Oral history interview with Kara O'Connor, Rae Rocca, and Elizabeth Heinrichs
South Madison Neighborhood
Copyright 2021, Kara O'Connor, Rae Rocca, Elizabeth Heinrichs, and Madison Public Library. For more information, contact Madison Public Library.
Oral history interview with Kara O'Connor, Rae Rocca, and Elizabeth Heinrichs. The three women share the story of 1029 Chandler Street in Madison, Wisconsin, a house built by Rae's grandmother and Elizabeth's great-grandmother, an Italian immigrant named Rachel Rocca, in the 1920s. The house stayed in the Rocca family until Kara's family bought it in 2015. Kara talks about discovering a tombstone with engravings in Italian in the basement while renovating the house, and reaching out to Rae to find out more about the tombstone and the family's history. Rae shares that it was a shock to find out the tombstone was in the house all this time. It belonged to her grandfather, Benedict Rocca (1870-1905), who immigrated from Italy and died young at age 35 in Madison. He is now buried alongside his wife and daughter, and Rae, Kara, and Elizabeth discuss theories about where this original tombstone came from. Rae and Elizabeth also share the history of their grandmother who was a young window and single mother; the home she built, which became a fixture in the family and the site of many family memories; and the Italian community in Madison.
Madison Public Library
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