ANTONIO M. FORNI.
Among the native sons of sunny Italy who came to the Napa valley and here not only gained material success for
themselves but also contributed in a very definite way to the upbuilding and prosperity of this community, was
the late Antonio M. Forni, of St. Helena, Napa county. Mr. Forni was born in Lombardi, Italy, and received his
education in the schools of his home neighborhood. When but fifteen years of age he came to the United States with
a party of his fellow countrymen, locating in California in 1876. For a while he was employed at day wages here,
having walked into Napa county, a poor boy, carrying his sleeping blankets on his back; but he was ambitious and
willing to work, and in the course of time, by the exercise of persistent industry and wise economy, he gained
marked success, becoming one of St. Helena's prominent and well established citizens. In 1885 he made a trip back
to his native land and there was married to Miss Mariana Forni, with whom he returned to Napa county in that same
year. They became the parents of a daughter, who is now Mrs. Inez Supple, of San Francisco.
In company with Captain G. Rossi and Louis Vasconi, Mr. Forni owned and operated the Europa Hotel, in St. Helena.
The hotel was destroyed by fire in 1890, after which Mr. Forni engaged in the cigar business in St. Helena, in
which he did very well. Later he acquired the "Lombardi Wine Cellars," which are located about two miles
north of St. Helena, and in the operation of this business he met with splendid success. Since his death in 1909
his widow has been continuing the operation of the place, in association with Charles B. Forni, a cousin of her
husband and who owns a third interest in the business.
Antonio M. Forni was a man of fine public spirit, progressive in his ideas and methods, and he cooperated with
his neighbors in all measure for the public good. He was the founder of the Italian Society of St. Helena, was
a member of the board of town trustees and served as mayor of the town. It was mainly through his efforts that
the first stone bridge was built in Napa county, it being constructed of native stone, quarried in the county,
and after that many such bridges were constructed in this county. He was a member of the order of Druids and the
Improved Order of Red Men. Personally he was a man of very likable character, and he was held in the highest regard
by all who came in contact with him. His career clearly demonstrated what can be accomplished, even in the face
of unfavorable conditions, by one who is not afraid to work and who exercises the common qualities of good sense
and sound judgment. He was in the best sense of the term a self made man and well deserved the fine measure of
success which crowned his efforts.
History of Solano County, California
BY: Marguerite Hune
Napa County, California
BY: Harry Lawrence Gunn
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Napa County, CA
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