New Report Identifies Top 10 Latino Historical and Cultural Sites in Need of Protection

Today, the Latino Heritage Scholars, a group of young Latino professionals focused on historic preservation and ensuring that Latino history is protected, shared, and celebrated as part of the U.S. narrative, released the new report Place, Story and Culture. The report 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.

“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.”

Latino Heritage Scholars, an initiative of the Hispanic Access Foundation, actively 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 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 Top 10 sites presented Place, Story and Culture are:

  • #1: Pueblo of Tortugas (New Mexico)
    Tortugas Pueblo is representative of the mestizo identity. It is full of history and culture with traditions that represent the blending of indigenous Native American and Hispanic cultures unique to the area.
     
  • #2: The Trujillo Adobe (California)
    Built in 1863, the Trujillo Adobe is one of the last remnants of the original settlements of Riverside, California. It tells the story of the U.S. westward expansion and the role of Spanish and Latino families migrating from the southwestern state of New Mexico to California.
     
  • #3: Corpus Aquino Gallegos Ranch (Colorado)
    Located in Costilla County, Colorado near the town of San Luis in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the Gallegos family has lived, owned, and actively maintained their traditional agricultural practices of the region at the Corpus Aquino Gallegos Ranch for over five generations.
     
  • #4: Castner Range (Texas)
    Castner Range, the backdrop to El Paso, Texas owes its history to that of the Native American communities that once occupied the area, of early Spanish travelers, and the growth of U.S. military training. Latinos have influenced its landscape, history, culture, and traditions since the 1500s.
     
  • #5: Rio Vista Farm (Texas)
    Rio Vista Farm, located in Socorro, Texas, served as a processing center for the Bracero Program, the historic binational guest workers program that brought Latino workers to the U.S. to fulfill workforce needs in American cities. Today, 18 adobe structures remain on the 14-acre farm.
     
  • #6: McDonnell Hall (California)
    Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission Chapel, better known as McDonnell Hall, in the community of Mayfield, San Jose, CA is associated with the civil rights leader Cesar E. Chavez, the activist efforts of the Community Service Organization, and Latino catholic faith-based activism.
     
  • #7: Forty Acres (California)
    Forty Acres in Delano, California, is a site associated with the first headquarters of the agricultural labor union United Farm Workers of America (UFW). The site is significant to the labor movement as it is the first agricultural labor union in the United States.
     
  • #8: Santa Rita Hall (Arizona)
    Santa Rita Hall, a single story brick building located in El Campito neighborhood of south Phoenix, Arizona, became an emblem of the UFW in 1972 after Governor Jack Williams signed the House Bill 2134 which would deny farm workers the right to boycott and strike during harvest seasons. Cesar Chavez organized a 24-day water only fast at Santa Rita Hall in response to the Governor’s remarks.
     
  • #9: Lincoln High School (California)
    Abraham Lincoln High School in East Los Angeles, California is one of five locations significant to the youth social movement focused on elevating the quality of education for Mexican American students. Mexican American high school students from East Los Angeles walked-out of their classrooms to protest the poor quality of education they were receiving.
     
  • #10: Balmy Alley (California)
    In the Mission District of the City of San Francisco, California, between 24th Street and Garfield square is a block long alley known for its concentrated collection of murals. Since the inception of this mural project, artists have contributed to Balmy Alley with a specific political agenda. The walls of the alley are filled with beautiful artworks that shed light on human rights and political issues.

“Numerous sites -- places that embody the architectural, cultural and deep historical roots of the Latino community within the shared national identity -- dot our American landscapes and cities that tell a different story about our past,” 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 the need for preservation, is available for download at https://www.hispanicaccess.org/sites/default/files/images/LHS_Report.pdf

“Congratulations to Hispanic Access Foundation (HAF) for supporting the next generation of young Latino Scholars as they build upon the historic work put forward by the National Latino Scholars, advisors to the National Park Service, and authors of American Latinos and the Making of the United States: A Theme Study,” said Josephine S. Talamantez, executive committee member for Latinos in Heritage Conservation and an advisory member to the Latino Heritage Scholars initiative. “The list of endangered sites in need of preservation expands upon this legacy and is an important body of work in heritage efforts.”

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