Club History

Mission Statement

To preserve and enhance our rich Italian heritage and culture by promoting and providing social, recreational, educational, and entertainment programs and activities for our members, their families, and friends.

Club History

The Peninsula Italian American Social Club of San Mateo can proudly trace its origin directly to the 1930s. It was either 1933 or 1934 when a group of Italian American residents of San Mateo, under the leadership of Frank Lodato, joined together to form a social club for members of the Italian American community known as the New Deal Italian-American Federation of San Mateo California. The selection of the name was influenced by the newly inaugurated national social program known as the New Deal.

The first president of the club was Frank Lodato, a prominent Italian American resident of San Mateo who also was a very active Democrat.

Among the founding members were Guido Sbragia, Mike Berta, Silvio Iannaconi, Mario Cascinai, George Cascinai, A. Vespa, Pete Garelli, S. Cilia, Frank DeMartini, Joseph Ziccone, Charles Todaro, Frank Bergano, Frank Perry, Joseph Basso, Victor Turchett, Santo Colombo, Louis Pisoni and Louie Moriconi.

At that time there were three other popular Italian American organizations in San Mateo, namely the San Mateo Nest, Order of Owls chartered circa 1913; the Italian Catholic Society of San Mateo founded in the early 1920s and the Italian American Progressive Club of San Mateo. The San Mateo Nest, Order of Owls and the Italian American Progressive Club ceased to exist many years ago. The Italian Catholic Society has become a branch of the Italian Catholic Federation.

The membership of the New Deal Italian-American Federation was composed mostly of individuals whose social and political beliefs differed from those advocated by the Italian American Progressive Club.

In the early years the meetings and social events of the Club were held in the homes of members. Several of them had homes with a full basement on the ground floor with the living quarters above. The basements provided suitable quarters for the meetings and social events.

Sometime between 1934 and 1940, the club leased a building located at the corner of Second Avenue and Railroad in San Mateo. The premises were remodeled and used for club meetings and social events.

The members of the club were all very dedicated, and enthusiastically supported the activities of the group. Many social functions were sponsored for the enjoyment of the members and their families and, incidentally, to raise funds for the maintenance of the premises and payment of the necessary expenses.

Due to the untiring efforts of the officers and members, the club prospered and its membership continued to increase. In 1941, the club was incorporated as a nonprofit corporation pursuant to the laws of the State of California, and its name was changed to the New Deal Civic Club of San Mateo.

The quarters on Second and Railroad became inadequate and the location undesirable for family events as the membership grew.

In 1940 or 1941, the club purchased the real property on B Street now occupied by the Peninsula Italian American Social Club. The premises had been vacated by the Ford Automobile Agency which was then operated by Fred E. Beer. The membership immediately embarked on a major remodeling of the building to adapt it to the needs of the club for meetings, social events and athletic events.

Upon completion of the remodeling in 1942, the club held an aggressive membership drive which culminated in a gala and very impressive inaugural celebration on February 13, 14 and 15. The festivities included an open house with buffet and entertainment on Friday evening; a Grand Ball, Dedication Ceremonies and Queen Coronation on Saturday evening and an Inaugural Banquet on Sunday. Mafalda Facchini reigned as Queen of the festivities.

The continued growth and outstanding accomplishments of the club has been due in great measure to the unselfish and untiring efforts of many of its members who for many years most willingly contributed their time and talent to perform the many tasks essential to build and maintain the club.

In 1946, the Board of Directors of the New Deal Civic Club, with the approval of the membership, adopted a resolution amending the Articles of Incorporation to provide that the name of the organization would be the Peninsula Social Club of San Mateo.

As time went on, the club underwent further remodeling and embellishment. Such changes included removal of the side benches and large fixed stage in the main hall (and replacement with a smaller movable stage), updating of its front and back bars, remodeling of its bathrooms, and beautification of its main hall and patio area.

In 2003, the Board of Directors, with the approval of the membership, adopted a resolution amending the Articles of Incorporation to provide that the name of the organization would be the Peninsula Italian-American Social Club of San Mateo. In 2006 the bylaws were changed to give social members the right to vote. The Club continues to prosper as one of the premiere Italian-American clubs in the Bay Area.

Past Presidents

New Deal Italian American Federation of San Mateo
1934-1935 Frank Lodato
1936 Frank Perry
1937 Guido Sbragia
1938 G. Facca
1939 Ezio Rossi
1940 Henry Mazza
1941 G. Ferrari
New Deal Civic Club of San Mateo
1942 Louis Siracusa
1943-1944 Frank DeMartini
1945 Mike Berta
Peninsula Social Club of San Mateo
1946 Frank DeMartini
1947 Joe Bacchetto Sr.
1948 Frank DeMartini
1949 Louis Siracusa
1950 Albert Andriozzi
1951-1952 Frank DeMartini
1953 Joe Bulanti
1954-1956 Luis Siracusa
1957 Ildo Rosellini
1958 Frank DeMartini
1959 Joe Bacchetto Sr.
1960 Amedeo Pedretti
1961-1962 Gino Leonardi
1963 Amedeo Pedretti
1964-1965 Gene Giomi
1966-1968 Louis Siracusa
1969-1970 Joseph Della Chiesa
1971 Primo Marcon
1972 Mario Marcucci
1973 Louis Siracusa
1974 Primo Marcon
1975-1978 Louis Siracusa
1979 Aldo Bianchi
1980 Jerry Campagna
1981 Ray Colombo
1982 Louis Siracusa
1983-1997 Ray Colombo
1998-2002 Emil Bagneschi
Peninsula Italian American Social Club of San Mateo
2002-2007 Emil Bagneschi
2008-2011 Emil Giannoni
2012-Present Dan Ferlizza

About the Club... A Note From Past PIASC President Emil Bagneschi

The purpose of the club is to generally promote the Italian culture among Italian-Americans of the San Francisco Peninsula, and to ensure a lasting legacy for their descendants. The Peninsula Italian American Social Club of San Mateo, Inc., as it is formally named, is deliberately operated close to break-even, since most of its activities are member activities, designed for their pleasure and their enjoyment. The activities of the social club are organized in an effort to bring the members and their friends together to enjoy each other's company, to enjoy good Italian food, and dancing (if they so prefer), all at a minimal and reasonable price. We also make our beautiful facilities available to the members and the general public for banquets, meetings, wedding receptions, dancing, and other activities, all at very affordable rates.

To be a member, one must be of Italian descent or be married to a spouse who is of Italian descent. The club has approximately 800 members and has been in operation since 1934, and incorporated in California in 1941. There are many Italian-Americans on the San Francisco peninsula, and many of them would rather come to San Mateo for their social activities than travel to San Francisco or San Jose (although we do have some members who themselves reside in San Francisco and San Jose, and do not mind traveling to San Mateo).

Our club also has two beautiful indoor bocce courts, as well as access to four outdoor courts, for the enjoyment of the members and their spouses and friends. The club hosts several important bocce tournaments during the year. Some club members are very good bocce players and can be found playing almost daily on our bocce courts.

The PIASC has, in the past, sponsored Festa Italiana di San Mateo each year, a month-long series of events, culminating in a parade and two block-long street fair, including three music stages, in downtown San Mateo. The goal of the Festa Italiana di San Mateo was to raise funds for programs benefiting developmentally challenged adults and children.

In addition, the Peninsula Italian American Social Club, in conjunction with other Italian-American organizations in the community, annually sponsors a Columbus Day Italian-American Heritage Celebration, which is held in October of each year. The proceeds of this event in recent years have been donated to the San Mateo County Historical Association Museum and the Peninsula Symphony, among other worthy causes. Finally, the Club raises funds and annually awards scholarships in excess of $15,000 to deserving high school students who desire to further their education.

The club's facilities consist of a beautiful main hall (ballroom), measuring approximately 106 feet long and 49 feet wide, adorned by marbled columns, and color coordinated fabric and wallpapered walls. The club has two fully equipped bars, one off the main ballroom and one in front of the building, adjoining the bocce courts. In addition, it has a large new Italian-style patio, with gated entrance, brick barbecues, Italian cypresses, interlaced brick flooring, round terrazzo tables and benches, and wall decorations. The newly redecorated hall, with its movable stage, accommodates up to 375 people for wedding and other receptions. It can accommodate in excess of 450 people when meals are not served. The facilities also include a smaller upstairs hall, together with other rooms and offices.

Copyright © 2011 Peninsula Italian American Social Club