Thoughts on the Origins of Pizzerias in America and Chicago

Join us on Thursday February 11, 2021 via Zoom.

Image collage by Peter Regas

Presented by Peter Regas
PizzaHistoryBook.com

In the past, the historical consensus was the first licensed pizzeria in America was opened in 1905 at 53 Spring St. in New York City by of a young Italian immigrant named Gennaro Lombardi. However, in 2019 at the U.S. Pizza Museum in Chicago, Peter Regas challenged that consensus with a talk titled “Filippo Milone and the Forgotten Pizza Makers of New York City.” Continue reading

Sweet Greeks: First-Generation Immigrant Confectioners in the Heartland

Presented by Ann Flesor Beck
Author and Candy Maker

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Gus Flesor came to the United States from Greece in 1901. His journey led him to Tuscola, Illinois, where he learned the confectioner’s trade and opened a business that still stands on Main Street. Sweet Greeks sets the story of Gus Flesor’s life as an immigrant in a small town within the larger history of Greek migration to the Midwest. Continue reading

When Potato Fields were Prisons: Unfree Farm Labor in McHenry County during World War II

Presented Samuel Klee, Ph.D. candidate
(Program in conjunction with the Highland Park Historical Society)

During World War II, some farmers in Marengo, Illinois negotiated with a large food corporation and federal agencies to make local farm fields into restricted, prison-like spaces. When the Curtiss Candy Company brought Japanese-Americans from the Tule Lake Internment Camp in California to cultivate and pick potatoes in 1943, the Marengo community struggled with the federal government and the candy company to eliminate the outsiders’ presence.

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