Memories of Guasti

Guasti as we knew it, a rural enclave, is essentially gone, for good or bad.

Because of construction, the Post Office has moved, Saffron Cafe has closed, Filippi Winery closed its tasting room, the Guasti/Homestyle Cafe moved to Chino, the patio furniture places are gone and the school has been bulldozed.

Construction is under way on a mixed-use complex that seems intriguing, if very different than the hodgepodge that was there.

Months ago I spoke to Jim Maples, a former advertising rep at the Bulletin, about Evel Knievel’s jump at Ontario Motor Speedway. He also lamented the changes then beginning to happen at Guasti:

“I got to California in 1957 and one of the first things I did was go to wine-tasting at Guasti. That’s when all those little houses had inhabitants,” Maples told me.

He said a wine festival was sponsored circa 1958-1962 by the Secondo Church. You could buy a bottle of wine, fill up a bota bag with it and walk around, sipping as you went.

So there’s a topic. Anyone want to share memories of what Guasti used to be like and what you did there?

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  • Linda

    In the 1960s-1970s the church at Guasti had an Italian-speaking priest. My mom preferred making her yearly Easter confession with a priest in her native language (Italian). My sister and I would go with her and explore the church and the grounds while she took care of her business in the confessional. It was like being in another country because the whole scene was so different from our world outside Guasti.

    Although I realize time had taken its toll on the buildings around the church (and thank goodness the church won’t be touched) I still felt a wave of sadness when I drove by the other day. But memories live on!!!

    [Thank you, Linda. — DA]

  • Kristin McConnell

    I went to two Ontario Heritage Galas there (I coordinated one). It is a grand house and I was happy that Saffron was there to oversee the historic property.

    I never got to see the houses on Peppertree Lane because it was forbidden to walk down the path. My husband used his antique camera to take pictures of the property, and each time I was there I felt like I was in another world — sent back in time to the turn of the 20th century.

    I was heartsick when Clarke Pauley sold it, and I suspect he did it because the City of Ontario would never allow him to do what he wanted to do. All he wanted to do was to rehab as many of the bungalows as possible and make them into small boutiques. He wanted to keep the quiet and the calm of the village, not demolish it for a hotel. But he could never get the City to buy in to the project.

    I guess Ontario wants metro and not history. Look what they’re planning to do to the Guasti park. A water park? There’s going to be nothing natural or historic left in the city. It’s all revenue.

    The passing of Guasti has me sickened. The house will not survive in its current state, which it should. It’s just too bad.

    [Thanks for your insights and your passion for Guasti, Kristin. — DA]

  • richard e nunez

    it comes down to what we think doesnt matter,if theres a buck to be made then tear it down.its a shame and the city says go ahead,just as long i get my owne parking space.years from now there going to say what were we thinking of.

  • Anonymous

    Guasti was such an interesting time capsule. One of my great joys was going to the post office on tax day…no lines and a clerk hand postmarked everything…

  • M Varney

    At Guasti in the late ’70s there was a restaurant called La Villa Guasti. It was usually very busy, lots of business people. There weren’t many local restaurants and it was nice it was close to where I worked.

    Fridays were especially fun since they had a lunch special that included a glass of wine. I usually gave mine to a co-worker. They had great soup too. La Villa Guasti was popular because it was five minutes from work.

    The other lunch places were Socorro’s in Cucamonga and of course Santolucitos Market. There they gave you a choice with your sandwich; mustard or no mustard. That is another story!

    Ahh, Ontario holds lots of memories for those of us that have worked here during the time when the vineyards stretched as far as the eye could see and beyond. Also my parents would once in awhile go to Guasti for wine tasting. I was a kid and got the best grape juice ever. I wish I could still find it!

    [Thanks for the comments, Marilyn. — DA]