The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Features

May 15, 2009

Impending demolition brings back memories

We have learned of the impending demolition of Marcucci’s Building at 612 S. Second St. News went out on the Internet, and at least 50 people responded with fond memories of this establishment.

Gilbert Marcucci began the business with his cousin Tony in the early part of the century. A brother-in-law, Julius Sodini, was also in the business before moving to Oelwein and starting The Candy Box, which flourished there until 1957. Gilbert had been born in Italy in 1870 and came to America in 1895. His old frame building was torn down in 1924; the new building, completed in just 60 days, remained a downtown business for about 40 more years. The Town Talk newspaper took over the building in the 1960s.

Marcucci’s was a famous hangout for teenagers in the evening and a great luncheon spot for downtown businessmen during the noon hour. In those days, everyone said, “I’ll meet you at Marcucci’s (or The Revere) after school.” Some called it “Mike’s,” for a great uncle who was the first one in America, and he started with a push cart.

Rastrelli’s came right after those two meeting spots, originating at The Revere before moving to Lyons. Between 1948 and its closing in the 1970s, Marcucci’s was run by two gregarious individuals: Charley Marcucci (Gilbert’s son) and his partner, Jim Pitts. One of them was always there, and they greeted one and all as honored guests, deserving of respect and good service. Charlie Fletcher was one of the candy-makers out back, and he and Charlie might be found at the Elks Club if they weren’t working.

Charley lived at 509 Seventh Ave. South. He and wife Anna and had four children. Besides Gilbert and cousin Tony there was also uncle Emil in Maquoketa, (where his son “Gib” still lives in Monmouth, Iowa). They all knew about making sweets, and the recipes were always in the family. Charley’s daughters were Marianna, Katherine, and Ann; his son Charles was in the Class of ‘55, but graduated from Campion (Jesuit boarding school). Chuck, Jr. is a builder living and working in the Clinton area.

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