Vincenzo Pietro Chiodo (1869-1949), Builder-Architect
Vincenzo Pietro Chiodo was born 1869 in Calabria, Italy. He arrived in Omaha at the age of 16 with his brothers Michele, Carmelo, and Lorenzo in 1885 and attended the Philip School of Design in Chicago, where he learned the trade of ladies’ tailor. He then worked for Abbott Brothers, Cunan & Company, and in the late 1890s started his own business which he continued through 1919. By 1906 he had become secretary of the Omaha Italian Club; a decade later he carried out his “master stroke,” purchasing the old county jail and courthouse, then importing skilled masons from Italy who re-used the materials to build the Florentine, Carpathia, Leone, and Chiodo Apartments. In 1920 was considered Omaha’s only Italian millionaire. The same year he was listed in the federal census with no occupation. Chiodo's son, Vincent Pietro Chiodo, Jr., was listed as a draftsman for the city of Omaha, the city where he was born. He was an Elk and a 4th degree Knight of Columbus. After the Great Depression he was named Italian Vice Consul in Omaha, State Supreme Deputy of the Sons of Italy, Knight of the House of Savoy, and Cavalier of the Order of St. Gregory. He died September 24, 1949 at the age of 80.
NOTE: Chiodo was the head of a building and real estate business following his work as a tailor; since he hired Italian masons to build his first apartments, and since he clearly had no formal building education or experience, we should see Chiodo as the brains and the money behind the enterprise, not the builder himself. The designs for his more unique work may be a combination of Italian vernacular influences, with perhaps a bit of local creativity, but since it is emerging that other architects were responsible for some designs, the term “architect” may not apply to Chiodo either. Add to that his son was a draftsman for the City of Omaha (a role played earlier by Kvenild, one of his architects). It could be that the attribution of “V. Chiodo” as architect on building permits actually refers to his son, V. Chiodo.
Educational & Professional Associations
1891-____: Philip School of Design, Chicago, Illinois.
1900-1915: Ladies’ Tailoring and Dressmaking, Omaha, Nebraska.
1916-1927: (no directories available).
1928-1930: Real Estate.
Buildings & Projects
V. Chiodo dwelling house (1913), 1011 S 26th, Omaha, Nebraska.[1:69] (DO09:0205-034)
V. Chiodo dwelling house (1913), 1019 S 26th, Omaha, Nebraska.[1:69] (DO09:0205-035)
V. Chiodo dwelling house (1913), 1021 S 26th, Omaha, Nebraska.[1:69] (DO09:0205-036)
V. Chiodo dwelling house (1915), 1010 S 25th, Omaha, Nebraska.[1:64] (DO09:0205-059)
V. Chiodo dwelling house (1920), 1020 S 25th Ave, Omaha. Nebraska.[1:69] (DO09:0205-042)
V. Chiodo dwelling house (1921), 1012 S 25th Ave, Omaha, Nebraska.[1:66] (DO09:0205-039)
V. Chiodo dwelling house (1921), 1014 S 25th Ave, Omaha, Nebraska.[1:65] (DO09:0205-040)
V. Chiodo dwelling house (1921), 1018 S 25th Ave, Omaha, Nebraska.[1:65] (DO09:0205-041)
Chiodo double house (1925), 913 S 25th St., Omaha, Nebraska. (DO09:0205-007)
“La Perdita de un Buon Cittadino e di un Ottimo, Sincero Amico,” American Citizen (October 3, 1949), 1.
a. Credited as builder.
b. Credited as builder-architect.
c. Sold and renamed the Lancaster Apartments in 1932.
d. Built from re-used cobblestone pavers.
e. F. W. Kreele, Architect.
f. Omaha Building Permit 1432, December 14, 1916, gives Chiodo as builder, and Birger J. Kvenild as architect.
g. Omaha Building Permit 630, April 15, 1924, gives Chiodo as builder, and Birger J. Kvenild as architect.
1. Landmarks, Inc., An Inventory of Historic Omaha Buildings (Omaha: City of Omaha, and Landmarks Heritage Preservation Commission, 1980).
2. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
3. City of Omaha Planning Department, Landmarks Heritage Preservation Commission, Database, Query on Architects, May 20, 2002; courtesy of Lynn Meyer, Preservation Planner.
4. H. W. Becker, “V. P. Chiodo had charisma,” Omaha Sun Newspapers (October 10, 1974), 11A.
5. Penelope Chatfield Sodhi, “The Leone, Florentine, and Carpathia Apartment Buildings [PDF],” National Register of Historic Places, Inventory-Nomination Form (Lincoln: Nebraska State Historical Society, March 1984), Online
6. Omaha Building Permit 1192, May 6, 1925, gives Chiodo as builder, and no architect.
7. United States Federal Census, 1920, Omaha, Nebraska, lists a Vincent Chiodo, Jr. living in the Vincent Chiodo household; note especially that his occupation was draftsman for the City of Omaha.
D. Murphy, “Vincenzo Pietro Chiodo (1869-1949), Builder-Architect,” in David Murphy, Edward F. Zimmer, and Lynn Meyer, comps. Place Makers of Nebraska: The Architects. Lincoln: Nebraska State Historical Society, April 11, 2012. http://www.e-nebraskahistory.org/index.php?title=Place_Makers_of_Nebraska:_The_Architects Accessed, April 1, 2020.
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