Cambrian: Opinion

Maggetti House now belongs to Historical Society

There will be some changes made in this old house, seen here before a 1980 renovation.
There will be some changes made in this old house, seen here before a 1980 renovation.

Breaking News! Thanks to a generous contribution by an anonymous donor, the Cambria Historical Society is now the proud owner of the blue Maggetti House, free and clear. The nonprofit opted two years ago to acquire the historic structure in order to preserve it and also expand its museum operations next door to the edifice on Center Street.

The purchase realizes a longtime dream of CHS as part of the Cambria Parks, Recreation and Open Space Commission (PROS) plan to preserve Cambria’s East Village as a historical district. According to President John Ehlers, “It will also serve the historical society’s needs for office space, archives and research, electronic displays, interviews, etc.”

Currently, the office is housed in the original bedroom of the former Guthrie Bianchini House, which will ultimately display a typical 1900s bedroom.

The blue house was constructed in the 1870s as a small single-story home (similar to many more that originally lined both sides of Center Street) and purchased by Dr. Russell Parkhurst and his wife, Mary. It was subsequently owned by Louis and Candelara (Lala) Mendoza Galbraith Maggetti, who had the second story added to accommodate their six children; and then their daughter, Phoebe Maggetti Storni. All are identified on the bronze commemorative plaque of Cambria’s earliest property owner/residents.

Many Cambrians still remember Rocco Rava, who rented the house for many years with his wife, the former Elvira Bianchini, daughter of Eugenio and Louisa Bianchini next door. Because of his side job of preserving pine mushrooms for sale locally and in San Francisco, the home was nicknamed the Mushroom House, for his method of drying the fungi on screens placed on the fence.

Mrs. Marjorie Meacham Delyser, a Cambria resident and owner of property on Main Street, bought the house in 1978, saved it from destruction, and rented it to several businesses in the ensuing years. The Historical Society bought it from her family in 2014. The society has applied for a San Luis Obispo beautification grant to refurbish the structure, and will landscape it utilizing plants from the Heirloom Gardens.

The Cambria Historical Society is a nonprofit organization totally dependent on its small active membership and even smaller corps of volunteers, with contributions by visitors, and support from generous donors. Fundraisers such as the October Harvest Festival weekend of events, and occasional grants do help to sustain the organization’s mission to preserve Cambria’s heritage. It will require great financial support to operate and maintain two facilities in the future.

Authors acknowledged

We wish to acknowledge the many talented authors who showcased their work at the Celebration of Local Authors on Saturday, July 1, and donated all or a percentage of their sales.

Keynote speaker Stephen H. Provost, and special guests Catherine Ryan Hyde and Sue McGinty were able to meet and greet attendees and other authors:

Wayne Attoe, Brant Baker, Rebecca Buckley, Lucia Capacchione, Evelyn Dabritz, Dawn Dunlap, Sherry Eiselen, Dennis Frahmann, Dr. Arthur Gusner, Patricia Heineman, Christine Heinrichs, Sheri Humphreys, Donna Kean, Craig Loud and Victoria Kressensky.

Samaire Provost, Carolyn Pye, Cindy Rankin, Linda Reed, Ken Renshaw, Judy Salamacha, William Seavey, Linda Seed, Ted Siegler, Bob and Debbie Soto, Janice Stevens and Pat Hunter, Diane Tappey, Suzette Lees, Bertha Tyler and Betty Winter. Special thanks to Cambria Friends of the Library for their co-sponsorship and volunteers, and all the many attendees.

Proceeds from the second annual event benefit the Historical Society.

Consuelo Macedo’s column on North Coast history and Cambria Historical Society activities appears the first Thursday of each month and is special to The Cambrian.

About the museum

The Cambria Historical Museum and bookstore at 2251 Center St. at Burton Drive, are staffed by volunteers from 1 to 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday; the heirloom gardens and backyard nursery are open all day every day. Phone: 805-927-2891. Go to www.cambriahistoricalsociety.com, and like the museum’s Facebook page us at www.facebook.com/cambriahistoricalsociety.

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