ROCCO FANELLE was born in Italy on June 23, 1885 to Andrea and Rosa Fanelle. He came to America from Accettura, Italy, leaving from Naples aboard the S.S. Victoria, and arriving in New York on December 8, 1903. Rocco Fanelle joined his uncle Donato Fanelle in Philadelphia. By 1906 Donato Fanelle had established a rag business at 214 Division Street in Camden.
After working for his uncle, Rocco Fanelle in 1908 went into the scrap paper and metal business, or, as it was called in the parlance of the day, the junk business for himself. When the Census was taken in 1910 he and his wife, the former Rocchina (Rose) Lavecchia, were living at 325 Spruce Street with a year and a half old son, Andrew (who was also known as Vito). Uncle Donato Fanelle lived across the street at 322 Spruce Street. A few houses down at 339 Spruce lived the Harry Neutze family; their son Frank Neutze, then studying law, would later become a judge. Across the street at 322 Spruce Street lived uncle Donato Fanelle, who by 1914 had moved his rag business from 214 Division Street to 263-265 Cherry Street, where it would continue into the 1940s.
By 1917 Rocco Fanelle was living at 701 Locust Street, the corner of Locust and Line Streets, where he also had his scrapyard. By 1924 the property extend up Line Street to 210-212 Line, where the business maintained its offices. Around the corner at 702 South 2nd Street in the late 1920s and early 1930s was Luigi Cinaglia, who was then operating a saloon there. The Cinaglia's later moved to 4th and Chestnut Street, where son Pete, operated Pete's Cafe for many years. The 1929 City Directory shows the residence for the Fanelle family at 701 Locust, but by April of 1930, when the census was taken the address given was 212 Line Street.
Rocco Fanelle and his wife went on to raise a family of ten children, seven boys and three girls. All seven of the Fanelle sons, Andrew, Benjamin, Daniel, Dominick, Joseph, Peter, and Rocco Jr., all were involved in the family business at one time or another.
By the late 1930s the old Donato Fanelle junkyard at 263-265 Cherry Street was being run by a Rocco Fanelle. This may have been Donato's son Rocco.
The 1947 Camden City Directory shows the Rocco Fanelle & Sons business at 217-221 Line Street, while the Rocco Fanelle and Brother Junkyard was at 210-212 Line Street, the corner of Line Street and Bath Street. Rocco Fanelle was then living with wife Rose at 1347 Princess Avenue in the Parkside neighborhood of Camden NJ. The sons listed as being involved in the business were Andrew, Benjamin R., Dominick, Daniel, Joseph, Peter, and Rocco Jr.
Rocco Fanelle passed away in the late 1948 in Haddon Heights NJ. His son Andrew then became head of the family business.
Rocco Fannelle's great-granddaughter, Giovanna "Gigi" Fanelle wrote in January of 2008:
After Rocco's death in the late 1940's his eldest son Andrew, or "Andy", took over the business with his six brothers working under him. Through the years some of the brothers branched out and worked elsewhere; some grandsons worked for the company. Present owner Tom Fanelle is one of Rocco Sr.'s and Roccina (Rose) Fanelle's grandsons, also the only son of Peter Fanelle. Tom started working in the yard in his early teens in the 1960's.
In 1968, the warehouse had a large fire causing the family to rebuild. Andy Fanelle died in 1972, at which time Peter, or "Petey", stepped into the role of "President" of R. Fanelle's Sons. While Pete was running the company the City of Camden forced the sale of the property at 2nd and Line Streets for the development of business at the Port (today, that property is vacant).
By 1980 R. Fanelle's Sons was fully operating at 1466 Ferry Avenue.. From the beginning of the 1990's Pete and his son Tom ran the business. Later, Tom bought one hundred percent of the business from his father and his remaining relatives who held shares within the company. He is now the sole owner of R. Fanelle's Sons where he employs approximately thirty people, including his daughter Giovanna and his son Thomas P. Fanelle.
Philadelphia Inquirer - November 11, 1914
|South 3rd Street - Cherry
Norris Street - Penn Street
Harrison Avenue - Alfred Cramer Jr. - Rudolph Detweiler
Charles W. Lang - Frank H. Smith - Mary Facht
G. Frank Travis - Joseph Palese
Rocco Fanelle - Domenico A. Loscalzo
|Camden Courier-Post - January 11, 1938|
the Fanelle Brothers
Daniel is missing, and on the top left is Frank Viggiano, a worker who was employed by the Fanelle's for over fifty years.
|Click on Image to Enlarge - Click Here to Supersize|
|Thanks to Giovanna "Gigi" Fanelle for her help in creating this web-page.|
R. Fanelle's Sons Official Website
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