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By Helen Ofield, Lemon Grove Historical Society

Photo:  Mike Norris Media for LGHS

February 26, 2022 (Lemon Grove) - They left nothing to chance. Starting in 1842 when the first "Tregensoes" (later, Treganzas) crossed the Atlantic to America and a new life, the family left the starting gate (Cornwall) with many of the things that make life worth living:  Art, Writing, Music, Crafts, Agriculture, Architecture, Anthropology, Ethnography, Medicine, Research, Business, Education, International Relations, and above all, a sense of adventure and faith in the future. 

The Treganzas set down roots in the Western U. S. and Mexico, especially in tiny Lemon Grove, the town that welcomed our wanderers home. In

gratitude, the scion of the family, master architect Alberto Owen Treganza, designed The Big Lemon, a 3,000-pound civic icon that has stood by the town's lifeline--the railroad that carried its award-winning lemons throughout the U. S.--since 1928.

Alberto's father, Eduardo Treganza, had horticulture in his veins. He worked with early growers, including the great Hunter Dynasty (founder of century-old Hunter's Nursery) to kickstart the town's citrus industry. He and his wife, Josephine the poet, had crossed the plains by wagon from Utah in 1889 to San Diego and thence to Lemon Grove. 

Alberto's two marriages involved gifted women and many offspring. The first wife, Alma ("Soul"), died of heart disease (today she would have lived). Their two talented daughters, Eleanor and Eloise, lived into old age. They were raised by Alma's successor, the writer-adventurer Antwonet Kaufman, who lovingly raised Alma's children and her own brilliant three, Amorita, Adan and Adalaida. What followed were legions of descendants residing today in every part of America and carrying on family traditions in the arts and humanities and more. 

Many came to Lemon Grove for the Oct. 9, 2021 dedication of Treganza Heritage Park. This joyous event was initiated by the Lemon Grove Historical Society (a founder was Amorita Treganza in 1978) and carried to the finish line by the City of Lemon Grove in honor of the pioneer family that influenced literally every aspect of civic life. The park is home to the Parsonage Museum of Lemon Grove and the H. Lee House, the Tudor Revival wonder built in 1928--both saved and resuscitated by the historical society with civic approval. 

The historical society will continue the celebration on its History Alive series March 3 at 7 p.m. in the H. Lee House, 3205 Olive Street, when Treganza descendant Cynthia Hughes Doyle will give a terrific Powerpoint lecture, "Alberto Treganza: Master Architect." A special museum exhibit, "The Treganza Family in Lemon Grove," opens Saturday, March 5 at 11 a.m. The latter will include a members only reception on March 5 from 2 - 4 p.m. at the museum. If you aren't a member, you can attend and join that day. We also look forward to welcoming members of the press.


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