Latino Heritage Scholars, an initiative of Hispanic Access Foundation, held a congressional briefing in coordination with the Congressional Historic Preservation Caucus on Feb. 7 to share the recommendations from its Place, Story and Culture report, which names the top 10 sites that embody the architectural, cultural and deep historical roots of the Latino community that are currently in need of preservation.
“Preserving historic places is a key part of any community — strengthening our sense of place, while honoring the generations and cultures that came before us,” said Representative Earl Blumenauer, co-chair of the Congressional Historic Preservation Caucus. “I applaud these young scholars for their hard work in shedding light on the need to honor Latino history in the United States.”
The Latino Heritage Scholars — three young historic preservation professionals and academics — developed this report to raise awareness about the lack of Latino representation in historic preservation and to elevate stories and places of historic significance to the American narrative. Many of the sites face threats from weathering of structures to development and gentrification that jeopardize the long-term future of the location.
“Latinos have been integral to the success of the United States for generations. We sought to uncover the shared history and diverse narratives through extensive research and community outreach,” said Manuel Galaviz, a co-author of the report who worked on earning National Historical Landmark status for Chicano Park in California. “However, it is not enough to simply bring these stories out from the shadows. We must ensure that these places are protected federally through National Registry of Historic Sites, National Landmarks, and National Monuments to ensure that future generations can visit these places and learn about them.”
The sites selected in this report are eligible for inclusion into local, state, and national historic registers. Some sites already possess historic designations but require further protections or greater recognition in order to ensure that future generations can experience and learn firsthand from the historic narratives of the United States.
“Our hope is that in highlighting these locations, we can raise awareness about how we need to preserve these locations that are essential 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 locations highlighted in the report include Pueblo of Tortugas (New Mexico), Trujillo Adobe (California), Corpus Aquino Gallegos Ranch (Colorado), Castner Range (Texas), Rio Vista Farm (Texas), McDonnell Hall (California), Forty Acres (California), Santa Rita Hall (Arizona), Lincoln High School (California) and Balmy Alley (California). The full report, which details each location and the need for preservation, is available for download at https://www.hispanicaccess.org/sites/default/files/images/LHS_Report.pdf.