The Zitiello Bank, located at 6810 Herman Avenue, was the earliest known ethnic bank opened in the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood.
The bank was founded by Joseph Zitiello, an immigrant from the Campania region of Italy who came to Cleveland in 1898. Joseph was just one of several members of the Zitiello family who by 1910 had purchased homes on West 69th Street. As was customary with Italian immigrants, a number of the Zitiellos were proprietors of small businesses that were operated out of their homes. Joseph ran a butcher shop. Luigi was a saloon keeper. Pasquale was the neighborhood grocer.
By 1910, Joseph Zitiello had achieved financial success as a butcher and began to engage in private banking. In 1916, he built the Zitiello Bank building on the corner of West 69th and Herman Avenue. In 1920, Zitiello, who by this time was known as the "King of the Italian Colony" on the west side of Cleveland, incorporated the Zitiello Bank. Later, the Zitiello Bank opened a branch office on Fulton Road. In 1929, while at this branch office, Joseph Zitiello was shot by several assailants who were attempting to rob the bank. Zitiello returned their fire, chasing the would-be robbers from his bank.
The Zitiello Bank, like many small banks, was forced to close during the Great Depression. Even so, the Zitiello family remained in the neighborhood, contributing both to the community and to their new country. In 1967, Ronald J. Zitiello, an American soldier and grandchild of one of the original Zitiello immigrants from Italy, was killed in the Vietnam War. A memorial garden dedicated to his memory is located in the neighborhood.
More than one hundred years have passed since the first Zitiello immigrants from the Campania region of Italy came to Cleveland and settled on West 69th Street. Today, a number of descendants of those original immigrants still live on West 69th Street, helping to anchor the ongoing revitalization of this old Cleveland neighborhood.