“Even though for generations Latinos have continued to prove they are essential to the United States, sites that commemorate Latino heritage are disproportionately excluded when it comes to officially designated heritage and conservation sites,” said Manuel Galaviz, co-author of the report who worked on earning National Historical Landmark status for Chicano Park in California. “We sought to uncover the shared history and diverse narratives through extensive research and community outreach. However, it is not enough to simply bring these stories out from the shadows. We must ensure these places are federally protected through the National Registry of Historic Sites, Traditional Cultural Properties, and National Parks and Monuments through the Antiquities Act to ensure future generations can visit these places and learn about them.”
The Latino Heritage Scholars work with community leaders, historic preservation professionals and stakeholders to promote the preservation of sites that embody the contribution of Latinos to the shared national identity and narrative. Many of the sites face threats from weathering of structures to development and gentrification that jeopardize the long-term future of the location.
“Our hope is that in highlighting these locations, we can raise awareness about why we need to preserve these locations and how essential they are to telling a more complete story of the contributions of diverse communities to this nation,” said Norma Hartell, a co-author of the report who successfully worked to list the New Mexican Chope’s Town Cafe and Bar on the National Registry of Historic Places. “We want to help Latinos feel pride in their histories, culture and communities.”
The seven sites presented in Place, Story and Culture: An Inclusive Approach to Protecting Latino Heritage Sites are:
- #1: Castner Range (Texas)
In the heart of El Paso, Texas, Castner Range provides a solid backdrop to the burgeoning city, which has grown around the range and has embraced it as a feature of the landscape. Castner Range has been the ancestral home to the Comanche and Apache people, and various Indigenous communities continue to view the range as sacred.
- #2: Chepa’s Park (California)
Located in the Logan Barrio neighborhood of Santa Ana, California’s oldest Mexican American neighborhood, Chepa’s Park is more than a site for recreational activities—it is a landmark serving as a testament to the legacy of community leader Josephina “Chepa” Andrade.
- #3: Duranguito (Texas)
Downtown El Paso has a neighborhood called “Duranguito,” named after Durango Street on its western side, with a unique and storied history. It is the oldest neighborhood in the city, from its beginnings as a conversion site of Spanish colonizers to its "zona libre" period during the U.S.-Mexico War to its continued binational, multiethnic community.
- #4: Fefa’s Market (Rhode Island)
Fefa’s Market in Providence is a notable site to the Latino community in Rhode Island. In the mid-1960s Josefina Rosario opened what became the first Dominican-owned bodega on Broad Street. Rosario, recognized by her nickname “Dona Fefa,” became instrumental in the growth and evolution of the Dominican community that sprawled in Providence.
- #5: Friendship Park (California)
Located at the southwestern edge of the United States and the northwestern corner of Latin America, Friendship Park is not only a significant place to the history of the United States but is necessary to transborder cultural connectivity between San Diego, California, and Tijuana, Mexico.
- #6: Gila River (New Mexico)
The Gila River system is a valuable resource to all New Mexicans in that it provides a beautiful natural landscape to be enjoyed and appreciated by people from all over, a necessary environment for wildlife to thrive, an important window into the history of New Mexico, a significant agricultural resource, and an important place to further the study of our natural environment.
- #7: Hazard Park (California)
Hazard Park is an important historical site contributing to one of the most significant youth-led Chicano social movements, the 1968 East Los Angeles Blowouts. It is also among the few green public spaces in East Los Angeles, on which generations of families have depended for relaxation and recreation.
“Numerous sites dot our American landscapes and cities that tell a story about our diverse past – places that embody the architectural, cultural and deep historical roots of the Latino community,” said Ashleyann Perez-Rivera, co-author of the report. “By failing to take steps toward protection, we risk losing pieces of our past forever.”
The full report, which details each location and its need for preservation, is available for download here.