STEUBENVILLE – The Spot Bar in Steubenville is the go-to spot for Dean Martin fans looking to take some home with them on Saturday “King of Coolness” memorabilia.
And her purchases at an auction at 217 S. Fourth St. from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. will help make possible what Rose Angelica described as a goal from the very beginning when the Dean Martin Festivals began years ago — a statue of Steubenville to erect native son.
“I’m using much of my collection over the past 25 years to donate to the auction to help build the Dean Martin statue.” explained Angelica, the founder and former chair of the Dean Martin Festival.
Angelica is part of a committee organized to raise $80,000 for the erection of a life-size bronze statue of Martin in Fort Steuben Park along Third Street. It will be placed next to the historic bronze marker already on the site, with the aim of unveiling it at the Dean Martin Hometown celebration in 2023.
However, the road from here to there is paved with the need for Saturday auction purchases or direct donations anytime.
“I have to start something with this” Angelica said about her collection. “It’s better if it goes to a good cause. i have many things You will be surprised how many signed pictures of movie stars I have. I have loads of stuff that they sent me over the years or when they were here for the festival and signed a lot of autographs like Regis (Philbin) and other people of that kind who came. They signed everything when they were here, so I have a lot of stuff.
“I’m glad to use it for something so positive because we’ve wanted to put up a statue since day one. When we started the festival in 1996, Dom Mucci (former mayor of Steubenville) and I wanted to put up a statue. Well, we couldn’t come up with the money, so we helped paint the mural.” Angelica said, referring to the Dean Martin mural on the side of the Kroger store in Hollywood City Center.
According to Angelica, who retired as festival chair after Martin’s 100th birthday in 2017 to work on her own music and moved to Florida, the festival’s money also helped secure the bronze marker at the fort. An award-winning country music entertainer, Angelica said she was “lie low” since the pandemic, which forced the cancellation of shows and festivals she was scheduled to perform at. She said she’ll be staying in the area through October, when it’s time to perform at major festivals in Branson, Missouri and Nashville.
The former Mingo Junction resident was contacted earlier this year by former Steubenville resident Gerald Ravasio of Baton Rouge, La., who came up with the idea, and Flora VerStraten-Merrin, the media chair of the committee Ravasio led, to be part of the statue effort to be . This led to Zoom meetings with other committee members, including Steubenville Mayor Jerry Barilla; Paul Zuros, managing director of historic Fort Steuben; Mary Ann Freeze, owner of Prodigal Daughter Treasures and Trinkets in downtown Steubenville; Willie Paul, Councilor for the 5th Ward of Steubenville; and volunteers Linda and Roger Hilty. Angelica, who chaired the Dean Martin Festival Committee and Scholarship Fund for 21 years, and Jo Jo DiAlbert, owner of Spot Bar, where Dean Martin Festival events are a fixture, are advisors.
“We decided to search my collection”, Angelica said of the auction being conducted by Cedar One Realty. “I said listen I have a lot of stuff and I’d like to donate it to the statue because that’s a project we wanted to do from day one and we never did, so I’m glad we did that to use for something positive for dino, and most of it is dino stuff. I have autographs from other stars and stuff from friends of his and from people who really liked him, but I have some really great stuff, some rare stuff, and I think people are going to enjoy it, you know, buy it, and you can enjoy it now because I’ve been enjoying it for 25 years and now it’s your turn.”
One of those estimated 50 tracks is a box set by Dean Martin containing every song he has ever recorded on CD.
“It comes with a beautiful book, and it’s a real rare piece.” said Angelica. “They only made a few hundred of these and I have that for auction. The original cost was probably $500 when it came out and they didn’t print that many because it was so expensive. I was lucky enough to get one, so it’s going to be auctioned, that’s special.”
“We have the famous ‘Ocean’s 11’ poster signed by Sid Avery, the photographer who took the picture.” She said. “He was the photographer of Hollywood back then. He was very famous in Hollywood and the first few years that we started the festival he personally sent me a bunch of these autographed posters of ‘Ocean’s 11’, this famous pose of all (Rat Pack) guys, and the in California and Vegas framed ones sell for $2,000 each because he has since passed away and a photographer’s work is art.
“It’s a beautiful piece. It’s on great paper, really thick paper and it’s just beautiful and I’m going to put up 10 of these and I’m hoping to get some good money on them and then I have 10 each of Dean Martin/Frank Sinatra lithographs that I got years ago, we never sold them. They were in my basement and there are only 295 of them and they are all numbered so I will put 10 of each. They’re really beautiful pieces, they’re framed, they’re beautiful.” She added.
“We have the Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts, the complete box with all 57 roasts.” Angelica continued. “When they aired these on TV, they were $10 a piece, so that’s $570 worth of film right there. i have them all They are all in a really nice box with a book and it’s really a nice collection if that’s something you like to collect or if you want to look at them again. It’s hilarious entertainment – really funny.
“And I have some of Dean Martin’s shows on DVD for sale and sheet music of some of his greatest hits, film stills that they used to put in theater windows and a whole bunch of pictures from his show from NBC Studios and on on the back is a typed synopsis of who’s in there with him and what the show was about.” She said.
The auction is aimed at fans, collectors or anyone interested in seeing a statue of the entertainer who was born Dino Crocetti on June 7, 1917 in Steubenville. Angelica anticipates that among the attendees will be residents of Pittsburgh and Cleveland who have flocked to the festival over the years.
“There are collectors out there” She said.
“I think we have a good chance of raising $5,000 to $10,000.” Angelica assessed the potential of the auction. Only cash and checks are accepted.
“Hopefully we can raise the money and make it happen. He has many fans. People don’t know how tall this guy was.” She said.
Angelica said there are no statues of Dean Martin except for one in Las Vegas at the country club where he used to play golf.
“Hoboken (NJ) put one up for Frank Sinatra last year, Canonsburg has one for Perry Como and Hopalong Cassidy has one in Cambridge, so it’s only right that Dino gets his statue.” said Angelica.
“It should have been long ago” She said.
“We invite everyone to come along. Entry is free. We would like to see people at all events.” she said of Dean Martin’s entire celebration, which runs today through Saturday.
Donations for the statue can be accepted in a number of ways. Online payment (Paypal/credit card) can be accessed at oldfortsteuben.com and select donations. Scroll down and select/click “Dean Martin Statue” and make a donation or mail a check to Historic Fort Steuben, 120 S. Third St., Steubenville, OH 43952. Make checks payable to Old Fort Steuben Inc “Dean Martin Statue” in the marker line. The committee accepts cash donations during the Dean Martin Hometown Celebration on Friday and Saturday. It will have a booth in Fort Steuben Park.
Any organization, company, or group interested in donating $1,000 or more for the bronze statue can contact Zuros at the visitor center. Those who donate $1,000 or more will have a paving stone installed with their name/business/organization name on the paving stone the statue will sit on.
According to VerStraten-Merrin, its administrator, a Facebook group was set up to promote the project and raise funds. It can be found at Dean Martin Hometown Statue (Fund Raiser).
The statue of Martin will be life-size, 6 feet tall and is expected to assume a pose similar to that on the Hollywood City Center mural.