Salvatore Tufo left for America in the late 1890s. His wife, Maria, and their children stayed behind in their hometown of Verbicaro, located in the Southern part of Italy. Soon after arriving in New York, Salvatore heard about the opportunities that San Francisco had to offer Italian immigrants. He bought a train ticket, moved to the Golden Coast, found a place to live, and opened a shoe shining business on the streets of San Francisco. Just like that, Salvatore was succeeding as a true American entrepreneur. By 1903, he had sent enough money home to move the rest of the family out to California. They travelled in third or fourth class on the boat and train carrying little more than the clothes on their back. In 1904, my great grandfather James A. Tufo was born in San Francisco. In 1906, though, the Great Earthquake struck the city. The subsequent fire that consumed 80% of the city destroyed the Tufos’ new home and all of their belongings. Due to the fire, my family does not have any objects that remain from Italy or from the early days in San Francisco. But in the 1950s, James bought a tweed overcoat from the, since closed, Hale’s Department Store on Market Street opposite Powell. The coat was then handed from my great grandfather, James, to my father, Steven Pardella, before Steve left for a business trip to Chicago one winter in the 80s. My father, then handed it down to me when I left for college in New York. It has since kept me warm with the proof of the American Dream.
– Douglas Pardella