Main & Cornelio Ave

 This clip shows Carmine Cornelio’s property on Main Street.  The first building seen was the original location of Cornelio Motor Sales in 1927. By the time of the film, Angelo Garafolo was running the gas station shown. It was later converted to a duckpin bowling alley. I remember before they had mechanized pinsetters, pinboys would jump down to clear or reset them and send the balls back to the bowlers. Benny Nero’s was right next door for many many years. My grandfather had good reason to be proud of the stone buildings on the corner:  he built them himself along with his brother Sebastiano .

Cornelio Avenue was a short, private street that he opened in the early 1920’s on property that he had bought, but even such modest development had an impact. According to a newspaper account:

“Mr.Cornelio built several houses on his private road… The owners of the dwellings and lots are each taxed individually….were it not for the private drive, the values of this back-lot property, and the tax revenue, would be very small.”

While it may have been just an abbreviated little street off of Main, the modest housing there was an important stepping stone for many Italian-American immigrant families of the time.  

For the viewer, the star in this clip may be the gal who is seen taking in the laundry. She has been identified as Ernestine Bascetta, and sure enough, the Bascetta family also originally came from Floridia, Sicily. The story of that wave of immigration that contributed so much to Winsted is still waiting to be told….

P.S. Notice how cute, the ladies holding hands at the very end of the scene….


7 responses to “Main & Cornelio Ave

  1. Anita (Veneziano) Casey

    This site is absolutely amazing. I was fortunate enough to have a friend forward it to me, and because my family lived on Cornelio Ave., I of course, opened the Main & Cornelio link first. To my absolute surprise, there was my grandmother! Salvatrice Veneziano – she is at the end of the video, one of the two women holding hands as mentioned in the PS above. My grandmother is the one in the light colored dress. Thank you so much for creating this video!

  2. Francine Shandra

    Oh my god what a fantastic page, my grandparents Angelo and Frances Garafalo owned that gas station, I shared this with my Mother and it brought tears to her eyes….thank you for posting a beautiful site.

  3. Great, thanks for the visit – I have some early photos & I think Angelo is in them as well. I am pretty sure Angelo was with my grandfather from the earliest days of the business & I am sure he was one of the reasons for the good things that happened in the business all those years!

  4. Cool site, love the info. I do a lot of research online on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks,

    A definite great read.. 🙂


  5. cheryl demonstranti

    This film brought back so many memories. Although I was only 2 when the flood of 1955 hit Winsted, I love to see all the old buildings and remember the businesses such as Atkins candy kitchen, Liberty Market, Highland Arms restaurant and all the thriving factories. My family, the Demonstranti’s also came from Floridia, Sicily. Winsted was the All-American town and a wonderful place to live and raise a family.

  6. Kaye Lovallo Coddington

    What a wonderful legacy! Thank goodness someone cared enough to do this. I have a collection of Italian letters written back and forth between those that immigrated and those left back in Italy. Some will be donated to the Torrington Historial Society. As to Winsted, my mother’s family still resides there, my grandfather was a conductor on the train that started and ended there, and I remember, all too well, the flood of 1955 as I was visiting for the summer. What a legacy!

  7. Roberta Lown Bascetta

    what a wonderful site! Thats my Zizi Ernie hanging out her laundry. I remember visiting them every summer from mother Rose, now 94, is the only sister left, and the only one who moved away. Her youngest (and only)brother Joe is 82 and is at the nursing home in Winsted. So sad that they are all gone…truly a family full of life! I have the black and white version of this film..and as you can see by my name, I ended up marrying a very very distant, perhaps 4th or 5th cousin(?) unable to actually track it, but they shared the name…of the Bascetta’s..they owned the fruit market and we met by chance a few years ago. This movie leave a wonderful legacy of times gone by. How wonderfully simple they were!

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