Initially established as a social club for people of Italian descent, the Verdi Club hosted member events, such as banquets, dances and picnics. In the late 1920s, the club formed both a soccer and baseball team. The Verdi Club’s soccer team played in the San Francisco Football League and its baseball team played in the Funston League.
Today, it is known in the city for hosting generational celebrations, emerging bands, weddings, spoken word, ballroom dancing revival events and so much more.
Over the Years
It was during the early part of this year that a group of Italian – American men, led by George Gaggetti, met in the back of a barber shop at 24th and Vermont Street, to lay out plans for the founding of the club. Mr. Gaggetti presided at the meeting and was elected president. The first initiation was held a few days later, over 50 members were accepted. With increasing membership, the Verdi Club moved from the back room of the barber shop, to a small hall on 24th and Folsom Street.
The club once again outgrew its space and moved to their own building on 26th Street near Alabama.
The Verdi soccer team after one session in the second division, entered the San Francisco Football League first division and became one of the most publicized teams.
The publicity received in newspapers made the club ever more popular, and by this time over 400 had joined. This created a problem. The building was too small. Plans were made to build a suitable club.
In the next few months, after the opening of the new building, over 500 members joined. The soccer team became known as one of the best in California, winning many titles, as did the baseball team. Many of the famous baseball stars got their start in the club, in the Funston League, including Joe DiMaggio. When Joe graduated to the majors, it was the Verdi Club that sponsored the DiMaggio Day at Seals Stadium.
World boxing champions, Young Corbett and Tony Canzoneri, made the Verdi Club their training headquarters as well. Boxing and wrestling exhibitions became monthly attractions.
A women’s rooting section for sporting events, known as the Verdiettes, was also organized. The local dailies ran stories about the activities of this active group, which was one of the most colorful in local sports.
Bowling teams for both sexes were added to the athletic section.
Membership to the club was reopened in order to fill the vacancies created by the war years.
Dinner dances, barn dances, picnics and barbecues were some of the many activities of the club. Meetings were held every Monday evening.
The war years found the club struggling to stay in sports and continue its social activities. It was then that 30 members took over the club and financed it, so that the building would remain in the possession of the club. Offices were built on the mezzanine floors and rented out to various unions and associations.
Member dues were $12 a year until the 1980s. The club expanded to 120 members and all were vested. Membership was closed unless someone passed away.
There was no liquor license and all drinks were included.
The club formed a bowling league for its members. The teams had both men and women.
The club was opened to associate members. At this time, 80% of the club’s members were Italian and worked for Scavenger.
One of the more memorable themed dances was a western dance where club raffled off a goat and a duck.
Line dancing to the song “Elvira” by the Oak Ridge Boys becomes a part of every Verdi Club dinner dance.
Tuesday Night Jump (Swing) was in full swing.
Award winning Chef Sean Gawel signs on as the official chef at The Verdi Club.
Porchlight Storytelling Series, now a popular San Francisco-based podcast, starts to perform monthly.
Bill Magidson becomes the most senior member to become president.
Bawdy Storytelling happens monthly at the Verdi Club.
The club opens membership to women for the first time..
Verdi Club gives back to the community through food and toy drives for local families.
Delores Homisak makes history and is celebrated as the Verdi Club’s first female president:
Woman Quietly Takes Helm of 103-Year-Old Club in SF” San Francisco Chronicle
In May, “Verdi To Go” Friday Night Family Dinners are launched. The weekly take-out program, orchestrated by long-standing Chef Sean Gawel and Club Manager Jason Mulvaney, supports members by providing handcrafted meals that can be ordered then picked up at the club. It is open to the public and becomes very popular!
1933-1934 ~ The Verdi soccer team following one season in the second division, entered the San Francisco Football League first division, and became one of the most publicized teams. Winning many titles, the soccer team was one of the best in California.
After his stint with the San Francisco Seals, it was time for Joe Dimaggio to pack up and head for the East Coast to begin his career with the New York Yankees. As a gesture for his service and showcasing his talent to fans, the Verdi Club of San Francisco presented Joe with a travelling bag, a hat and other gifts. The picture was taken on July 21, 1935, when Joe was 20 years old
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2424 Mariposa St. San Francisco, CA 94110