Casa Nuova - A New Home
Maria Rosa Pinto left the Port of Naples, Italy in October, 1906. She arrived at Ellis Island, New York on December 22, 1906. What a long sea journey our immigrant ancestors experienced! She traveled aboard the S.S. Sicilian Prince. Records say she was 25 years old, single and carried $12.00 during the trip (age conflicts with other records). This ship weighed 3,199 tons and measured 365.5 feet x 42.2 feet. On this voyage, it carried 754 passengers, and it had two masts. She was welcomed by her brother, Fillipo (Phillip).
Phillip (Born July 18, 1886) arrived in Philadelphia in the year 1905, and found work at the J.B. Stetson Company of 5th and Montgomery Streets. Phillip had 5 children with Bertha (of German descent): Michael, Marie, Elizabeth, Phillip and Rosenelle. They lived at 1010 Emily Street in Philadelphia.
Maria Rosa was one of four children. Her brother, Tony arrived in 1909 and was married three times. His first wife, Catharina, died in May, 1927 at the young age of 35. His second wife was named Elizabeth, who also died. His third wife was named Lucy. He owned a home at 434 Gross Street in West Philadelphia and a vacation home in Avalon, New Jersey. Tony and first wife, Catharina, had six children: Michael, Rocco, Mary Lucco (Lucy), Louis, Rose and Joseph.
A sister, Antoinetta (married name was Russo) also immigrated to Philadelphia.
On one occasion during the 1920's or 30's, their mother, Lucia (Lucy) Pinto came for a visit to Philadelphia with intentions of staying in America. However, she returned to Roseto Valfortore, Italy. More about Roseto Valfortore and the Pinto family later.......
Getting back to the Potorti Family ~ Mario and Maria Rosa eventually moved to a small row home in South Philadelphia among other Italian immigrants. Their first home was on narrow Tree Street; but eventually they moved to 2325 South 10th Street. Above, we see Mario standing and Maria Rosa sitting. They had three children: Dominick (left, standing) was born February 1, 1910. Michael (baby on lap) was born July 12, 1913. Carlo was born December 19, 1917 (same date as Mario). Photo was taken in 1914.
This photo is Maria Rosa Potorti with new baby, Dominick - 1910
Above photo is Antonio (Tony) Pinto - born March 19, 1892, brother of Maria Rosa Potorti, with his first wife, Catharina - also born 1892
They were married in Philadelphia on February 18, 1902
Their children are Rocco (baby on lap) and Michael (standing)
Photo was taken in 1915 and contributed to this site by Jacqueline Calhoun, their great-grand-daughter.
The Potorti children attended Francis Scott Key School in South Philadelphia. In their early years, they found work at their Uncle Tony's ice cream cone factory in South Philadelphia. (See Uncle Tony's photo above), a mens' tailoring shop and at other odd jobs. During the 1930's, when resources were scarce, Michael and Carl bought a used Model T Ford for $4.00.....each paying $2.00 toward the deal. The car leaked when it rained and it wasn't too long before this clunker needed many parts to keep going. At the onset of World War II, they were employed as metal fabricators at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard.
Meanwhile, Mario found work as a tradesman. He worked as an independent contractor, and also through other contractors as a stone mason. Some of his work was accomplished in the homes and buildings of South Philadelphia and the Northeast Philadelphia area of the Roosevelt Boulevard. During winter months when construction work was scarce, Mario took on other jobs. For a period of time, he worked at The Budd Company's Hunting Park Plant in metal fabrication. As a part-time side job, he worked independently polishing bronze and brass at prestigious locations in Center City Philadelphia, such as commercial bank buildings.
He was an avid reader, who enjoyed the daily newspapers and magazines. One of his favorite magazines was National Geographic. Because of his Italian education and continuous reading of serious subjects, he was able to assist his grandson, also named Mario (son of Michael & Rose Potorti), in Algebraic studies. Mario had an artistic flair. We would often find him sketching with pad and pencil whenever he had free time; even until his final years when his eyesight became quite limited. Favorite singer ~ The Great Caruso.
Mario applied for U.S. citizenship on September 23, 1918. He took the next step toward citizenship on October 23, 1923; whereby N. DeVito and A. Barca signed his immigration papers as witnesses. Eventually, full citizenship was granted on June 18, 1924.
Maria Rosa was a devout Roman Catholic, attending Mass at Epiphany Church in South Philadelphia. She was friendly with many of her 10th Street neighbors and kept an Italian social network. Before the time of phones, televisions and computers, there would always be cake and coffee ready after dinner for friends, relatives and neighbors who would drop in for friendly conversations. For this reason, the front parlor and other "social" rooms were kept in tip-top shape. Maria Rosa never missed a Mario Lanza movie featured at the nearby Colonial Theater.
She was an excellent and protective mother and grandmother, caring for her own children and grandchildren. Following the sensible traditions of old Italy, children (especially girls), were not to be left unattended, but were kept under the guardianship of chaperones. I was never allowed to sit alone on the front steps of the house. This was not only unsafe, but appeared "unsavory" to most Italians of the neighborhood....small, enclosed backyard was acceptable.
Photo of Carl Potorti, 1920-Front of South Philadelphia home.
Dominick & Carl Potorti-1928, Folsom, Pennsylvania