This grinder cart was owned and operated by Italian immigrant Anthony “Tony” Gagliarducci. Like many before him, he relied on his trade skills to make a living in a new country. Gagliarducci started his tool sharpening business in the 1920s, pushing a 250-pound cart through the streets of Southern St. Louis for over 60 years. Gagliarducci worked six days a week and walked 25-30 miles each day, wearing out countless shoes and three homemade grinder carts before the end of his career in 1988.
Tony Gagliarducci was a member of St. Louis’ thriving Italian community. From the 1880s, the newcomers arrived in St. Louis and established a “Little Italy” downtown near other immigrant enclaves. In the early 1900s, Italian residents formed a new neighborhood southwest of “Little Italy” called The Hill, and by the mid-twentieth century, most Italian families had relocated to the Hill. Many in the Italian community traced their roots to Cuggiono in Lombardia, which helped develop a strong sense of shared heritage, stability, and collective identity. Over the years, residents established important cultural institutions. One of them, the St. Ambrose Catholic Church has provided a community center and beacon of leadership for the community. These community landmarks have enabled The Hill and St. Louis’ Italian community to survive the test of time.
Creator: Gagliarducci, Anthony
Subject: Italian Americans;
Contributing Institution: Missouri Historical Society
Accession Number: 1988-104-0001
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Region: St. Louis Metro