Memories of the Queen Anne and Redondo Beach

On January 14, 1989, Historical Society Members, Sandra Dyan and Maggie Tephany interviewed one of Redondo’s long-time residents, Mrs. Adele Santo.

      Mrs. Santo’s first home in after moving to America was the Queen Anne cottage that was relocated to Heritage Court shortly after this original article was written. This story was featured in the Redondo Beach Historical Society’s Winter-1989 Newsletter and was written by Maggie Tephany.

      With the recent restoration of the Queen Anne, it seemed like the appropriate time to re-print the story of the home and the memories of one of its early inhabitants.

By Maggie Tephany

“Adele Tognola arrived in Redondo Beach on July 4, 1920, to the sound and fury of fireworks emanating from in front of the Redondo Hotel.  “How did they know I was coming?” she asked the lady who had picked her up at Union Station and escorted her via Red Car to her new home. Twenty-two days earlier, her village in Gruno, Switzerland, had given her and the others who were leaving for America a big send off with fireworks. Redondo Beach seemed to be welcoming her with similar fanfare.

Now 89 years old, she blushes slightly and smiles at the naiveté of the young woman who came to Redondo to live with and care for her Aunt Adelena Gellardi.  At that time, my aunt’s house was not new; it must have been built around the 1880’s. Very little has changed other than a new sink and a closed up fireplace. We had no electricity at that time. We had oil lamps that we pulled down from the ceiling to light.

At the time Adele lived with her aunt, the house was located at 305 Garnet Street.  It was moved in 1933 to make way for a post office. Now the post office is gone and there is a condominium there.  The house was originally built on a hill. The south side of the house used to be the front of the house when it faced Garnet Street.  It had three front doors that led out to a porch. The backdoor led out to a steep sloping garden and the pigeons  my aunt raised squab to sell to the restaurants.

Adele met her husband, Frank Santo, for the first time, when he delivered groceries to her aunt’s home. Frank had seen Adele’s picture long before she came to America and had told her aunt “When she comes here, she is mine.”  They were married within a year at Saint James Church. It was quite an event with over 100 guests.

Frank’s father, P.W. Santo, owned Santo’s market at 110 Pacific Avenue in Redondo. In former days, P.W. and his buddy, Frank DeSimone (of DeSimone’s Market), would take a horse and cart Downtown to purchase wholesale produce for their stores.  It took them almost two days.  Eventually, they purchased a truck; a newsworthy event at that time.

Adele has fond memories of the families she met, and got to know, in Redondo. The DeSimones, the Corsaros, and the Brunos were all friends of the Santo family. She also tells of the many lovely, big homes that used to grace Redondo Beach streets.

Mrs. Santo now lives on Broadway (320 S. Broadway) with her grandson, Gary Horton, in the house that she and her husband built in 1929. Her children were born and raised there. In 1933 when the Queen Anne Cottage was moved to her block (next door at 318 S. Broadway), Adele was surprised and happy that it had not been razed. Now that it is being saved once again, Adele says, cheerfully, that she is once again surprised.

A lot has changed since this article ran. The Queen Anne has settled into her new location at Heritage Court and has recently received a major restoration.

Unfortunately, the 1929 home located at 320 S. Broadway was razed and has been replaced with two-on-a-lot condos in 2001.

The Queen Anne museum contains City memorabilia and is open for tours on weekends from noon to 4:00 pm and on Wednesdays from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm.