Sorry to see the old rock Bruno house in Helper demolished as the state gets ready to put in the Helper interchange. My grandfather, Luigi Borla, who was a rock mason by trade, did the rock work on the house. He also did the rock work on the Spring Canyon houses. The house was built from rock from the nearby mountains and chiseled by hand. The door on the west side of the house was so those that worked on the house could have a place to stay.
Jim Bruno came from a village in Italy about three miles west of the village up in the Alps, Noli, where my father was born. My father's family was from Usseglio, Italy, up in the Alps, the last town before you enter France. Both of his grandmothers were from Lyon, France. He always said they brought them from France and turned them into Italians. During the winter his family lived in Noli, a town further down the Alps, where he was from near the Bruno village. There was too much snow to stay in Usseglio during the winter.
At the age of nine, my father started going into Germany with his father doing rock work. His job was to carry the bucket of cement. The weight of the buckets caused his fingers to he permanently bent. He could not fatten his fingers.
Jim Bruno was probably my father's best friend especially since he came from the same area in Italy as my father's family. At one time anyone from the same area was welcomed in this country by fellow countrymen with open arms like family.
Helper now has three historic rock homes, the Biscardi houses, Limone house, and what is left of the Gigliotti building in Martin. It took 20 years to build that house. He hauled the rock from the nearby mountains. Now only the walls remain. Someone burned the building several years ago.
Several of us on the first museum board thought the Gigliotti building would make a nice home for the museum since it was on the Highway 6 with easy on and easy off access. It was also very visible from the highway to attract tourists.
Bryon Matsuda has never been mentioned in connection with the museum as it is today. It was he that moved the museum from the auditorium to the present site. And then Frances Cunningham was very instrumental in developing the present museum.
Let's hope the last historic homes are safe from the state demolishing crews.