Multilectual Daily Online Magazine focusing on Architecture, Travel, History, Interior Design, Vintage and Contemporary Fiction, Craft Beer, Coffee, Bungalow Living, San Diego's Historic North Park and Balboa Park by award-winning journalist Tom Shess
Thursday, March 16, 2017
URBAN EXPLORER / MISSION HILLS NURSERY STAYS PUT
HISTORIC MISSION HILLS NURSERY, SAN DIEGO
GUEST BLOG / By Bobbie Bagel, writer, Save Our Heritage
Organisation--San Diego preservationists and avid gardeners far and wide have
good reason to celebrate. In January, Fausto Palafox joyfully announced his
family's successful purchase of the land the historic Mission Hills Garden
Center occupies. The future of this beloved historic landmark and community
treasure is now secure.
The nursery, at the colorful corner of Palmetto and Fort Stockton,
has had only three owners in its 107-year history. The incomparable
horticulturist and nurserywoman Kate Sessions founded it in 1910. Sessions sold
both the business and the property to Giuseppe Antonicelli in 1922. The
business thrived for close to seven decades. In 1989, Antonicelli's son, Frank,
sold the nursery business (but not the property—for tax reasons) to the Palafox
The family had received the "right of first refusal" on
the land when they purchased the nursery in1989. They exercised that right when
Frank Antonicelli's wife, Elsie, passed away fifteen months ago. A number of
serious complications almost derailed the sale. However, after difficult
negotiations, the transaction has been completed.
Toni and Fausto Palafox credit their son, "Tiger"
Palafox, for handling the complex banking and legal issues involved in the sale
with skill and determination. And they gratefully thank their neighbors and
customers in the Mission Hills area and beyond for unwavering support throughout
the lengthy ordeal.
Fausto Palafox is devoted to the community he loves and recognizes
the nursery's enduring impact on generations of gardeners and landscapers.
"That legacy was the main reason we fought so hard to purchase the land. I
feel we were given a great responsibility by the Antonicellis to continue the
presence of this historic garden center in San Diego," he said. "How
many 100-year-old nurseries are there in California or on the West Coast?"