February 2, 2017
History Alive presents A Fireside Chat
with Amy Antoinette “Tony” Kasznel
H. Lee House Cultural Center
3205 Olive Street, Lemon Grove, CA 91945
Local Girl Comes Home
The cherished History Alive series continues with this very special edition with Tony Kasznel, niece of Tony Sonka, the man who bankrolled the Big Lemon, the first school bus, the first band uniforms, the first sewer system, and coined the town's slogan, “Best Climate on Earth,” and the list goes on. This son of Bohemian immigrants landed here in 1907 to help his father, Anton Sonka, start and run the general store that would kickstart the post agricultural economy of Lemon Grove. Sonka Bros’ General Store became the Walmart of its day first visited by folks on horses and wagons, then Model-T Fords, then peppy roadsters with rumble seats.
The 1912 Mission Revival store lives on today as the oldest, continuously operated commercial building in our town, and is better known to all as “Grove Pastry Shop” (stay tuned for news about that).
The living repository of the above history is Amy Antoinette, better known as Tony, her favorite nickname from the uncle she adored. She attended the Lemon Grove Grammar School, went to countless events in the famous 1922 redwood Women's Club (still standing on Main Street), shopped at the Sonka store, played with pals, saw the town evolve, and lived the life you've only heard about in bygone Lemon Grove. Talk about total recall.
Tony's flying here from Pennsylvania to tell all on Feb. 2. You get to ask questions, too. We're serving tea and cake and we can hardly wait to welcome this lovely lady home again. Please join us for a wonderful evening in the only town in America with a 3,000-pound giant fruit next to a mass transit line.
History Alive is free and suitable for ages 16 and over. Information: (619) 460-4353.
Videotaping of History Alive lectures is made possible by a Community Enhancement Grant from the San Diego County Board of Supervisors on the recommendation of Supervisor Dianne Jacob, District 2. Ancillary costs of the series are assisted by the Mary England Endowment for Education.
TOURS & EVENTS