About Our Members
The the Peninsula Italian American Social Club in San Mateo has approximately 800 members and has been in operation since 1934 and incorporated in California in 1941. While many of our members reside on the San Francisco Peninsula, many travel from San Francisco and the San Jose area.
The purpose of the club is to promote the Italian culture among Italian-Americans of the San Francisco Peninsula, and to ensure a lasting legacy for their descendants. 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, good Italian food, drinks, and dancing. We also make our beautiful facilities available to the members and the general public for banquets, wedding receptions, dancing, and other activities, all at very affordable rates.
Becoming a Member
Members must be of Italian descent or married to a spouse of Italian descent. Applicants to the club must have two members in good standing serve as sponsors. New members must be approved by the membership and pay a one-time fee of $350. Annual dues are $150.
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 barbeques, 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.
Our club 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.
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 PIASC, 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. The club also raises funds and annually awards scholarships in excess of $15,000 to deserving high school students who desire to further their education. Finally, the club supports other charitable organizations, like Mission Hospice.
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. 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 four 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 American Progressive Club of San Mateo. The Italian Catholic Society has become a branch of the Italian Catholic Federation, however the other three organizations ceased to exist many years ago.
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, which provided suitable quarters for the meetings and social events.
Sometime between 1934 and 1940, the club leased a building located at the corner of 2nd 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 function were sponsored for the enjoyment of the members and their families as well as to raise funds for the club’s necessary expenses.
Later on, due to the untiring efforts of the officers and members, the club increasingly grew and prospered. In 1941, the club was incorporated as a nonprofit corporation pursuant to the laws of California. Furthermore, its name was changed to the New Deal Civic Club of San Mateo.
As the membership grew, the quarters on 2nd and Railroad became inadequate and undesirable for family events.
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, 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, as well as athletic events.
In 1942, remodeling was completed. The club held an aggressive membership drive, which culminated in a gala and a 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, 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, 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. The club continues to prosper as one of the premiere Italian-American clubs in the Bay Area.