Today we visited the Sanguinetti House Museum and Gardens located on Madison Street near Historic Yuma. It is a 19th century adobe home of the "merchant of Yuma" E. F. Sanguinetti (1867-1945).
The entrance to the museum is through the Jack Mellon Mercantile Shop. It has three rooms of antiques, books, and gifts. It is named for Jack Mellon, the riverboat captain of the Gila Steamboat in 1873, that travelled the Colorado River delivering supplies to miners, settlers, etc. He later sold the house to E. F. Sanguinetti.
The entrance fee ($5/adults; $4/seniors) is paid here You walk through the shop to the Sanguinetti House and Gardens.
A docent met us as we entered the House and provided an interesting narrative about Sanguinetti, the house, and the current featured exhibit, Ghost Town, that celebrates the numerous ghost towns of Yuma County.
The objects in the house are not original to it, but are authentic period pieces that are similar to what was once here. The first room has artifacts of the "Ghost Town" era.
There are plaques describing 12 mining towns (Gila City, La Laguna, Olivevv City, La Paz, Ehrenberg, Castle Dome, Swansea, Kofa, Fortuna, Polaris, Harqua Hala, and Silent) that existed in the late 1800 and early 1900s.
You are invited to enjoy a cup of tea in a room where Sanguinetti entertained guests 100 years ago. Additionally there is square piano from the 1870s that you are allowed to play (we have seen many of these in our travels, but this is the first one you could touch!)
The original adobe structure was only two rooms. Additional ones were added when Sanguinetti married and his family grew.
This is the kitchen. The kitchen tool on the right is a tabletop butter churn.
The Sanguinetti house is a popular wedding venue in Yuma. This room is currently used as the bridal dressing room.
The room at the rear of the house chronicles E.F. Sanguinetti's amazing life. He came to Yuma penniless at age 15 and went to work at a local mercantile shop. By the time he was 19 he was part-owner and eventually opened his own shop that occupied 6 buildings in Yuma with a wide array of products. He opened shops in 4 other locations near Yuma. Additionally, he was a developer of agriculture, mining, public utilities, and every phase of business of the time. Dedicated to the community, he donated land for the first city park, supported the local schools, and generously donated food and money to the needy.
At age 47, he married Lilah Balsz who was 20 years younger than he. They had two sons and a daughter.
Because we visited during the holiday season, visitors were encouraged to string popcorn and cranberries for their Christmas tree, just as was done 100 years ago. Of course, I had to do this (while John moved on to see the gardens!) He has no patience for this type of thing, but it was fun!
Benches can be found throughout the small garden. This is where wedding receptions are frequently held. The Garden Cafe restaurant is located next door.
I enjoyed (as always) seeing the lovely flowers and shrubs here in December.
If you enjoy learning about the local history of the places you visit, you will enjoy this small museum. Sanguinetti was certainly a prominent citizen and benefactor to Yuma. It was interesting to learn about this hard-working man that epitomized the American Dream.
The Sanguinetti House Museum and Garden is open Tuesday - Saturday, 10 am to 3 pm. Check out the website for additional information the museum and other ones managed by the Arizona Historical Society. They are located in Tucson (4 museums), Flagstaff (2), Tempe (1), and this one in Yuma. The Arizona Historical Society was established in 1864 to collect and preserve "all facts relating to the history" of the Arizona Territory. They possess over 3 million objects with many on display in the eight museums located throughout the state.