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Panther Hollow

A Pittsburgh Little Italy

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December 2, 2007

It is my pleasure to give a very special welcome to all of you who have come together today for this historic event in which we dedicate a monument to honor the history of the Panther Hollow Community, a community in which most of you here present were born and raised, or in which your families were born and raised, during the last one hundred years.

My own father, Carl Giampolo, was born here in 1915. On Christmas Day, he will celebrate his 92nd birthday; some people now call him the “Mayor of Panther Hollow” – and I guess that makes my mother, Irma Scenna Giampolo, the “First Lady” of our community!

My father’s parents, and also my mother’s, were among the masses of Italian immigrants who came to the United States between the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries – humble, honest, hard-working peasants from Europe who came here in search of a new life. They, like so many other ethnic groups, were, unfortunately, received into our country with resentment and contempt. Nevertheless, they persevered, for the sake of their children and their children’s children – and here we are today to honor them.

The people who settled in this community came mainly from two very small Italian towns, Pizzoferrato and Gamberale, in the Abruzzi Region of Italy, in the mountains just east of the glorious city of Rome, the Center of Italian Civilization.

Throughout the history of our neighborhood here in Pittsburgh, we achieved a sense of solidarity, participating collectively in the growth and development of our community. From one generation to the next, we were taught, by virtue of the fine example set for us by our parents and grandparents, the importance of our place in the history of the United States – a history in which so many ethnic groups in this country take pride.

We were, and are, Americans, all of us, to be sure, born or naturalized citizens of this country – but always Italian-Americans as well, with a truly deep respect for our ancestry. We are one of so many Italian-American communities in the United States – this makes us part of the great mosaic of American history in which we, the Italian-Americans, play such an important role.

Our parents and grandparents were labor class American citizens: steelworkers, construction workers, carpenters, and brick layers – workers whose children went on to become attorneys, judges, community leaders, physicians, teachers and university professors.

I bring you very special greetings from my first cousin, Jimmy Cascaito, who regrets that he cannot be here with us today. He is now Dr. James Cascaito, Professor of Italian at the State University of New York. He has asked me to tell all of you that the virtue which he holds in highest esteem from his upbringing in Panther Hollow is the virtue of humility – the humble sense of respect which we owe to our ancestors.

This modest memorial has been created and placed here today to honor those who came before us and who established the character of this very special Italian-American neighborhood. The names inscribed upon this plaque are the names of our parents, and their parents before them, our beloved families to whom we owe our utmost respect.

Thank you for joining me for this very special ceremony.

Carlino Giampolo


Panther Hollow Plaque
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