New Castle, Delaware
Community History and Archaeology Program 

Oral History: John (Giovanni) Gambacorta

Anyone traveling south on River Rd (Rte 9) in New Castle has seen one of the various Gambacorta auto businesses. These are the stuff of the American Dream: a young immigrant arrives, starts a family, builds a business and becomes a citizen . His wife Ida took a citizenship class with the concluding remarks: "Will make a good citizen". But, documents don't tell the whole story. As show in the video, John Gambacorta was a warm, lively and engaging person.
Video filmed by Harry Keyser in 1984 with a grant from the Trustees of New Castle Common

John (Giovanni) Gambacorta was born as in Teramo, Italy in 1899. He came to New York in 1923, then to New Castle. Initially he worked as a press man making 'artificial silk' at Delaware Rayon next to Deemer Beach. Times were hard, and he walked the 3 miles to save the 10 cent trolley fare. Along the way in 1929, he saw through high weeds a sign for a garage and some land for sale. For $20 down, he bought the property with the goal of using his automotive skills, although initially it was used for making concrete blocks. Then he started to buy and sell cars, "little by little. But that's the way".

Documents and video courtesy Henry Gambacorta

Jim Meek '08