Nazzareno Meloccaro

Inducted: 2023
Born: 1903 - Died:

Nazzareno Meloccaro, the son of Luigi and Giovannina Meloccaro, was born into humble beginnings in Pontecorvo, Italy on February 23, 1903. He came to Rhode Island in 1920 where he found employment as a carpenter. The young enterprising Meloccaro in his spare time soon began the study of blueprint reading and elementary architecture; within three years’ time he was in business for himself as a contractor.
Melocarro found his niche by building affordable homes for the emerging middle class. His forte was buying large tracts of undeveloped land and developing them into communities. His early endeavors resulted in the development of Oak Hill Terrace and Roger Williams Terrace, both in Cranston, Rhode Island.

In the aftermath of World War II, the introduction of the GI Bill made homebuying a reality for many returning veterans. This coupled with the development of new roads and highways made commuting to work more achievable which resulted in many America families moving from urban to suburban living. These changes afforded Meloccaro the opportunity to undertake the development of Garden City, his first large scale community project. Today Garden City consist of more than eight hundred homes, apartments, a church, school and Rhode Island’s first suburban shopping center. Undaunted by this enormous development he next undertook the development of Garden Hills; but his life was soon cut short in
1955, at just 52 years of age, by a heart attack he suffered while driving. The final development of Garden Hill would fall to his son N. Robert to complete.

Meloccaro was a true entrepreneur and one of the first visionaries in the country to anticipate the shift to suburban living. His efforts still have a direct impact on suburban living and shopping for thousands of Rhode Island families. In 1926 he married Susan Ronzio of Providence; together they had three children, Robert, Elenore, Claire and Susan.

Nazzareno was a director of the National Home Builders Association and a member of the Rhode Island Home Builders Association, the Cranston Chamber of Commerce, the Rhode Island’s Police Chief’s Association, the Cranston Lions Club and the Italo- American Club of Rhode Island. He was also a founding member of the Alpine Country Club. Meloccaro was president of Old Colony Homes, Inc. and Garden City Apartments; he was honorary chairman of Garden City Shopping Center Association.

After a requiem Mass, appropriately at St. Mark’s Church in Garden City, Nazzareno was buried in St. Ann’s Cemetery, Cranston.

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