How a Dream Drove 500,000 Italians to Write a New American Story

Apr 30, 2019 229

BY: Pamela Dorazio Dean

My grandparents emigrated to Western Pennsylvania from the province of Chieti, in the Abruzzo region, in 1910. I never had the opportunity to ask them why they left, or why they chose PA. But research and histories have revealed some answers.

According to a number of studies, Western Pennsylvania coal companies were booming in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and, as such, needed lots of workers. They went overseas and recruited Italians and other Europeans for the jobs. My grandfather was employed at the coal mine in Ellsworth, so this is a plausible explanation of why he settled in that region of the U.S.

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