Time and traffic pass by Alfred Ricciuti every day, but they have been
unable to dent his enthusiasm for a dream, an ambition which even Alfred
Ricciuti cannot explain.
is a house at 276 Kensington Ave., a worn down wooden structure which
he has been building anew from flat stone, frosty marble, common railroad
ties and British Columbia cedar.
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going, to have uncovered beams here, six feet across," he predicted.
"And there'll be a sunken garden by that window. I've got a stained
glass window from the Mark Twain house for over there. It's broken, but
I'll fix it, you see."
outside, he explained how be had evolved the design for the house. "I've
taken some African designs which some architects call anachronisms and
remade them. You can say it's early frontier America, with a touch of
Japanese, and Chinese too," Ricuitti claimed.
-Editors note: "Old Al" as people around town new him was a remarkable man. He obtained his masters degree from U.B. in 1931 and as a child he used to come over to my dads house a carry with him the most remarkable Egyptian bell collection. The bells would tinkle and ding and ring with what seemed to be magical qualities. He was a bright personality, full of sparkle and happiness. He brought joy to people wherever he went.
He drove the old #8 main Street NFTA bus route in the 1960's and 1970's, that was the bus I used to take to school. Each day as I saw the bus approach, I used to hope it was him at the wheel. When I saw it was him, I would jump in the very first seat and hold the handrail and listen to him recite poetry or recite some clever anecdote.
I believe his father was a stonemason and Al was trying to follow in his footsteps. Al never go to realize his dream of completing his house, he was robbed and murdered and his house across the street from his 'dream house'. To my knowledge the killer was never caught.
A short time after Old Al's death the city illegally stepped in and tore his 'dream' home down.
Old Al's life to me an many others who knew him meant much more than his project house. He was a character, one that we always were happy to stop and chat with.
was the poet of Main Street.