New Castle News

September 25, 2012

Historical Society honors Clavelli family

Nancy Lowry
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — The generosity of the Joseph A. Clavelli family was recognized at the annual Lawrence County Historical Society dinner dance.

In 1982, the Clavelli family donated their home on Jefferson Street hill to the Historical Society to be transformed to a local history museum.

The historic 19-room landmark mansion was built in 1904 by industrialist George Greer, founder of New Castle’s tin mills.

Clavelli, who founded the New Castle School of Trades, bought the deteriorated mansion in 1965 and spent three years restoring it. He died three months after he and his wife, Margaret, moved in.

The family donated the house to the Historical Society in memory of the man who recognized its importance as a landmark.

Now known as the Joseph A. Clavelli History Center, the house has given the historical society a public identity and a major presence in the landscape of New Castle.

 The Cascade Park dance pavilion, the setting of the annual dance, was decorated with blue and white balloons, the school colors of the New Castle School of Trades.

Historical society president Paul Lynch presented a plaque to Joseph L. Clavelli and Victoria Clavelli Lauro, children of Joe and Margaret Clavelli.

In accepting the plaque, Clavelli detailed his father’s path from humble inventor of a metal polish, developed for the fire engines housed on Sciota Street, to the establishment of the New Castle School of Trades in 1944.

His daughter, Kim, — Joseph A. Clavelli’s granddaughter — said putting family, fairness, community, and integrity first were the principles underlying the family’s business successes.

A power point program showing family pictures and businesses was presented by Victoria's daughter, Lindy Lauro.

Lynch also presented a plaque honoring former executive director Beverly Zona, who died this summer. The plaque was unveiled by Mrs. Zona’s daughter, Christine, and will be displayed in the mansion.

This was the sixth annual dinner dance sponsored by the society to recognize individuals who made a difference in the history of the Society and Lawrence County. The event was coordinated by society board member Lorraine Petrus.

Past honorees have been past society president and current county commissioner Robert DelSignore; past Society president and chief archivist, Dr. Robert Waddington; past society president and community leader Arthur Zarone; Zona as former executive director; and former publisher of the New Castle News, J. Fred Rentz.

Previously the society honored Dr. Ellis Hoffman who worked to revive the historical society; Richard and Joanne Mayberry who dedicated many volunteer hours to reactivating the society, and photo historian John Hitch who donated the extensive photograph archives now housed at the society.