The Bianchi Western Museum in Temecula

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The Rancho Army-Navy Store now occupies the building constructed for the Frontier Museum. Valley News/Courtesy photo
Rebecca Marshall Farnbach Special to Valley News Those of us who came to Temecula during the mass migration of 1988 to 1998 missed seeing John Bianchi’s remarkable museum, but we are familiar with the building designed for it, today’s Rancho Army-Navy Store on Jefferson Avenue. John Bianchi, whose great-grandfather Frank Torchia made custom shoes in Brooklyn, New York, learned leather working early in his life. In 1945 when John was 8 years old, he went to a rodeo at Madison Square Garden, where his dad, who served with the New York City Police Department, bought John a cowboy belt. John treasured the belt, which was a symbol of the Old West and an item that inspired him later in life. When he was 12 years old, John and his family moved to Monrovia, California, driving along
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