The Bright Oak Club on Harrington Road in Mendon, just over the town line, was eventually sold to the Mendon Community Church. It is located off
    of Route 16 (Milford Street) in Mendon, on the Hopedale line.

    It seems that the Italian Club must have been the one on Elmwood Avenue, but I've talked to people who remember it and say that the 1936
    picture above looks like the Bright Oak Club. However, it doesn't seem that that could be true, according to the articles written at the time. The
    Bright Oak Club was opened in 1934. The picture of the Italian Club is dated 1936 and the article says it was north of Mendon Street. Elmwood is
    north of Mendon Street, but the Bright Oak is south of Milford Street in Mendon. I'll keep asking around to see if I can find out more about the two
    places.(See Debbie Mantoni's comment on this, below.)

    I'd love to be able to add to this page, if anyone can send pictures or memories of events there. There's an email link to me on the homepage.

    The following was sent by Debbie Mantoni in June 2012.

    The Bright Oak Club was in Mendon and is now a church.  Many functions were held there through the 1970s; graduation parties, baby / bridal
    showers, dinner dances , bocci matches etc.  

    The Hopedale Italian Club was on Elmwood Ave in Hopedale.  I lived at 12 Elmwood Ave and it was next door.  It was quite a hopping place when
    I was a child.  My Dad, "Minnie" Mantoni, his cousin Louie Mantoni, Al Ambrogi and many others from Hill Street were instrumental in keeping it
    running.  The weekends were pretty lively with porkettas and great Italian dinners hosted there with chef and bartender Mary Zappella  at the

    Here's Joe Leoncini's memory of how the Bright Oak Club got its name:

    My parents came to this country from Italy about 1911. My father, along with his father, had been here earlier and worked at Drapers. He had gone
    back and married and returned. They bought an old farmhouse on the Mendon side of the Hopedale/Mendon town line on Route 16. I was born
    there in 1917. There was a big kitchen where neighbors sometimes gathered. There was a stove in the kitchen that said “Bright Oak” on it. Later
    when the clubhouse was built just past my parents’ property, and the members needed to come up with a name, they named it for the stove they
    used to gather around to talk in the evening.

    And here's more sent by Dave Atkinson at the end of June 2012.

   Hi Dan,

    I have a fond memory of the Bright Oaks Club. It was located very close to the home of Arthur and Louise Sabatinelli and their two kids, Arthur and
    Linda. Arthur was a grade lower than me, but we hung around a lot together. He was very old-acting and had facial hair before any of us. He was
    getting served alcohol long before he came of age. Because he worked with his father in the stone-masonry business in the summers, he knew
    where to go to get beer.

    He brought Peter Martini and I to the Bright Oaks Club and I remember being amazed at not getting carded. We also visited the Polish-American
    club in Uxbridge.

    There was another after-hours place with homemade Italian food down the hill from Art's house on a dead-end street to the left of Route 16. I think
    Mrs. Zappella ran the place and the food was excellent.

    What great memories of law breaking.


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    Bresciani family at a 50th anniversary celebration at the Bright Oak
    Club in 1950.  Thanks to Susan Pagnini for sending the photo.

    The building that formerly housed the Bright Oak
    Club is now the Mendon Community Church.
    Thanks to John Trainor for the photo of the church.

    The site of the former Italian Club on Elmwood Avenue. I was
    assuming that the building across the street, where Lord &
    Son Auto Body is, was formerly the Italian Club. Well, never
    assume know how that line goes. Fortunately
    Wayne Lord was working in his garage when I stopped by to
    take a picture. I told him what I was looking for. He pointed
    across the street and said that's where the club had been. It  
    was in pretty bad shape when he bought his place in 1984 he
    said, and now it's entirely gone.