Des Moines residents working to cement 'Little Italy' legacy

Jul 31, 2021 485

Little Italy DSM is working to get a business district on the south side of Des Moines designated as "Little Italy" to help preserve the community's history. The area along the south bank of the Racoon River includes Southeast First Street and East Jackson Avenue. Little Italy DSM co-founder Jenifer Caito-Ellingson said the neighborhood is rich with history and has notable cultural sites like Graziano Brothers and Tumea and Sons.

"Little Italy DSM is a portion of a neighborhood where all Italians came here to Des Moines and settled in, back in the 1800s and early 1900s," Caito-Ellingson said. Co-founder Pavla DeFrancisco currently lives in that neighborhood, in the house her husband's great grandfather lived in when he immigrated from Italy. 

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