Discuss Detroit Archives - January 2008 CACALUPO - Italian Eastside Neighborhood Previous Next
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Eriedearie
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Username: Eriedearie

Post Number: 372
Registered: 08-2007
Posted on Friday, December 14, 2007 - 3:00 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I remember reading a thread where someone wondered what name the Italians gave to an Eastside Detroit location. They thought that perhaps it had something to do with where the streetcar looped around. I've searched the archives and cannot find that thread. I had heard the expression before but could not remember it. Therefore, I asked an old friend that I went to school with in that area. So, if the question was not answered in that previous thread...here's the name of the area and the two explanations that my Italian friend gave me:

Oh Yes! The neighborhood we lived in bordered by Gratiot-Harper-Van Dyke-Erwin was referred to by the Italians, and later by others as Cacalupo. The first explanation and most believable, especially by me is Cacalupo was derived from the Car Loop (streetcar turnaround) which was at Gratiot and Harper. That is how Cacalupo got it's nickname and it still remains when Italians meet up and reminisce. I must say almost all Italians living in the eastside suburbs connect somehow back to that famous neighborhood CACALUPO.

The second explanation is that in the early days when most Italians lived in downtown Detroit, mostly around Fort street, it was said that when "paisans" reached some success and moved to a more upscale community, namely Gratiot & Harper that they were going to Cacalupo, where the car loops, or where the wolf shits! The wolf is known to go far out into the woods to do his business, "Number 2", "dump", "lay a log" or "pinch a loaf", whichever you choose, therefor again, "Where yo go..... CACALUPO?

Paul, the Cacalupo Historian.
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Lowell
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Username: Lowell

Post Number: 4364
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Friday, December 14, 2007 - 3:45 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I had this conversation this summer with a group of old school eastside Italian-American guys who hang out at the St. Clair Shores handball courts.

"Which is right - CarGoLoopa or CacaLupa?", I asked.

All of them said unhesitatingly, "Both."

Kind of like another famous IA, Yogi Berra, who said, "When you come to a fork in the road, take it."
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Swingline
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Username: Swingline

Post Number: 978
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Friday, December 14, 2007 - 4:12 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I've only heard the CarGoLoopa term.
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Bobj
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Username: Bobj

Post Number: 3353
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Friday, December 14, 2007 - 5:37 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Never heard of any of this, very interesting story
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Joken
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Username: Joken

Post Number: 30
Registered: 04-2007
Posted on Friday, December 14, 2007 - 5:42 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

yes it was cacalupa, and it did refer to the street car barns even though they didnt pronounce it that way. grew up there and went to pat. of st.joe, many fond memories.
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Eriedearie
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Username: Eriedearie

Post Number: 378
Registered: 08-2007
Posted on Friday, December 14, 2007 - 7:34 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Joken - when did you go to the Patronage? I have many friends that attended there. Friends from the mid 50's to mid 60's that I still keep in touch with. We went to a lot of dances at St. Joe and of course plenty of wedding ceremonies. The kind of wedding that started early in the morning and all the guests went to the wedding breakfast in a big hall (usually Roma Hall). Everyone went home and rested and then attended the reception at the same hall. Yes, many fond memories of that neighborhood.
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Silas
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Username: Silas

Post Number: 12
Registered: 12-2007
Posted on Friday, December 14, 2007 - 10:17 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I remember talking to an old-timer about Cacalupo. He said the Streetcar looped around where I94 and Gratiot meet.
He told me a story about when he was young, his mother sent him to the Eastern Market to buy a live chicken for dinner. On his way home on the streetcar the chicken got loose. Everyone on the streetcar pitched in to catch it. It took some doing, but it was caught.
It was the subjects at dinner that night they all laughed about.
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Formerspringgardener
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Username: Formerspringgardener

Post Number: 73
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Friday, December 14, 2007 - 10:21 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

My grandparents and great aunt lived right across the street from Patronage on Georgia until the early 60's.
It was a nice quiet Italian neighborhood back then.
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Joken
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Username: Joken

Post Number: 31
Registered: 04-2007
Posted on Sunday, December 16, 2007 - 8:48 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

went to school at pat. of st. joe. from 1948 to 1956. than i went to cass tech. loved st joe. father desantis knew every kid in that school by name and there parents. i lived on milner across from leo crimandos store.
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Whithorn11446
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Username: Whithorn11446

Post Number: 171
Registered: 03-2007
Posted on Monday, December 17, 2007 - 12:31 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hey Joken,
I don't have permission to mention names on here but you may have known one of my relatives (uncle by marriage). He lived on Milner until 1974. If you have an e-mail account I am willing to let you know who it was. He worked at J.L. Hudson's downtown as a tailor and had nieces and nephews that attended Patronage.
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Valkyrias
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Username: Valkyrias

Post Number: 497
Registered: 02-2005
Posted on Monday, December 17, 2007 - 4:43 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

i was the one who posted the caga loop story. it took me awhile, but i found it in the archives:

https://www.atdetroit.net/forum/mes sages/62684/88908.html
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Valkyrias
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Username: Valkyrias

Post Number: 498
Registered: 02-2005
Posted on Monday, December 17, 2007 - 4:55 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

silas...any relation to the restaurant on 12 mile in berkley?
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Eriedearie
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Username: Eriedearie

Post Number: 409
Registered: 08-2007
Posted on Monday, December 17, 2007 - 5:08 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Thanks Valkyrias - I knew I read it somewhere on this site. The name haunted me till I got in touch with my friend the Cacalupo Historian.

Sure wish I had seen that documentary. I hope it will air again.

Gosh, don't you just love reading about Detroit's history? So full of interesting stories about people that just go about their daily lives.
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Junejazz
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Username: Junejazz

Post Number: 2
Registered: 10-2007
Posted on Monday, December 17, 2007 - 5:42 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hello all,

Always heard my dad, aunts, and grandparents refer to the old neighborhood as 'Cacalupa'. I've seen posts on other eastside 'hoods', and wondered where were the Gratiot/Knodell/Traverse street folks...

I never lived in his area, but my family, The McKinleys, were one of the few families of color who did..along with the Wesleys. The Italian influence has been such a part of our family, among that being the music my grandfather played: Perry Como, Mario Lanza, Louie Prima, Dean Martin and such, exposing us to music outside of R/B, Jazz.. My grandfather gained serious pool skills at the pool hall across the street from their home. I recently met the guy (Frank) whose dad owned it. There's the connection between me and Frank..

I am so grateful for the exposure to diversity that my family gained from living in 'Cacalupa', 'CarGoLoopa' however you choose to say it..Grandpa gave us the same story...streetcar looped around at Harper, hence the name..

ps. Grandpa was a Gratiot streetcar driver (DSR)
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Eriedearie
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Username: Eriedearie

Post Number: 412
Registered: 08-2007
Posted on Monday, December 17, 2007 - 8:43 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Junejazz: 1st and foremost, welcome to the forum!

And oh yes - Traverse Street! I had an aunt & uncle and cousins that lived on that street. They were closer to Van Dyke though. I think the tax man that my parents used lived on the corner of Knodell and Erwin. It was a beautiful brick home. One of my aunts pronounced Knodell as "K Noodle". We would laugh and tell her the "K" was silent. She would always reply "Well, why is it there then"? Gee, I hadn't thought about that in years. Thanks for the memory.
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Silas
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Username: Silas

Post Number: 19
Registered: 12-2007
Posted on Monday, December 17, 2007 - 9:44 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Valkyrias
None.
What kind of restaurant is it?
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Kathleen
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Username: Kathleen

Post Number: 2659
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Tuesday, December 18, 2007 - 6:41 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The restaurant on 12 Mile in Berkley is called Sila or Sila's. Basically known for their pizza and various Italian dishes.
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Kathleen
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Username: Kathleen

Post Number: 2660
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Tuesday, December 18, 2007 - 6:50 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

My father-in-law (first-generation American born of Italian immigrant parents) grew up on French Rd. very close to where I-94 cuts through. Both his childhood home and their parish church San Francesco were demolished for the I-94 construction. When Dave and I first started dating, his grandfather and a number of other Italian relatives and friends were still alive, and the term "Cah-go-lup-ay" which was described as an Italian phrase for Car Go Loop, or the streetcar turnaround at Gratiot and Harper, was often mentioned in their stories.
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Joken
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Username: Joken

Post Number: 32
Registered: 04-2007
Posted on Tuesday, December 18, 2007 - 9:38 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

pat. of st. joe was the heart and soul of the area. harper to french & gratiot to erwin. delivered the free press in that whole area,before school in the morning. at night and weekends i set pins at rainbow rec. and cleaned the grease pit at the sinclair station next door. loved that neighborhood.
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Lowell
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Username: Lowell

Post Number: 4371
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Tuesday, December 18, 2007 - 9:39 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I've become convinced this is Detroit's version of the to-may-toe / to-mah-toe debate.

My speculation is that it originally was car-go-loopa, Italianized version for the predominance of the street car loop in this Italian-American immigrant heartland neighborhood. However, the Italians, who possibly have the greatest sense of humor [particularly off color] of any ethnic group, soon seized on the near sounding words to evolve it to cacalupo. Perhaps, as this old neighborhood declined, this was reinforced by more successful 'uppity' descendants who put down the old hood. The notion that wolves were ever there to do their thing, at least in the era of the Detroit-Italian influx, is absurd. They would have been gone from southeast Michigan by then.

And that and a $1.62 will get you a cup of espresso.

-Lowell, amateur linguist, anthropologist and naturalist. :-)
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Junejazz
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Username: Junejazz

Post Number: 3
Registered: 10-2007
Posted on Tuesday, December 18, 2007 - 3:27 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Eriedearie,

Thanks for the welcome and I'm happy to finally contribute to this site! The energy, passion, and commitment demonstrated here is fascinating.

Glad to contribute a pleasant memory and glad to represent. I look forward to adding my two cents...before or after tax.

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