History of 2nd Street, Ogden, Utah

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“Dago Lane” or “Little Italy”

Posted by weberhistory on November 12, 2010

On the West side of Lynne 2nd Street was called

“Dago Lane” or “Little Italy” by 1905

Location of Italian houses on 2nd Street in Bingham’s Fort;
the dotted-line dirt lane preceeded Wall Ave., winding about from 12th St. to Harrisville.

After  the coming of the railroad five non-Mormon Italian  families and one French family moved to Bingham’s Fort on 2nd Street during the period from the  1880s to 1900 and began farming.  By about 1905 2nd Street was nicknamed “Dago Lane” or “Little Italy”.  The pioneers came for religious freedom; the Italians came for a new life and land.  However, both groups wanted to farm prosperously and secure family values, and these goals helped to unite the new residents and the old residents.

The new immigrants bought old pioneer houses in Bingham’s Fort at a time when others were building  fashionable houses on Washington Ave.  The immigrants were the Bertinotis, the Renos, the Clapiers, the Maeros, the Gentas and the Sullys.   Additional Italian families at Five Points were the Cardons, the Mastronardis, and the Rostans.  Baptista Maero worked for the railroad and John Cardon ran a mill, but the others became farmers, and the community they joined on 2nd Street was a farming community.[1]

The Felix Sully family, c. 1918

The name “Dago Lane” points to prejudice and contempt, and probably there were prejudices and social issues particularly in the 1880s before the end of polygamy and the end of social separation of Mormon and gentiles.  However, in a reminiscent history written in about 1970 by the son of immigrant David Clapier (1870-1939), Archimeade Clapier (1902-1993) gives a friendly  description of the community.  He remembered that there were “some good people with families living at Five Points”, and he named twenty families.  His list of good people included the Italians and the second generation of the Mormon pioneers together.  Most of the families on his list were farmers that farmed together, supporting each other by sharing work, machinery and horses.  He noted that the men who patronized the Five Points saloons were men from Ogden, not the family men at Five Points.[2]Perhaps it was the men from Ogden who coined the name “Dago Lane”.

Look back over the span of fifty years on 2nd Street from 1849 to 1900: gone was the era of colonizing the raw frontier, of invasion from the Johnston’s army and the threat losing their homes.  Gone was the era of high tension between the Mormons and railroad gentiles, of polygamy and the threat of losing statehood.  By 1900 there were three political parties and three churches at Five Points[3]; individual choices of politics and religion were respected.  The uneasy relationship between pioneers and railroad employees had dissipated.  Free education became available in 1890, and in 1896 Utah  achieved statehood.

By 1900 the junction at Five Points had many businesses with electric cars passing each way every few minutes giving that part of the Lynne Community an air of growing importance.[4] The members of the Lynne Literary and Debate Society were young men of various religions who were interested in the arts of debating, public speaking and cultural refinement.   Five Points was mainstream Utah, and the farmers on 2nd Street were a diverse group of both Mormons and gentiles that were becoming united.

[1] Andrew Jensen, History of the Lynne Ward, manuscript, 1893, p.1.

[2] Archimead Clapier, Reminiscent Memories, manuscript, c. 1970, p. 1,2.

[3] Andrew Jensen, History of the Lynne Ward, p. 11, 12.

[4] Ibid, p. 1.

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