They were so young when they immigrated to America......those Trentini from the Dolomite Mountains in beautiful Trentino, Italia. On ships, they came in the early 1900s to Ellis Island in New York Harbor, and then by train to an area called the Iron Range. They loved to sing their Italian ballads and operas. They were wine connoisseurs, excellent polenta cooks and they were seeking good fortune in America.
These hardy Trentini had a dream in this new land, and one of the first things they did was to organize the Societa di Mutuo Soccorso Tirolese de Chisholm. Miners, loggers, and blacksmiths by trade, the health of their families was first and foremost and the society became a fraternal health insurance provider. Back in 1913, the Charter organizers were Julius Marchese, Angelo Marchetti, Sr, Jack Maturi, Fred Pergol, Candido Zanoni, Louis Zeni, Eligio Corradi, Guiglielmo Monti, Joe Sartori and August Vicari. The society flourished as more Italian immigrants came and joined the Lodge. No one of Italian descent ever went hungry. The widows and children were taken care of in times of illness and tragedy. The Trentini Lodge provided a place to relax and play games, hold social events and develop bonds of friendship in this new land of America.
The Trentini society that was started in Chisholm, Minnesota in 1913 disbanded in the late 1950s. However, the flame of the dream really never died and in July of 1994, a group of descendants of the original Tirolese club ventured to Ogden, Utah to attend the 11th International Tirolean Trentino Organization of North America (ITTONA) convention. These descendants, Ernest Erspamer, Claire Erspamer Rupar, Rita Fedrizzi Perry, Evelyn Zanoni Kavlie, LoRetta Seppi, and Mary Banal Seppi, wanted to see and hear of their heritage and find out how they could create a vital organization whose purpose would be to pass on their heritage to the future generations of descendants of Trentino immigrants.
With the help of the ITTONA organization, informal meetings began on August 15, 1994 and the first formal meeting of “Trentini Tirolesi del Minnesota, Stella del Nord”, was held on June 14, 1995. Elected officers were: Evelyn Kavlie, President; LoRetta Seppi, Vice President; Claire Rupar, Secretary; Rita Perry, Treasurer; Ernest Erspamer and Mary Seppi, Historians. As of March of 2007, the club had 102 paid members and over 300 extended family members who are known to be direct descendants of emigrants from the province of Trento. In the state of Minnesota and surrounding states, the numbers of descendants is much more, but that exact count is unavailable. People throughout Minnesota are members and many former “Iron Rangers” living elsewhere in the United States, who are of Trentini descent, hold membership in the club.
On March 13 of 1996, official bylaws were adopted and signed, and the club became a nonprofit organization in the state of Minnesota. The purpose of the club is to function as a educational, social, cultural and historical club for the common benefit of the members. To accomplish this, the club provides historical information about their Trentino/Alto Adige culture, heritage and migration to the United States and Minnesota; establishes contacts with the ITTONA, other Trentino clubs, and Trentino/Alto Adige villages and towns of Minnesota’s Trentino/Alto Adige immigrant origins; and provides a social environment of mutual exchange of ancestry, culture and heritage.
We have sent representatives to the Trentino Youth World Congress, the North American youth meetings, ITTONA Conventions (48 club members participated in the 15th ITTONA convention held in Trento in June of 2002), and we hosted the ITTONA convention in Mountain Iron, MN in 2012. Members are very proud of their heritage and Trentini Tirolesi Del Minnesota organization provides members with a place to relax, enjoy social events, renew ties to the province of Trento, and to develop bonds of friendship......just as the Societa di M.S. Tirolese de Chisholm did when it was established in 1913.
Members are very proud of their heritage and Trentini Tirolesi Del Minnesota organization provides members with a place to relax, enjoy social events, renew ties to the province of Trento, and to develop bonds of friendship......just as the Societa di M.S. Tirolese de Chisholm did when it was established in 1913.
WHAT WE DO
A scholarship for anyone of Trentino descent, who are over 18 and pursuing a post secondary education, was established in April of 2003.
Fundraising has included raffles of handmade items of members, making antipasto, and monthly cash drawings at each meeting.
Four members, Vince Gentilini, Mary Banal Seppi, Corinna Gentilini, and Pierina Gentilini Volsen were born in the province of Trento.
Meetings are held the second Wednesday of the month at the Buhl Senior Center in Buhl, Minnesota.
The club holds an annual Christmas party, polenta dinner, summer picnic, and takes an active part in ethnic celebrations, held at Ironworld Discovery Center in Chisholm, Minnesota.
Members also partake in the biannual ITTONA conventions.