Secondo Guasti Sr.


Secondo Guasti Sr.

Death 28 Aug 1927 (aged 68)
Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Plot Private Family Crypt
Memorial ID 14319289 View Source
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The honorable Secondo Guasti Sr., was born in Mombaruzzo, Italy on May 29, 1859. In 1883 Mr. Guasti arrived in California by way of Mexico City. Two years later Mr. Guasti settled in Los Angeles where he met and later married Miss Louisa Amillo daughter of a prominent hotel owner. The couple were married on August 23, 1887. Mr. Guasti entered the wine industry shortly thereafter conducting a modest operation on Alameda near Second street. Mr. Guasti used information gathered from his father "himself a prominent vintner in Italy," to build what would oneday become the premier wine operation of its time.

In 1900 the Guasti operation was incorporated under the name of the Italian Vineyard Company with Mr. Guasti serving as President. The Italian Vineyard Company began acquiring land in the Ontario area from Antonio Signorio who owned 2,000 acres encompassing the entire area which is now Guasti, parts of Ontario and Chaffey. Mr. Signorio joined Mr. Guasti in establishing the Italian Vineyard Company along with Spirito Bodrero another native of the Piedmont province. Other founding members were Ambrosio Vignolo, Giovanni Vai, Angelo Bessolo and Joe Pagliano.

One of the myths associated with the establishment of the Italian Vineyard Company in Ontario was that Mr. Guasti and partners were embarking upon a brand new endeavor, this not entirely true as the aforementioned Mr. Signorio had planted the first vines associated with the new concern prior to incorporation. What transpired as a result of their collective drive and experience is a testament to their vision.

As the head of the concern which grew to include a massive 5,700 acres Mr. Guasti began constructing what would become known as the town of Guasti. Built to house the families of the men who toiled in the field's for the IVC. A school, catholic church and living quarters sprung up housing some 1,200 Italian and Mexican laborers in 1912. The endeavor sealed the legend of Secondo Guasti as the most visible member of the IVC staff.

The Italian Vineyard Company shipped its goods internationally prior to the passing of the 18th Amendment better known as the Volsted act which ushered in prohibition. The new era for the IVC included a continuation of its operation as if prohibition applied to everyone but them. Through a loop hole which allowed the consumption of alcohol for personal medicinal purposes, Guasti's fortune continued to soar. So much so that he became an international celebrity. On two occassions, the king of Italy honored his acheivements confering upon him the orders of Cavalier and Commentatore. 1922 Guasti met and befriended Benito Mussolini whom he was said to admire greatly. Mussolini later conferred upon him the title Grand Ufficiale a rare occurance as it is the highest Italian honor of its kind.

Mr. Guasti passed away at the family home in Los Angeles on August 29, 1927 after a brief illness. He was survived by his wife Louisa with whom he had enjoyed 40 years of marriage "nearly to the day," a sister Philomena, son Secondo Jr., and a daughter Mrs. William Orcutt.

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  • Created by: Ty
  • Added: 18 May 2006
  • Find a Grave Memorial 14319289
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Secondo Guasti Sr. (29 May 1859–28 Aug 1927), Find a Grave Memorial ID 14319289, citing Calvary Cemetery, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Ty (contributor 46601627) .