By Mary O’KEEFE
Last week La Crescenta lost another piece of its history. The Bonetto home (seen below) was demolished to make room for three new homes on the location that once housed a stone cottage and swimming pool.
In 1905, Tommaso and Josephine Bonetto purchased acreage at the corner of Manhattan and La Crescenta avenues. The small stone cottage was already on the property when it was purchased.
Tommaso planted a vineyard and orchard and added a wood-frame addition, plus a basement, to their home. They settled into life in La Crescenta with the Bonetto’s children Bart and Tom attending La Crescenta Elementary – a one-room schoolhouse at the time.
The family grew in La Crescenta, maintaining their orchards and vineyards. As adults, the two sons opened a successful feed business in town. They, and their wives, became strong community members.
Both brothers built homes on their family’s property on Manhattan Avenue. Tom and his wife Florence lived in the small stone cabin while their home in the 2800 block of Manhattan Avenue was being built. The stone cabin was incorporated into the couple’s property and they added a pool.
At their death over a decade ago, the property was sold. The adjacent Bonetto house was declared a Glendale historic landmark and the old winemaking equipment that was found in the property’s basement was transported to the Deukmejian Wilderness Park stone barn.
For all those years, community members and organizations have attempted to save the small stone cottage from demolition; however, last week all of that came to an end. The developer who purchased the land is building three homes on the property and the stone cottage had to go.
He has been respectful of the area and of the oak trees on the property. He has even talked about incorporating part of the cottage into the new homes, said Mike Morgan of the Historical Society of Crescenta Valley.
But the cottage itself had to be bulldozed to make way for the new homes. At a last walk-through with Morgan, a construction worker came up to him.
“I grew up here, walked past this place to go to school and never knew this building was here,” the construction worker told Morgan.
The cottage has been protected by a stone fence and shadowed by trees, so its passing may not even be noticed as community members drive down La Crescenta Avenue; however, for those who protect the heritage of Crescenta Valley, it was noticed. And although progress is necessary for communities to grow, the loss of the Bonetto stone cottage leaves a noticeable gap in the Crescenta Valley heritage.
Mike Lawler of the Historical Society of Crescenta Valley, provided historical information for this article.