The End of an Era

I visited the SSCC Hall, May 2009 and I asked the owner, Louis Mingolo who is the owner of, Mingolo Precision Products , if he could hang the picture of the Saint Joseph 's feast celebration with the story along with it. He was very gracious and willingly hung the picture and story. While I was there, Louis Mingolo told me a little bit about the purchase of the building, which I thought worth recording.

Louis Mingolo said that he purchased the building in 1979 from the SSCC Hall organization for $110,000.00. The Building was in need of major repairs at the time of the purchase. The Real Estate agency was Mazzo–Buono and the agent was Teddy Tedesko who was a part time real estate agent and a full time Police officer for Hackensack .

One of the officers of the SSCC Hall at the time of the purchase was
Nunzio Ruta. Louis Mingolo said after he had purchased the building some of the old members came by and asked if they could meet in the basement and continue to play cards like they had for so many years while members of the SSCC Hall.

Louis Mingolo let the men meet without ever charging them any rent. The group slowly diminished till the meetings stopped and so with it a part of Hackensack's rich history. A strange note to this story is, my grandfather, Ben Meli, the man in the middle of the photo and the First President of the SSCC Hall in 1923 passed away the same year the building was sold 1979.

Written by:
Bob Meli
May 20, 2009

My grandfather's name in Italian was Biagio Meli but was always called Ben by everyone in America was the president of the SSCC Hall. He is the man sitting in the middle of the photo with the dark suit on. My Grandfather, Ben, and my Grandmother, Susan, and there four children Philamena, Tom, Kay, and Ben Jr., lived just a block up the street on the corner at 143 South Main and the building next to the house at 139 South Main, owned by a company called “Spirit” today was built by Biaggio {Ben} Meli and his brother Ralph and it was a candy factory in the 1930's
Tom Meli the oldest son would laugh and say “I thought everyone liked me when I was a kid, but all they wanted was the candy.” The name of there company was called the Wireless because Ralph was so impressed with the wireless telegraph. They delivered too many of the local candy stores and also to Paterson and Passaic .


They had two station wagons and two pickup trucks and stopped making there own candy after a few years and just distributed the name brand candies. My grandfather was asked if they wanted to distribute Pepsi Cola. It was just before their national advertising campaign and he declined saying, "it tastes like any other cola." All the old timers to this day remember that story.

Joseph Califano who lived on Hobart Street painted the religious picture in the photo. The food was donated by the women in the photo and other families and was auctioned off to raise money for the poor. As the bidding went on the auctioneer would stand on the table.

During World War II, Briscolina Street, which is the next block over from South Main, was named after Charles Briscolina after he was killed in action during World War II. Tom Meli, who was delivering mail during the summer of 1944, brought his wife the Purple Heart he received and he never forgot how she cried all these years later.

Written by:
Bob Meli, Grandson 52 yrs.
April 20, 2008


To read about Guiseppina (Josephine) Meli,
Biagio (Ben) Meli's sister's story about her account of how the Meli family came to America through Ellis Island at the turn of the century between 1903 and 1906,
Click here: Coming to America