Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Biographies


A retired Italian-American gentleman whose fruitful life has well merited for him the esteem of a wide circle of devoted friends, is John Costella, now residing at the Garibaldi Hotel, in Santa Cruz. He was born on the 15th of February, 1846, the son of Michael and Annie Marie Costella, worthy farmer folks, who lived and died in sunny Italy. The boyhood of our subject was spent in his native land, so that he grew up under an environment calculated to develop in him a geniality of temperament and an artistic taste.

Leaving home Mr. Costella spent four years in France and two years in England, during which favoring periods he became quite a conversational linguist. At the age of twenty-six years he came to the United States, and in a short time after his arrival, he reached San Francisco, where he remained for six months and then he moved southward to Santa Cruz. At Soquel he was offered work in a sawmill and remained there for thirteen years. He then started a hotel on Front street, which was burned down in the fire of 1894, leaving him with a total loss.

Rebuilding the hostelry, he named it the Garibaldi Hotel, his first inn having been called the Garibaldi House and from the beginning the venture succeeded, for he gave most careful attention to every detail and the wants of his patrons, and no guest was allowed to go away dissatisfied if the proprietor could help it. In 1920 Mr. Costella turned the flourishing business over to his sons, and they are today the managers of the place, which includes five acres, with forty acres of adjoining vineyard.

In Italy Mr. Costella married Miss Delphina Raggazzi, and to them were born the following children: John, who attained the age of thirty and died, a true patriot, from sickness contracted while in the United States army during the World war; Louis; Amadeo; Peter; Albino; Norman; and Joseph. There are also seven grandchildren. One of the few really early pioneers of this section, Mr. Costella is now taking it easy near the scene of his former hard labors. He is an honored member of the Odd Fellow's, the Druids, and the Italian Benevolent Society, all of which he joined in 1876.

Source: History of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties, California : cradle of California's history and romance : dating from the planting of the cross of Christendom upon the shores of Monterey Bay by Fr. Junipero Serra, and those intrepid adventurers who accompanied him, down to the present day. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1925, 890 pgs.