The sister city relationship between Folsom and Crespano del Grappa would not be coming into reality if it were not for one of Folsom’s prominent – and colorful – former citizens. Giuseppe Murer departed his native Crespano in 1906 to chase dreams in faraway California.
The sister city relationship between Folsom and Crespano del Grappa, Italy, will be based on exchanges in three areas: culture, business/economic development and education. Broadly defined, cultural exchange relates to anything, which is a part of the makeup of a culture: its language, its art, its music, its history, the laws and norms which define day-to-day life. The cultural exchange program might include exchanges of museum exhibits; art exhibits, including those of school children, and home-and-away concerts by the Crespano town band (organized in 1823) and the Folsom High School Jazz Band and Choir.
Educational exchange, put simply, focuses on schools: the students, the teachers, and the administrators. In the sister city relationship with Crespano, opportunities exist from the elementary through high school levels. Exchanges can vary in complexity from simply introducing “pen pals” – perhaps via the Internet – to full student, teacher and administrator exchanges for periods ranging from a few days to an entire academic year.
Business/economic development exchanges offer great potential rewards and equally great potential challenges. Such barriers as international trade laws and taxation can sometimes prove to be hard to surmount. However, an incremental strategy can prove successful, starting simply with the establishment of direct business-to-business linkages and beginning to examine opportunities for business internships and/or trade shows.
On September 29, 2000 the City of Folsom, California and Crespano del Grappa, Italy signed the "Declaration of Friendship" at an official ceremony in Crespano del Grappa and will enter into a Sister City relationship.
History of Giuseppe Murer
Giuseppe Murer was born in Crespano del Grappa, a small town about 40 miles outside of Venice, Italy, on November 15, 1885. At age 12, he was apprenticed to Signor Giuseppe Melchiore as an apprentice in his carpentry and cabinet-maker’s studio. In this studio, Murer mastered cabinet making and finish work.
At the age of 21, Murer immigrated to the United States, arriving at Ellis Island, New York on October 6, 1906 and traveling on to San Francisco to look for work helping to rebuild the city after the 1906 earthquake. Unable to find work, he moved on to Shasta County and eventually arrived in Folsom around 1910. He became a U.S. citizen on September 10, 1910.
Murer worked at various jobs, applying his carpentry and cabinet-making skills. He built the back-bar in the Folsom Hotel which survives to this day. “Joe,” as he became known, eventually bought the Folsom Hotel and went on to design, build and operate other buildings and businesses on Sutter Street including a gas station and garage, the Folsom firehouse (which survives on the north side of the 700 block), and the old Folsom post office at 627 Sutter Street.
Joe acquired the property along Folsom Boulevard in 1921 and by 1925 had expanded his holdings to include four vacant lots and two small wood frame houses which he rented out. In 1925, Joe began building his own home, a simple but well crafted design in the Italianate style of the northern Italy of his youth. Joe was something of a renaissance man, incorporating many modern concepts into his home. The one foot thick, poured concrete walls and tiled roof kept the house comfortable on all but the hottest summer days when he would retreat to the loft room to sleep more comfortably. The house was plumbed for both hot and cold running water even though he did not install a hot water heater until the 1960s. The built-in bureau in the dining room reflects his cabinetry skills and Joe succeeded in having the sewer lines extended to his house for his new indoor plumbing. After completing the house in 1926, Joe built a garage next door to protect his race car.
Giuseppe Murer died in November 1972 at the age of 87. He is buried in St. John’s Catholic Cemetery, just across Folsom Boulevard from his home.
The Murer House will be presented to the public as a living-history museum, capturing the essence, style and charm of the house as it would have appeared in 1926. Both original and representational furnishings, interpretive text and photographs will enhance the visitors’ experience in the house. On-site programs will include Italian language, music and cooking classes, lectures, garden tours and gardening classes, temporary exhibits and a gift shop.
The formal relationship between Folsom and Crespano came together after a visiting Italian researcher, Alessandro Trojani, dropped in on Folsom – and then learned of the life of Giuseppe Murer – when he visited a Folsom History Museum exhibit on the contributions of Italians during the Gold Rush and the Murer House site. You can learn more about Trojani’s research at www.vps.it/california/italians-gold-rush/.
In August 1999, encouraged by Trojani, a Crespano delegation including Mayor Lorenzo Capovilla and council member Michela Belo traveled to Folsom and the Murer House. They marveled at architectural touches from their hometown in Italy clearly visible in some of the buildings on Folsom’s historic Sutter Street. After tours of Intel, Kikkoman and other prominent businesses, the Crespano contingent was feted at a dinner held in Lanza’s Family Italian Restaurant on Sutter Street where Mayor Capovilla suggested that the two communities seek a long-term relationship. In June 2000, Crespano issued a formal invitation to enter into a sister relationship. Soon after, the Folsom City Council approved a proposed Declaration of Friendship to be signed in Crespano del Grappa at an official ceremony to be held September 29, 2000.
Declaration of Friendship
WHEREAS, the citizens of the cities of Crespano, Italy and Folsom, California do mutually agree to establish a Sister City affiliation and Twinship to deepen the friendship and confidence between our countries and to develop a permanent relationship; and
WHEREAS, bonds have been created between the Veneto Region (Italy) and the State of California (U.S.A.) starting from the end of the nineteenth century following the great migration of Italian citizens, in particular from the Mount Grappa area, towards the area of San Francisco and the Gold County; and
WHEREAS, the purpose of this relationship is to further friendship and to contribute to both city’s development by exchanging education and culture, industry and economy, children’s and students’ works, and individuals who are interested in learning and sharing with a country enjoying a different lifestyle and environment;
NOW, THEREFORE, THE MAYORS OF THE CITIES OF FOLSOM AND CRESPANO
DO PROCLAIM the Sister Cities affiliation and Twinship between their communities in accordance with the spirit of the Sister Cities International (S.C.I.), and
DO BELIEVE that this friendship pact will allow, through mutual consultations, to establish new and common relationships with other cities in the surrounding areas.
Signed in Crespano del Grappa (TV), Veneto, Italy, September 29, 2000.
Official Website of Crespano del Grappa