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The Italians came to St. Louis in the late 1880s. They lived in what is now downtown St. Louis among the Germans, Greeks, and Irish and attended St. Patrick’s Catholic Church or Our Lady Help of Christians in an area referred to as Little Italy, along Cole Street.

In the early 1900s, the Italians started another community southwest of Little Italy called The Hill. By the mid-1900s, most Italians had left Little Italy and moved to The Hill.

In 2005, The Hill is still a vibrant community in St. Louis with a rich Italian heritage. St. Ambrose Catholic Church is in the center of the area, along with fine Italian restaurants and local establishments that support bocce ball games in warmer weather. Two favorite sons from this community are retired professional baseball players, Yogi Berra and Joe Garagiola.

Records for Italian families probably will be found in the archives of one of the following Catholic churches:

  • St. James the Greater – 1860
  • St. Bonaventure – 1872
  • Our Lady Help of Christians – 1900
  • St. Charles Borromeo – 1903
  • St. Ambrose – 1903

Bibliography

Colletta, John Philip. Finding Italian Roots: The Complete Guide for Americans. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1993.

Fortieth Anniversary, 1903–1943, Historical Review, Brief Historical Sketches, and Data of St. Ambrose Parish, Marconi and Wilson Avenues, St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A.: Past and Present Achievements by Italians in America. St. Louis: St. Ambrose Church, 1944.

Galus, Walter J. The History of the Catholic Italians in Saint Louis. St. Louis: St. Louis University, 1936.

Keating, Grace Marie. A Study of the Americanization of the Italian Immigrant in the District of Southwest Saint Louis Popularly Known as “the Hill.” St. Louis: St. Louis County Library, Special Collections, 2004.

Mormino, Gary Ross. Immigrants on the Hill: Italian-Americans in St. Louis, 1881–1982. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1986.

Wayman, Norbury L. History of St. Louis Neighborhoods: The Hill. St. Louis: St. Louis Community Development Center, 1978.

 

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