History of the Grand Lodge of California

The Order Sons of Italy in America was founded in the State of California on September 22, 1922. As if to signify that as a center from which the Order would spread its roots over the entire State, its birth was in Fresno, geographical center of California and important seat of one of the richest agricultural zones of our Nation, enriched by the sacrifices, work and genius of Italians.

There existed in that locality the "Columbus Nest O.O.O.", consisting almost entirely of our nationality. To Alfonso Cubicciotti goes the credit for initiating the movement to organize the Order Sons of Italy in America in our State. Born in Italy, he immigrated to America where he saw in the organization of people of our ethnic background the only path for progress.

After arriving in California in 1919, and after getting settled in his new home, he set to work to organize several lodges of the Order Sons of Italy in America. The Supreme Lodge nominated him as Supreme Deputy for the West, and asked him to call a meeting of those who were interested in this project in the San Joaquin Valley.

Thus on September 22, 1922, the First Lodge in California was instituted - a Lodge, which took its name from the Great Admiral: "Loggia Cristoforo Colombo" No. 1149, now called "Colombo Stella."

The seed was sown! Brother Cubicciotti was relentless in his work. On April 21, 1923, auspicious date of the foundation of Rome, through the untiring efforts of the unforgettable Cubiciotti, in collaboration with Vincenzo Melella, Vincenzo Airpoli and Ludovico Tentarelli, and G. Torchia, the "Vita Nuova" No. 1198, was instituted in San Francisco.

The Word of the Order is diffused: Captain Edoardo Dinucci meets Brother Cubicciotti and shares the latter's enthusiasm for the growth of a Grand Lodge of the Order Sons of Italy in our State. To that end he dedicated himself without regard to any personal sacrifice. Gifted with polished oratory, he spread the message of our organization to our immigrants. Together with others, he worked with enthusiasm and with great personal sacrifice for the formation of "Cuori Uniti" No. 1269, of Weed, instituted January 6, 1924; "Nobile Pensiero" No. 1275, of McCloud, instituted March 3, 1924; and "Eureka" No. 1274, instituted March 16 1924. On July 18th, 1924, the Vittorio Veneto" Lodge No. 1283 was instituted in Los Angeles, dissolved in 1977.

Brother Dinucci was an expert and efficient employee of several banking organizations and in that capacity had occasion to visit the Italo-American communities in Oregon as well as our own State. The "Camelia-Colombo" Lodge No. 1294, in Klamath Falls, Oregon, was instituted in June, of 1924. The "Colombo" Antioch Lodge No. 1315 was instituted August 31, 1924, through the efforts of Brother Sam de Lulio. Next came the "Giacomo Puccini" Lodge No. 1352, Sacramento, on February 8, 1925; the Los Angeles Lodge No. 1319, instituted July 4, 1925; and the Pugliese Lodge No. 1375 on September 5, 1925 in Los Angeles.

Having accomplished the organization of twelve lodges, Brother Cubicciotti made application to the Supreme Lodge for the institution of the Grand Lodge of California, and upon the application's being granted, agreement with the existing lodges was made. The first Grand Convention was held in Stockton, September 22, 1925, just three years after the first lodge was instituted in California. Brother Dinucci was elected Grand Venerable and Brother Cubicciotti became the Grand Recording Secretary, in which capacity he served until his death in 1940.

Since then, the effort in the development of our organization has been untiring, continuous, and far-reaching; its will-indomitable, its spirit of sacrifice-praise-worthy. There is no regret in the hearts of the devoted members. The march-sometimes rapid, sometimes slow and difficult, has always aimed toward the luminous and immutable point of arrival. A handful of pioneers have become a legion, which advances with accelerated step toward the glorious goal.

After the establishment of the Grand Lodge, and following the institution of the above-mentioned Lodges, our great family was enriched by the formation of many more lodges, which we list here in order of their foundation:

Our very active Brother V. Melella instituted in Oakland the "Oakland" Lodge No. 1385, November 18, 1925.   The following year (April 26, 1926) Brother Rossi instituted "Roseville" Lodge No. 1413.

The "Regina Margherita" Lodge No. 1423, was established in Sacramento through the efforts of R. Giorgi and E. Galli, June 3, 1926.

Brothers G. Aragona, J. Dambrosio, and N. Latorraca of Los Banos instituted the "Redenzione" Lodge No. 1427, September 5, 1926

January 6, 1927—"Giuseppe Verdi” Lodge No. 1441 by Brothers Nello Ceccarelli, Frank Parinni and Albert Pisani.

April 4, 1927—"Rodolfo Valentino" Lodge No. 1449, Clovis, by J. V. Sirimaco.

June 27, 1927—"Enrico Caruso" Lodge No. 1463 , Visalia, by V. De Leonardis.

October 8, 1927—"Anita Garibaldi" Lodge No. 1475, Los Banos, by  P. Dambrosio and N. Latorraco.

August 22, 1927—Lodge "Armando Diaz" No. 1502, San Francisco, by Lombardi, Gioia, F. A. Montani and A. Raucci.

August 31, 1928—Lodge "Gloria" No. 1503, Weed, by the members of Cuori Uniti.

January 28, 1929—Lodge "Cesare Battisti" No. 1518, Petaluma, by F. A. Montani.

April 28, 1929—Lodge "Castroville" No. 1530, Castroville, by A. Brucia.

May 12, 1929—Lodge "Cristoforo Colombo" No. 1534, Reno, Nevada, by N. Gardella, R. Marillion, P. De Prati, L. Anelli, and E. Lazzari.

June 14, 1929—Lodge "Quattro Novembre" No. 1542, San Jose, by C. Catello and F. A. Montani.

July 27, 1929—Lodge "Hanford" No. 1543, Hanford, by Joe Zecchitella.

October 27, 1929—Lodge "Santa Barbara" No. 1552, Santa Barbara, by D. Iannarone.

January 12, 1930—Lodge "Ventura County" No. 1565, Oxnard, by A. Ratti, Pasquinelli, and Peirano.

May 25, 1930—Lodge "Roma" No. 1573, Tulare, by Sister Virginia Filippi.

August 31, 1930—Lodge "G. Marconi" No. 1575, Lompoc, by S. Pasquinelli, A. Ratti and G, Maccianti.

November 16, 1930—Lodge "G. D'Annunzio" No. 1585, Guadalupe, by members of G. Marconi.

January 4, 1931—Lodge "Virgilio" No. 1586, Vallejo, by E. Montali.

February 22, 1931—Lodge "Cornelia dei Gracchi" No. 1587, San Francisco, by Sisters V. Dinucci, Pacini, Bruschera, and Brothers Bernardini, R. Galli, et al.

June 29, 1931—Lodge "G. Garibaldi" No. 1598, Los Angeles, by James Caforio.

July 26, 1931—Lodge "Duchessa d'Aosta" No. 1602, San Jose, by P. Rigio and F.A. Montani.

September 7, 1931—Lodge "Sanger" No. 1608, Sanger, by Joe Zecchitella.

November 29, 1931—Lodge "America" No. 1609, Los Angeles, by U. Troiano.

January 3, 1932—Lodge "Beatrice Portinari" No. 1626, Vallejo, by E. Montali.

April 17, 1932—Lodge "Fratellanza Garibaldina" No. 1627, San Diego, by Brothers Iannarone, Troiano, Chiecchi, Macchia, Campagna, Buono, Perna and Negro.

July  15, 1934—Lodge "Aurora" No. 1710, San Leandro, by Sisters Moralle, Cardana, Massaglia and Brother Melella.

October 12, 1934—Lodge "Golden Lion Lodge" No. 1728, San Francisco by Ruocco, Ludivici, and D'Angelo.

December 9, 1934—Lodge "Berkeley" No. 1733, Berkeley, by Siri and Iozzia.

June 23, 1935—Lodge "Francesco de Pinedo" No. 1751, Gilroy, by Zottolo.

December 6, 1936—Lodge "Dante Alighieri" No. 1796, dissolved in 1977.

July 5, 1940—Lodge "Santa Rosa" No. 1898, Santa Rosa, by G. Gerace.

September 15, 1940—Lodge "Abraham Lincoln" No. 1902, Half Moon Bay, by A. Bacoccina, F. Molinari and Rose M. Fanucchi.

July 30, 1944—Lodge "Columbia" No. 1940, San Mateo, by Lucia Cavani.

June 6, 1946—Lodge "Hollywood" No. 1948, Hollywood, by Gabriele Montelone and Dino Bolognese.

October 27, 1946—Lodge "Galileo Galilei" No. 1950, Redwood City, by Ralph Ruocco.

January 23, 1947—Lodge "Leonardo Da Vinci" No. 1953, Martinez, by Giuseppe Simonicini.

March 23, 1947—Lodge "Alessandro Volta" No. 1956, South San Francisco, by Giuseppe Simoncini, Cesare Lencioni, Salvatore Nieddo.

May 11, 1947—Lodge "Valley of the Moon" No. 1959, Sonoma, by Salvatore Amoroso and Lena Creighton.

May 25, 1947—Lodge "William Paca" No. 1960, Mountain View, by Ralph Ruocco, John Battaglia, Joe Di Biase and Ray Esposito.

April 27, 1947—Lodge "Stockton" No. 1961 by Caterina Quaglia.

September 21, 1947—Lodge "Marvelous Marin" No. 1969, San Rafael, by Lena Creighton and Dora Amoroso.

April 7, 1948—Lodge "Pittsburg" No. 1976 by Gennaro Nuzzo, Vincent A. Davi and Peter J. Bertoglio.

August 7 1948—Lodge "Long Beach" No. 1982, Long Beach, by Gabriele Monteleone.

March 20, 1949—Lodge "Centinela Valley" No. 1991, Inglewood, by Michael Miroballi.

March 27, 1949—Lodge "Santa Cruz" No. 1992, Santa Cruz, by Joe Penna, Ralph Ruocco, Adamo Biasotti and Carolina Quilici.

June 12, 1949—Lodge "South Gate" No. 1996, South Gate, by Ralph Morelli.

February 4, 1950—Lodge "Guglielmo Marconi" No. 2002, Colma, an independent organization, joined the Order.

February 5, 1950—Lodge "Monterey" No. 2003, Monterey, by John Battaglia.

June 25, 1950—Lodge "Alameda" No. 2006, Alameda, by Biagio Giuliano.

September 23, 1950—Lodge "Frank J. Petrarca" No. 2010, El Sobrante, by Guido Barbera.

December 10, 1950—Lodge "Giuseppe Mazzini" No. 2011, Fremont, by Pasquale Meli.

November 18, 1951—Lodge "Watsonville" No. 2016, by John Battaglia.

April 20, 1952—Lodge "Modesto" No. 2021, by John Battaglia.

December 7, 1952—Lodge "San Francisco" No. 2024, by John Battaglia.

May 21, 1955—Lodge "San Pedro" No. 2041, by Umberto Troiano, Domenic Iannarone, Gabriel De Donato and James Caforio.

April 24, 1955—Lodge "Napa" No. 2043, by Domenic Scalcini and Dirce Mini.

October 30, 1955—Lodge "Redwood Empire" No. 2051, by Gaetano Di Perno, Louis Salotti, V. Mingale and Delcisa Biglieri.

May 14, 1956—Lodge "West Covina" No. 2056, by Justin Tubiolo, Michael Falabrino and Joseph Claro.

March 1, 1958—Lodge "Madera" No. 2073, Madera, by Antonio Stefani.

March 30, 1958—Lodge "Denver" (Colorado) No. 2075 ,by Donato Ferrigno.

May 3, 1958—Lodge "Anaheim" No. 2076, Anaheim, by Daniel D'Amico.

May 28, 1958—Lodge "St. Helena" No. 2077, St. Helena, by S. Argento, G. Di Perno and J. Moscon.

March 8, 1959—Lodge "Salinas" No. 2082, Salinas, by Joseph Cava.

February 22, 1959—Lodge "Downey" No. 2083, Downey, by Umberto Troiano.

September 13, 1959—Lodge "Enrico Fermi" No. 2094, Hayward, by Pat Mastrantonio.

April 24, 1960—Lodge "Ukiah" No. 2104, by Delcisa Biglieri and G. Di Perno.

May10, 1960—Lodge "Alhambra" No. 2106, by William Heisler.

February 12, 1961—Lodge "Lakewood" No. 2113, by Alice Burton and Margaret Baker.

June 10, 1962—Lodge "West End" No. 2127, Ontario, by Franklin and Margaret Baker.

May 3, 1963—Lodge "Virtus" No. 2130, San Francisco by Angelo Bacoccina.

May 5, 1963—Lodge "San Fernando Valley" No. 2136, North Hollywood, by Frank Lisa.

January 10, 1965—Lodge "Las Vegas" No. 2158, Las Vegas, by Phil La Loggia.

February 13, 1966—Lodge "Concord" No. 2167, by John Farrace and John Cannata.

April 17, 1966—Lodge "Hacienda" No. 2168, La Puente, by Oswald Mangiagli, Jean Mangiagli and Al Sirignano.

June 12, 1966—Lodge "Arcadia" No. 2174, by Frank Di Liberto.

October 23, 1966—Lodge "Burbank" No. 2178, by Anthony Confinante.

April 30, 1967—Lodge "Julius Caesar" No. 2186, Campbell, by Pat Mastrantonio.

June 3, 1967—Lodge "Whit-Mar" No. 2188 by Virginia Terifaj, Josephine Byrnes and Mike Mayernik.

January 21, 1968—Lodge "A.P. Giannini" No. 2192, Costa Mesa, by Roland G. De Rocili, Sr.

August 24, 1968—Lodge "Aloha" No. 2204, Honolulu, by Guido Salmaggi and Daniel Di Sesa.

October 27, 1968—Lodge "Santa Ana" No. 2208, Santa Ana, by Frank Lisa, Leonard Ross and Alfred Rossi.

March 4, 1972—Lodge "Tustin-Orange" No. 2259, by Peter J. De Santis, Frank Capacchione and Vincent Licata.

March 4, 1973—Lodge "Michelangelo" No. 2279, Santa Clara, by Luca Scarola.

September 13, 1975—Lodge "Tri-Valley" No. 2348, Pleasanton, by Sebastian Romeo, Barbara Caminada and Remo Scagliotti.

November 30, 1975—Lodge "Desert Valley" No. 2352, Victorville, by William F. Heisler and Gilda J. Heisler

May 30, 1976—Lodge "Mother Cabrini" No. 2365, Yorba Linda by Virginia Terifaj.

November 13, 1976—Lodge "Loggia del Lago" No. 2376, Lake Havasu City, Arizona, by Robert and Jean Topping.  (This Lodge, no longer under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of California, was instrumental in the formation of the Grand Lodge of Arizona.)

May 29, 1977—Lodge "Palm Springs" No. 2400, Palm Springs by Emanuel Stellino. Signers: Salvatore Di Benedetto, James Nicholas, Mark Carnivale.

October 22, 1978—Lodge "La Costa Dei Fiori" No. 2424, Encinitas, by Bruno Giuffrida.  Signers: Louis Petrella, Joseph Cutri, Bruno Guiffrida and Cecchino Massullo.

November 5, 1978—Lodge "Performing and Creative Artists" No. 2425, Hollywood, by Lawrence B. Di Caro. Signers: Tina Scala and Carmela Candela.

February 23, 1980—Lodge "Shasta" No. 2543, Redding, by Angelo Pizelo. Signers: Angelo Pizelo, Joseph A. Cutri, Ernest Presidio and Joe Marsiano.

September 28, 1980—Lodge "Fort Collins" No. 2479, Fort Collins, Colorado, by Dominic and Linda Campana, Ronald and Linda Malara, Frank Busnardo and Ann Ciancio

After 75 years of existence, the Grand Lodge of California has 75 filial lodges united into one great family - the strongest organization consisting of Italian-American elements existing in California. From its very foundation, the Grand Lodge has always encouraged its members to become American citizens.

It has upheld among its members the pride of ethnicity reminding them of the glory of the past and the relation of our civilization to world civilization in all ages and in all times. By collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars, the Grand Lodge of California has contributed to all welfare initiatives to alleviate the suffering of all the people of our race in America and in our country of origin.

The Grand Lodge has sustained with great passion the war effort, laboring with all means for the final victory; it has spurred its members to diffuse, with work and example everything which is Italian; it has contributed greatly to the spread of Italian language and culture; it has fought the defamation of our name in radio-television productions and in the press; it has generously encouraged students of our race in the high schools, helping them to attend the universities with annual and numerous scholarships; it has helped thousands of members by its welfare programs; it has shown that the Sons of Italy have not been idle, but have been a population of workers. These relentless workers have built towns and cities, have transformed bare lands and swamps into gardens and orchards, have dug up the treasures from the earth, have created agricultural and financial empires, have given stimulus to new industries, have founded cultural institutions and universities, have carried everywhere the divine harmonies of music which sings the glories of Italy.

The hands, the brains, and the genius of the Sons of Italy have given honor and luster to their country they have sacrificed on the battlefields and covered themselves with glory; the affirmation of democratic ideals, they have faced the extreme and holy sacrifice - sacrifices in order that we might have a better world in which the principles of "Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity" would prevail and triumph. Our latest projects have included the establishment of Birth Defects Libraries at Stanford University, at the U.C.L.A. campus in Torrance, at the Harbor General Hospital Research Center in Southern California, at the U.C. Medical School in San Diego, at U.C. Medical School in Davis, and at the University of Nevada Medical School in Reno.

One of the most ambitious projects undertaken by the Grand Lodge of California has been the Order's participation to the Tournament of Roses in Pasadena. Under the leadership of Grand Venerable Joseph Simile and the hard work of the Tournament of Roses Committee composed of Bruno Giuffrida, Peter and Pearl Tubiolo, Joseph Cutri, and Gregory Amendola, the Grand Lodge of California entered its first float on New Year's Day, 1977, winning the Isabella Coleman Award. This success was repeated on New Year's Day 1978, 1979, and 1980 when our entries won, respectively, the Queen's Trophy, the Sweepstakes, and the Grand Marshall's Trophy.

The election of Peter J. Bertoglio as Grand Venerable in 1953, at the Oakland Convention, began a new era in the life of our Order. The confidence accorded to this young and able official resulted in a compact Grand Council; his dynamic activity and ability led to new fields which made our organization known and respected.

Under his able leadership the construction of the Grand Lodge Home in San Francisco made big strides, the beautiful edifice rapidly took shape and the dream of a Grand Lodge Home, long nurtured, became a reality.

The Grand Venerables who followed Bertoglio are: Attilio Raeta, Alfonzo Zirpoli, Daniel A. D'Amico (1961-1963), Bruno S. Giuffrida (1963-1967), Peter J. DeSantis (1967-1971), Joseph H. Billeci (1971-1975), Joseph Simile (1975-1979), Peter C. Tubiolo (1979-1983), Lawrence Romanazzi (1983-1985), J.Augustus Accurso (1985-1987), Chris Lotito (1987-1989), Frank J. De Santis (1989-1991), Victor L. Federigi (1991-1993), Ralph Agnello (1993-1995), Arturo Ibleto (1995-1997), Carl Serra (1997-1999), John Tedesco (1999-2001), David Prisco (2001-2003), Roy Vanoni (2003-2005), Vera Ferrara Girolami (2005-2007). Under their leadership the Grand Lodge of California has continued to grow, meeting the demands and the needs not only of its members but also of the Italian-Americans outside our Order. The Lodges continue to grow:

May 29, 1982—Lodge "Vincenzo Bellini" No. 2519, Chico, by Antonio Lucido, Catherine Lucido and Joseph Simile.

January 16, 1983—Lodge "Northern Solano" No. 2534, Fairfield, by Joseph Agosta, Angelo Albertoni and Donald Cahan.

April 10, 1983—Lodge "Lake County" No. 2537, Nice, by Joseph J. Staiti, Guy J. Bonanno and Alfred J. Staiti.

February 19, 1984—Lodge "Inland Empire", No. 2553, Fontana, by B. John Fatone and Grace A, Brazell.   

November 17, 1984—Lodge "Saddleback Valley" No. 2566, Mission Viejo, by Richard F. Ciampa, Clarice M. Ciampa and Frank William Varese.

April 10, 1988—Lodge "Chino, Greater Pomona Valley" No. 2610, Chino, by Grace Brazell Newman and Albert Newman.

July 20, 1996—Lodge "Gold Country" No. 2705, El Dorado Hills, by Joseph Agosta, Genevieve Arietta and Donald Cahan.

November 9, 1996—Lodge "California City" No. 2709, California City, by Clinto Bellettini, Wayne Croce and Frank Cicora.

May 17, 1997—Lodge "Wine Country" No. 2715, Santa Rosa by Richard Cuneo, Lloyd DeMartini, Arturo Ibleto, Robert Mondavi, R. Michael Mondavi, The Hon. Mike Thompson and Henry Trione.

July 10, 1999—Lodge "Paradiso" No. 2743, Paradise, by Primo Incerty, James Catania, Sal Aiello, Catherine Lucido and Roy Vanoni.

March 12, 2000—Lodge "Sgt. John Basilone"No. 2748, Corona, by William Colacino, David Prisco, Antony Corso and Emmett Yana.

April 3, 2004 - Lodge "William Cannizzaro Hollywood" No. 2809, Hollywood, by Gregg N. Cannizzaro, Michael Marino, Peter C. Tubiolo and Carl C. Serra.

June 7, 2009 - Lodge "Milano" No. 2854, Natomas (Sacramento - CA), by Daena Biondi, Jay Minchilli, Linda Desiante.

May 4, 2013  - Lodge "Ryan Bonaminio" No.2879. Riverside, CA by Marsha Bolls Scribner, Linda Desiante, Maria Fassio Pignati, Pauline Richmond, Paul Scauzillo and Jay Minchilli.