Dentice di Frasso, a member of Italian nobility, once owned land in Summerland. (Contributed)

Dentice di Frasso, a member of Italian nobility, once owned land in Summerland. (Contributed)

Italian nobility family once lived in Summerland

Dentice di Frasso and his family owned land in the Prairie Valley area

By David Gregory

One of Summerland’s very first pioneers was Count Dentice de Frasso, a member of Italian nobility.

In July 1902, eight members of the Dentice di Frasso family agreed to purchase land in Prairie Valley. This agreement took place before Shaughnessy had finalized the purchase of George Barclay’s cattle ranch and one year before Shaughnessy had formed the Summerland Development Company.

From the Middle Ages until March 1861, Italy was not really a single country but rather a group of separate kingdoms.

In 1861, King Victor Emmanuel united these separate states. Italy’s nobility class continued until the creation of the Italian Republic in 1946.

The Italian nobility were given titles such as prince, duke, marquis viscount, baron and count and countess.

The Dentice di Frasso land in Prairie Valley was located on present-day Dale Meadows Road and beside the new Millionaires’ Row Cider Company.

READ ALSO: Rosedale Avenue in Summerland dates to 1910

READ ALSO: Summerland’s first council was elected by acclamation

At one time, Prairie Valley was known as Millionaires’ Row because several wealthy Canadian citizens owned orchard land here.

The eight members of the Dentice di Frasso included Theresa, Gabriella, Luisa, Marianne, Francesco, Alfred, Luigi and Carlo. The last three had served in the Italian parliament.

Count Francesco Dentice di Frasso was the family member who signed the purchase agreement on behalf of the eight family members.

According to development company irrigation records, it stated that Count Francesco was living in Summerland in 1907, most likely as a guest in someone’s home. From tax records, there was no building on the property until 1914. In 1923, the property was sold to Mrs. Van Allen.

Of the eight members of the Dentice di Frasso family, the most interesting was Count Carlo Dentice di Frasso and his wife Countess Dorothy was even more interesting.

They were married in 1923, the year they sold the Summerland property.

The countess was described as “impossibly rich.”

With her wealth, they acquired the Palace di Madama in Rome, just north of Vatican City. They also acquired a mansion in Beverley Hills, Calif.

Dorothy di Frasso used both places to host celebrity parties.

In the 1920s and 1930s, Hollywood stars and the European elite frequented the countess’s parties. Dorothy di Frasso became known as the “Countess of Beverly Hills.”

Hollywood stars included Gary Cooper, Frank Sinatra, Jean Harlow, George Raft, Marlene Dietrich, Katherine Hepburn, John Barrymore and mobster Benjamin ‘Bugsy’ Siegel.

Dorothy di Frasso was a business partner and close friend of Bugsy Siegel. Warren Beatty portrayed Siegel in the 1991 movie Bugsy. His character was also used in the movie The Godfather. Siegel was gunned down in 1947 in a manner similar to Moe Green’s killing in the Godfather movie.

Dentice di Frasso died in 1945 and his wife died in 1954. Italian dictator Benito Mussolini had appropriated their Palace of Madama in 1941.

Today, the Italian government uses the palace for government meetings.

As for the Beverley Hills mansion, it recently sold for $23.5 million.

To report a typo, email:
news@summerlandreview.com
.



news@summerlandreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

history

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The City of Vernon is sending a letter to the provincial government to request that church be deemed an essential service amid the pandemic. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Vernon mayor scolded for revealing stance on making church essential

Coun. Scott Anderson calls Cummings’ actions ‘arrogant’

Heather Barker. (File)
Manslaughter charge laid in Vernon woman’s 2018 death

Shaun Ross Wiebe, 43, faces manslaughter and assault charges related to the death of Heather Barker

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin makes preparations at Toronto’s mass vaccination clinic, Jan. 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
3 deaths, 234 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health over the weekend

One death connected to outbreak at Kamloops’ Royal Inland Hospital, where 20 patients and 28 staff have tested positive

People in Kelowna’s City Park on May 18, 2020. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Downtown Kelowna’s City Park scheduled for facelift

Designs for the future of City Park unveiled; construction to begin fall 2021

The scene of a serious crash on Highway 33 in Kelowna that killed one and severely injured two others on June 20, 2018. (File)
Driver found guilty of causing death, injury in 2018 Kelowna crash

Travis Ryan Hennessy will face sentencing at a later date

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

Zaudanawng “Jay-Dan” Maran in his Creston home. Hanging on the wall behind him is a logo of Kachin’s Manaw festival. Photo: Aaron Hemens
From Myanmar to Creston: The story of a refugee

In October 2007, Zaudanawng “Jay-Dan” Maran and his friends encountered a woman being sexually assaulted by two Myanmar soldiers.

Kamloops This Week.
48 COVID-19 cases and one death associated with outbreak at Kamloops hospital

One of the 20 patients infected has died, meanwhile 28 staff with COVID-19 are isolating at home

(Michael Rodriguez - Capital News staff)
Downtown stairwell fire suspicious, Kelowna RCMP say

Crews were called to Gotham Nightclub for a report of a stairwell fire

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
2nd COVID vaccine doses on hold as B.C. delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

Head Brewer Kody Rosentreter, owner Wes Greve and taproom manager Lisa Deleo celebrated North Basin Brewing’s grand opening Jan. 22 and 23, 2020. (Contributed)
Osoyoos’ first microbrewery celebrates grand opening

The brewery hopes to show that the Okanagan is more than just wine country

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran addresses media from the front steps of council chambers on March 23. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna, West Kelowna still looking to opt-out of speculation tax

Mayors say spec tax has missed the mark, revenue largely coming out of Canadians’ pockets

Most Read