death by his son, William Ferlita. At the time William was managing partner of the CPA firm that managed his family’s book, but never knew it. The papers listed the types of pasta manufactures the names of the employees at the time and quantities of materials. The pasta press would produce 140lbs per 20 minutes. They would ship two columns of pasta a month or 500,000 lbs. One of the brands was called “Tampa Maid” sold to Winn-Dixie store throughout the southeast. Ferlita Macaroni Factory Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families

19 YBOR CITY FLORIDA Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families
FERLITA MACARONI FACTORY Ybor City The macaroni factory operated in the north end of the building adjacent to the railroad tracks where flour, farina and semolina were delivered and the family lived on the south end Ferlita Macaroni Factory – Ybor City Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families

20 YBOR CITY FLORIDA Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families
FERLITA MACARONI FACTORY Ybor City The family entrance to the building was through two large white columns on 22nd Street. It consisted of a Parlor, Dining Room, Kitchen and Bath in the rear and three bedrooms. The two girls shared a bedroom and the three older brothers slept together. The two youngest boys stayed in Giuseppe and Vincenta room. The factory was located at street level a few steps downs from the residence. Giuseppe employed not only his adult children but other family members at the Ybor City location for over a decade. Everyone ate together and he was known to feed extended family members, employees and anyone who came to the door hungry. Giuseppe’s children recalled every Saturday, Angelo Mortellaro came to noon dinner. He would exclaim “la carne e per le tigre” [Only the Tigers who worked ate] but then he would eat all he was served. Giuseppe and Angelo Mortellaro were great friends. Angelo was always at the macaroni factory. The macaroni factory was a totally family-run business. Vincenta kept the books, with his brothers, sisters, sons and daughters working in the factory, sales, deliveries and collections. Ferlita Macaroni Factory & Family Residence – Ybor City Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families

21 YBOR CITY FLORIDA Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families
FERLITA MACARONI FACTORY After the family relocated to West Tampa in 1936, the factory was for sale, but not until It was sold to Pedro Perez to be used as the family residence until 1974 and a cigar factory until the mid 1960’s. Ybor location “For Sale” after the factory was relocated to West Tampa Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families

22 WEST TAMPA FLORIDA Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families
FERLITA MACARONI FACTORY West Tampa – Union Street Interior view of the factory on Union Street. This location is currently the location of the North Boulevard Public Housing Project. Ferlita Macaroni Factory – Union Street Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families

23 WEST TAMPA FLORIDA Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families
FERLITA MACARONI FACTORY West Tampa – Union Street Family and employees in front of the Union Street factory. The factory was powered by it’s own electric generator. Tampa Electric quietly secured a neighbor to file a noise complaint about the generator, but lost in court, however the legal fight began to weigh heavy on the operations. By 1939, Nano went into semi-retirement and his eldest son, Rosario and brother-in-law Frank Ficarrotta ran the factory. Rosario “Saro” was in charge of the day-to-day operations. Nano had an office on the top floor near the pasta drying rooms. Nano wanted to keep watch over that process. Pasta drying was one of the most important steps. Nano said he would spend most of the time reading various books, periodicals and newspapers. In 1935 the United States passed the Social Security Act with first taxes collected in During this time Giuseppe’s lawyer advised to delay paying the new tax believing it would be abolished, but over the years the taxes mounted and money due. Additional “Baby Joe” was taking money from the company which cost the family dearly. Both in money and family. The final blow was yet to come. Ferlita Macaroni Factory – Union Street Diesel Generator Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families

24 WEST TAMPA FLORIDA Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families
INTERNATIONAL BANK OF TAMPA Angelo Massari Angelo Massari was a childhood friend from Santo Stefano Quisquina. He immigrated to Tampa in 1903 and in the late 1920s established the International Bank of Tampa. But the connection between Angelo and Giuseppe go back a half a century. There is an old family story handed down from father to son. As the story was told to my dad from his father, Giuseppe Ferlita. Angelo Massari and he where both students in Sicily together. While the headmaster left the classroom and Angelo Massari placed a bag of "poop" on the desk or chair. When the headmaster discovered the joke, he demanded to know who was the one who place the bag on his desk, but no one ever told who did it. Because of the action of one child the entire class was expelled. We find this interesting, because it was the "bad" student who later owned International Bank and it was the same person who called in the loan on his childhood friend. The Ferlita Macaroni Factory was auctioned at the courthouse steps and even with the help of a family friend; Bill Haggerty the factory was lost. Angelo Massari kept out bidding Mr. Haggerty and Mr. Massari won the factory. His son avoided the draft by operating a business during the war and afterwards the business stumbled and operated a few years more but later failed. Giuseppe’s daughter, Mary later would joke that the Massari son would not have been drafted because afterwards it was discovered he had "flat feet" and therefore not eligible to be drafted. In jest, Mary also said, “in addition to flat feet he also had a "flat head". Angelo Massari International Bank of Tampa 300 West Fortune Street 1946 Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families

25 FERLITA MACARONI FACTORY
REBIRTH FERLITA MACARONI FACTORY Ybor City In 2009 on learning of the potential demolition, Kenneth Ferlita, grandson of Giuseppe R. Ferlita, the original owner of the factory, contacted the City of Tampa to discuss available options for saving the building. The City reviewed known options and upon hearing the option to donate the factory, Kenneth, an architect, thought that between his professional contacts and friends within the Ybor community there could be an organization that would benefit from this offer. Kenneth first called long time friend Joe Capitano, past President of the Italian Club known to support many worthy causes in the community. Kenneth at the very least hoped for advice from Mr. Capitano, but he also saw the potential for the community and took an active role in finding a non-profit organization that could meet the terms of the donation. In order to mitigate the initial restoration costs, Kenneth secured his firm’s donation of architectural fees and successfully secured the engineers to also donate their fees. Additional donations and discounts for construction materials and other construction costs through local trade associations appeared possible. Before Restoration of the Ferlita Macaroni Factory [2009] Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families

26 YBOR CITY FLORIDA Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families
FERLITA MACARONI FACTORY Ybor City Now home to The Molding Depot and SALT Construction. Owned by John and Chris Rosende. [For more information about the Ferlita Macaroni Factory history visit: Restoration of the Ferlita Macaroni Factory [2010] Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families

27 YBOR CITY FLORIDA Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families
FERLITA MACARONI FACTORY Ybor City Now home to The Molding Depot and SALT Construction. Owned by John and Chris Rosende. [For more information about the Ferlita Macaroni Factory history visit: Before Restoration of the Ferlita Macaroni Factory [2009] Old Residential Entrance Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families

28 YBOR CITY FLORIDA Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families
Ferlita Macaroni Factory – 2009 FERLITA MACARONI FACTORY Ybor City Now home to The Molding Depot and SALT Construction. Owned by John and Chris Rosende. [For more information about the Ferlita Macaroni Factory history visit: Ferlita Macaroni Factory – Today Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families

29 YBOR CITY FLORIDA Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families
FERLITA MACARONI FACTORY Ybor City Now home to The Molding Depot and SALT Construction. Owned by John and Chris Rosende. [For more information about the Ferlita Macaroni Factory history visit: Ferlita Macaroni Factory “Then & Now” - Ybor City Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families

30 Thank you – Kenneth Ferlita, AIA
Questions Thank you – Kenneth Ferlita, AIA Kenneth Ferlita, AIA February 2014

31 Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families
West Tampa's birth came fast on the heels of this new burst of economic activity. Hugh C. Macfarlane ( ), a transplanted Scotsman, moved to Tampa in 1883 after hearing about the real estate growth while practicing law in New Orleans. After arriving in Tampa to practice law and he rose quickly in the community and in 1887 was appointed City Attorney. In 1892, Macfarlane purchased and platted 200 acres of land just west of the Hillsborough River for development. Macfarlane began offering factory sites and three story brick buildings to manufacturers. To encourage factories to relocate to West Tampa he and some investors, built an iron drawbridge across the Hillsborough River at Fortune Street and later financed a streetcar line. Dozens of cigar companies and thousands of people moved into the new city resulting in capital investments of over $2 million in West Tampa, a staggering sum in those bygone days. Three short years later, on May 18, 1895, West Tampa was incorporated, boasting 3,500 residents with businesses and community services. WEST TAMPA FLORIDA [Extra info] Hugh MacFarlane Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families

32 Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families
ST. CLOUD FLORIDA Hamilton Disston [Extra info] Hamilton Disston, was an industrialist and real-estate developer who purchased four million acres of Florida land in 1881, an area larger than the state of Connecticut, and reportedly the most land ever purchased by a single person in world history. Ficarrotta – Ferlita Families


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