Joseph Carabelli was a noted sculptor, community leader and elected official in Cleveland, Ohio in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Carabelli was born in April 1850, in Porto Ceresio, Italy. When he was twenty years old, Carabelli immigrated to the United States and initially settled in New York, New York. He spent the next decade as a sculptor. He completed a number of works including several statues for New York City's Federal Building.
In 1880, Carabelli moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where he continued to work as a sculptor. He also established the Lake View Granite & Monumental Works. This business specialized in gravestones for people buried in Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland. Carabelli became well known for his sculptures, and several communities hired him to complete statues for their town squares or courthouses. Among Carabelli's surviving works are the Arthur/Haserot Memorial in Lake View Cemetery, the Civil War Memorial in Elyria, Ohio, and the Civil War Memorial in Willoughby, Ohio.
Carabelli quickly emerged as a leader in Cleveland's Italian community which came to be known as "Little Italy." In 1895, he played an important role in establishing a nursery and kindergarten for working mothers in "Little Italy." Eventually this kindergarten became the Alta House, a settlement house. Due to Carabelli's efforts to secure financial assistance for the Alta House, industrialist John D. Rockefeller made a sizable monetary donation to the institution.
In 1908, Carabelli was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives. He took office in 1909. In 1910, he proposed and secured passage of a bill making Columbus Day an official state holiday. Carabelli died on April 19, 1911, and was buried in Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland.