The St. Louis Bocce Club officially began to function in 1975 at 5627 Manchester Avenue. However, for several years its original group obscurely placed bocce at "John and Rose's on the Hill". Their camaraderie, keen pleasure in singing together, and many good times gave birth to the idea of forming a club of their own! Enthusiasm grew to a high pitch and the decision was made to organize a small group under the name "The St. Louis Bocce Club". One cold, Sunday morning, after the 9 o'clock Mass, Aldo Della Croce escorted a group to Manchester Avenue to look over the place of their future home. Everyone exclaimed "Are you kidding! This is it!! Aldo, you must be out of your wits if you think we can convert this shack to a place to play bocce!"
It seemed a formidable task to attempt to change this abandoned, neglected building filled with clay, into a respectable place for us to play bocce! No one smiled as they gazed upon this ugly shed... no walls... a series of 6 X 6 posts holding a roof full of holes lurking above; a refuge for the run-away dogs from the near-by Humane Society. Loose shingles on the roof flapped madly in the wind! How could we tell Aldo that this was simply a dream, inconceivable! It would take a year of sweat and hard work to make it presentable. And, we would have to do it in our spare time. It would take all our strength and untold hours of labor. Against the north wall was a mass of clay, enough to make all the brick for a new home. This all had to be removed! Lo and behold! We never realized that this clay was holding back the only standing wall of the shack. A new 8 inch concrete wall was the beginning of 4 months of labor to simply enclose the dilapidated structure.
To its new members, the success of the club had significant history. It was a combination of energies and good wills. All was accomplished by its members - a roof over our heads; ladies and men's toilets, tile work, woodwork, plastering, painting; bar, and kitchen... free labor from the men of our club. We bonded and strengthened together because of our unity and good will. Then after 17 years of dreams and hopes we made the big decision much the same as the Rev. Giovannini, who asked his parishioners on the Hill if they would cooperate and in two years they would have a new St. Ambrose Church. Aldo made the same proposition: If we work together, if we seriously put our minds together, we will build our new home, our own bocce club.
A parcel of land under the Kingshighway viaduct was purchased. Each member submitted $500 to make this ambitious prospect viable. We were all set to sign the contract; the majority of the men and women favored putting our money into this adventure. But, before this could become a reality, our guardian angels guided the committee toward the prospect of a new location! It was located in the center of our beloved Hill on 2210 Marconi Ave. The property was legally purchased. Like the royal eagles that returned to make their nest on the Tower of Ciullo near Palermo, the club returned to establish its permanent nest where it once began to meet - On The Hill! Plumbers, electricians, brick-layers, tile-setters, cabinetmakers, carpenters, painters, and many craftsmen, 50 or 60 men, worked together. The women organized fund raisers... dinners, entertainment, etc. Both men and women focused on the one goal to accomplish a beautiful bocce home. The structure is perfect. The three alleys are protected by framed screens. The kitchen is impeccable, resplendent in stainless steel. The ladies rooms are brilliant with wall mirrors, radiantly illuminated. The carpeted dining room holds 250 to 300 people. The dancing area is parquet; beautiful! Many, many thanks to all the men and women who helped make a dream a reality, our home!