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Club History

The ADRIATIC MARCHEGIAN CLUB was organized June 5, 1926.  Presently located at 30 Hawthorne Avenue, Derby, Connecticut, its fundamental ideals are honesty, brotherhood, love and respect.  The Club was formed to promote and encourage the Italian culture, to provide for the recreation and amusement of its members and guests, to promote and encourage citizenship, and to do any and all things incident thereto. The Club shall not have partisan and political goals, but shall be motivated by brotherhood and humanitarian ideals.


as written by Anthony “Babe” Paupini

My name is Anthony Paupini, better known as Babe, I am going to recall my memory as I am 86 years old of how the A.M. Club, which is abbreviated for Adriatic Marchegian Club. Right now I’d say I’m the oldest active member of the A.M. Club. I’m presently an officer and I’ve been an officer for more than half of my life. I’ve worked up from the officer chair, to the President, I was President on our 50th anniversary and I invited all founders and their wives at our 50th anniversary Banquet for free, needless to say we lost money on that banquet and I almost got all the blame for losing money at the banquet.

I will try to recall many good memories at our club; I may make some mistakes on forgetting some interesting ones, but others can recall at our club. Please remember that I am 86 years old.

I will start with how the A.M. Club started and where the Adriatic Marchegian Club name came from. It was taken from any Italian person from the top of the Adriatic Sea to the bottom where the sea ended, we were called Marchegian. Then from there south to Abruzzi, Calabria, Napelatano, all the way down to Sicily. The Marchegian people are very religious people, especially the women, as every Sunday the women would go to church and the men would go as well. Even though they were Catholics, they didn’t go to church every Sunday, but they usually met in front of the Marchegian store.  It sold soups, bread, meats, soda, nuts, beer, etc. It was owned by their partner Augusto Vitali, who was the main butcher, Frank Gabianelli, who was the chef, and Julio Santini, who was the all around man. As I said earlier, the Marchegian women are very religious. They went to church every Sunday morning. The men didn’t go every Sunday but they did attend on holidays.

My father Anthony Paupini, better known as Toni, owned a Saloon on Hawkins St. in Derby. One day he had a great idea and went to the men and said, “Come to my Saloon and I will give you free coffee and 15 cent for a shot of whiskey”. This arrangement went on for a while but and then the men came up with the idea to meet every Sunday and form a club.

This is the way the A.M. Club was formed. They elected Luigi Falciono as President and San Barnabucci as secretary, who remained secretary for many, many years, in the mid 1920’s. After a while the men decided that they wanted to build a clubhouse.  They paid the secretary $1.00 every month when they would meet every Sunday at my father’s Saloon. Little by little they started to get more men to join the club and chip in more money.  When time passed and they still didn’t have enough money, one Sunday meeting Joe Ceccarelli, a small time contractor, said that if they buy a piece of land then he will build the club and pay for the materials. Everyone agreed to work for free and the club provided free wine to all of the workers.

They bought a piece of land at 30 Hawthorne Ave and started to build their club. As the club was being built Pio Francini, a local contractor, told the men at a Sunday meeting, “Look, if I’m just starting my business and I can’t work at the club. But I will send down some equipment.” The land was completed in 1927. They formed money from the local banks and paid them monthly payments.

I was in the fourth grade at St. Mary’s School after the club was built. Once 3pm came around, I would run home and change my clothes before going down to the A.M. Club. I told myself that one day I would be the president of the club. Every day I would go down there and work. Even thought I was small and couldn’t do much, the men still treated me good and let me hang around them. The bank started to give us problems about our free land. I used the wheel barrel to fill it up with dirt and brought it down to the bank. I wanted to prove everyone that I was strong and tough enough for the job. The wheel barrel was too heavy for me to dump the dirt on the ground so I brought it over to the front of the bank. Just then, Mr. Ceccarelli happened to be there and he told me, “God dammit! You kids better get the hell out of here and don’t come back!” My father came around the corner and defended all of us against Mr. Ceccarelli.

The club was finished in October 1929. There is so much history with the club that I can’t recall all of it. But I do remember that when I was 13, I was a junior member of the A.M. Club and we couldn’t go into the club room but we were allowed to go into the small room next to the main room. There were a few tables in the room along with a pool table. The junior members didn’t have to pay due until we were 16 years of age.

There are so many interesting and true stories about the club but I’m having trouble remembering due to my age. But I do remember one incident. We all liked to play bocce even thought there were two different games of it. The regular bocce game of 16 points then there was the game of 48 Garantoto where you play 40 feet away and you are allowed 3 styles and then you throw the ball. But you could not go over the end of the line or the opposing team would yell, “dead ball”!  When we were younger, Pete & Larry Baldelli, I and a few other people were good players. The idea of the game is to get as many points as possible. While I was playing with Peter and Larry while the older men were sitting on the bench and watching us play a good game. We were losing to Larry and Fly with a score of 22 to 46. I was shooting and after taking 3 styles I threw the ball high into the air and it landed right where the pallino was and that became 48 points. We ended up winning the game and all of the older men congrats us and they clapped their hands for us. Out of nowhere, the bench they were sitting on fell backwards and the four of us saw 8 pair of legs flying into the air. We rushed over to them to make sure none of them were hurt. They were okay and we all started to laugh. I will always remember that day.

I apologize if I didn’t remember every ones names that were a part of the A.M. Club history. But for the ones I do remember I would like to thank: Luigi Falcioni, Angelo Barnabucci, Joe Ceccarelli, Pio Francini, Antonio Paupini, Alfredo Lazzari, Joe Manoni, Recardo Mencomboni, Frank Cesaroni, Rudy Vagnine Sr., Albert C, Julio Santini, and Augusto Vitali for being a part of the A.M. Club. I would like to also thank Flavio Orazietti who has been one of the back bones of the club. He was always there when anyone needed him. Mr. Evo Toni is also a member of the A.M. Club that is still one of the hardest workers there. Also, Mr. Americo Cornachini who worked himself from bartender all the way to President.

I would like to ask anyone else to add any other interesting stories to this history of the A.M. Club. I am proud to be a member for so long and I’m also proud of the strong people who have come and gone. This is the true story of how our club began.

The Officers of the A.M. Club would like to thanks “Babe” and Sam Toni for their help in putting our club history into writing.  If anyone has any additional historical documentation of the Adriatic Marchegian Club Derby they would like to contribute, please email Vinny Ingrassia at  (February 2010)