December 23, 2011

Passing of William “Bill” Smith

We have recently learned of the passing of one of the founding members of the Friends of Allensworth, William “Bill” Smith of Fremont, California.

When I first visited Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park on a warm September afternoon in 1994, it was Bill Smith who gave me, my wife Sharon, her mother, and our two children a tour of the park. He unlocked the school house, and told us about the “dignity cup” sitting on the student desks. From there we walked down to the Scott and Grosse Drug Store, which also had to be unlocked. Then we walked over to the Colonel’s house, where he told us how the house had been ordered from a catalog and delivered on the train. We ended the tour at the Mary Dickerson Memorial Library. I still have a picture of Bill and our children walking to the library.

When Bill reached the gates of heaven I am confident that the Allensworth greeting committee was standing next to God and the angels; representatives of the Allensworth family, the Singleton family, the Hackett family, the Stockett family, the Towns family, the Payne family, the Overr family, the Hindsman family , the Archer family, the Hall family and the Cowes family. They were there to say thank you. Thank you for telling our story, the story of how we took a small isolated piece of land and turned it into a community, a community where African Americans could pursue the American dream. A place we could call our own. Thank you for over thirty years of service to Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park, for answering ranger Rod Parsons’ 1979 appeal for people to serve as docents for the newly opened state park. Thank you for being part of that small group of devotees that formed the Friends of Allensworth in 1983. Thank you for organizing fund raisers to purchase furniture for the restored homes, and for organizing park cleanup days. Thank you for everything you have done to make the park what it is today.

In addition to being founding members of the Friends of Allensworth Bill and Susie organized the Fremont Chapter of the Friends of Allensworth. Susie is currently serving as the chapter’s president. She is also the state wide vice-president and membership chair for the Friends of Allensworth.

On behalf of the San Diego Chapter of the Friends of Allensworth, I join the Allensworth greeting committee in saying thank you for everything Bill and Susie have done for Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park. Susie please know that you and your family are in our prayers.

Church Services will be held:

Date:    Thursday, December 29, 2011
Time:    11:00 am
Where: Palma Ceia Baptist Church
             28605 Ruus Road
             Hayward, CA
             (510) 786-2866

Burial Services will be held:

Date:     Friday, December 30, 2011
Time:    11:00 am
Where: Sacramento Valley National Cemetery
             5810 Midway Road
             Dixon, CA 95620
             (707) 693-2460

Please send flowers to:

Chapel of Angels funeral home
40842 Fremont Blvd
Fremont, CA 94538
(510) 897-2439

December 07, 2011

“Mayor” Nettie Morrison Honored

More than thirty years ago Mrs. Nettie Morrison left the conveniences of Los Angeles, the land of big dreams, and moved to the remote farmlands of Allensworth, an unincorporated township affectionately known as the “town that refused to die.”

On Tuesday, December 6th the Tulare County Board of Supervisors issued a proclamation “honoring Nettie Morrison for 30 years of advocacy and dedicated leadership to the community of Allensworth.”

In addition to the achievements mentioned in the proclamation (below) Mrs. Morrison was a member of the Allensworth Study Panel that created the Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park. She was also the first president of the Friends of Allensworth Cooperating Association. In 2007 when Mrs. Morrison heard about plans to build two mega dairies next to Allensworth she sounded the alarm, calling friends and supporters in Los Angeles, San Diego, Oakland, San Francisco, Bakersfield and other cities. Bus loads of supporters turned out to the Board of Supervisors meeting to voice their concerns about the negative impact that the dairies would have on Allensworth.

Because of health problems last month Mrs. Morrison resigned from the Allensworth Community Council; the council she helped form in 2002.

“Mayor” Nettie Morrison, thank you for refusing to let Allensworth die.

Stephen Hill, Sr.

County of Tulare Board of Supervisors



WHEREAS, Nettie, as a dedicated community leader; became a founding member of the Friends of Allensworth in 1982. This organization has proudly established chapters throughout the state of California; and

WHEREAS, known for her service as the Chairperson of the Allensworth Community Council, Nettie was appointed as the “Mayor” by former Tulare County Supervisor Connie Conway; and

WHEREAS, a founder of the Allensworth Christian Church, Nettie successfully raised funds to relocate the church from the Allensworth State Historic Park to the current township of Allensworth in 2000; and

WHEREAS, Nettie established the Food Commodities Program for Allensworth in 1981 and has continued to ensure that essential commodities are distributed to the community on a monthly basis; and

WHEREAS, Nettie is an environmental steward dedicated to the community’s vision and goals; and

WHEREAS, Nettie served on the Board of the Allensworth Progressive Association (APA), currently a non-profit organization that serves the needs of the community and was the original Town Council established in 1908; and

WHEREAS, Nettie’s legacy of leadership and devotion to her community will be cherished and admired by her two sons, three daughters, two daughters-in-law, three sons-in-law, thirteen grandchildren, and fourteen great grandchildren.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT PROCLAIMED that the Tulare County Board of Supervisors does hereby honor Nettie Morrison for her service, advocacy, along with her unending dedication to the community of Allensworth

December 6, 2011

November 21, 2011

California Forever Documentary

Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park is one of the parks in the new documentary “California Forever: The Story of California State Parks.” The Backcountry Pictures INC production will be shown on KQED in 2012.

Forever California will let you experience the beginning of the California State Parks movement; witness the battles and challenges of keeping our state parks open; and celebrate the victories.

Backcountry Pictures has been invited to show California Forever at the SYRCL’s (South Yuba River Citizens League) 10th Annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival, January 13-15, 2012 in the historic downtown of Nevada City, California.

You can view the California Forever trailer on the Backcountry Pictures website.

Stephen Hill, Sr.

November 17, 2011

Tribute to the Spirit of Allensworth

Visalia artist Stephen Diamant has made the hour long drive down highway 99 to Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park numerous times and has come to feel that the story of Allensworth is so valuable to understanding our history that he built a tribute to the spirit of Allensworth. “Work The Dream” is the latest addition to the permanent collection of The African-American Historical & Cultural Museum of the San Joaquin Valley.

Diamant found the figures on the 4 foot by 4 foot piece in a Visalia antique shop. He said “I found them interesting because they represented ethnic stereotypes which challenged me to find a suitable arena to display them.”

Before finding a permanent home “Work The Dream” was displayed at the International Agri-Center during the 2011 Southern California Edison Black History program and as part of the Arts Visalia gallery’s 2011 kick-off show in February. Diamant believes “Work The Dream” is “an ongoing work because every aspect in the setting represents to me a piece of the life that existed in that historical setting. I even have a small Klan logo placed somewhere in the exhibit.”

The African-American Historical & Cultural Museum of the San Joaquin Valley is located at 1857 Fulton St., Fresno, CA 93721. Museum hours are Thursday and Saturday 1-6pm, Sunday 2-5pm and Monday and Friday by appointment.

Stephen Hill, Sr.

November 11, 2011

A Little Time to Pray

   A precursor to the full length documentary “A Little Time to Pray”

The African American towns of Mound Bayou, Mississippi; Nicodemus, Kansas; and Allensworth, California are highlighted in the documentary “A Little Time to Pray.” The documentary is being made by Gail Myers the founder and director of Farms to Grow, INC.; an organization that supports small African American farmers nationwide by purchasing farm supplies like seeds, hoop houses and tillers.

Farms to Grow will present the George Washington Carver award to a California farmer for excellence in agriculture on Saturday, November 12th at Preservation Park Niles Hall 668 13th Street, Oakland.

Stephen Hill, Sr.

November 04, 2011

President Thomas Stratton Delivers Postcards

Friends of Allensworth State Wide President Thomas Stratton and board member Don Hamlin delivered the oversized postcards that were signed at Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park, to the Governor’s office. The oversized “Closing Parks is Bad for California” postcards were delivered at the conclusion of the California State Parks Foundation’s Save Our State Parks March & Rally on Tuesday, November 1st.

The State Parks supporters met in front of the Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park (one of the state parks on the closure list) and walked approximately ½ mile to the Capitol and held a rally to protest the closure of 70 state parks.

After delivering the postcards, the park supporters packed into the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife and the Assembly Committee for Accountability & Administrative Review’s legislative hearing.

You can endorse the Save Our State Parks campaign by going to the Save Our State Parks web site.

President Stratton and Mr. Hamlin thank you for representing the Friends of Allensworth at the State Capitol.

Stephen Hill, Sr.

November 02, 2011

Civil War Sesquicentennial 2011 - 2015

President Obama signs a declaration to declare Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia, as a national monument on November 1, 2011.

2011 marks the beginning of the sesquicentennial of the war that pitted brother against brother. Over the next four years in museums and university lecture halls, at conferences, and on battlefields across America the Sesquicentennial of War Between the States will be commemorated.

The role of African Americans in the Civil War is not going unnoticed. The 2011 National Black History Month theme was “African Americans and the Civil War.” This was also the focus of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History’s (ASALH) 85th Annual Black History Luncheon. (The ASALH was started by Carter G. Woodson, the Father of Black History.) In July the African American Civil War Memorial and Museum held its Grand Opening and is hosting a curator lecture series throughout the year. The U. S. National Library of Medicine put together a six-banner traveling exhibition titled “Binding Wounds, Pushing Boundaries: African Americans in Civil War Medicine” that explores the African American men and women who served as surgeons and nurses during the American Civil War. The Contraband Historical Society called their two day sesquicentennial celebration “Escape for Freedom: From Slave to Contraband.” The two day event at Fort Monroe, where Union Major General Benjamin Butler decided that escaped slaves were “contraband of war”, featured a conference, parade, and re-enactors.

It was in October of 1862 that a young enslaved Allen Allensworth threw on an old tattered Union Army jacket, put a small campfire pot on his head, covered his face in mud then marched down Main Street with the soldiers of the Forty-fourth Illinois; thus becoming “contraband of war.” Allensworth would spend his first days of freedom as a nurse with the Forty-fourth Illinois.

On April 3, 1863 Allensworth enlisted in the Navy, becoming one of over 20,000 African Americans who served in the Union Navy. Unlike the African Americans that served in special units in the Union Army, these brave men serviced side by side on the same vessels as white sailors.

On November 4, 1864 Allensworth was serving as the captain’s steward on the gunboat Tawah as it patrolled up and down the Tennessee River protecting the Union Army supply depot at Johnsonville, Tennessee when Confederate Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest’s artillery forces opened fire. After several hours of fighting the Tawah, Key West and Elfin gunboats were all badly damaged. Rather than letting the gunboats fall into Confederate hands the crews set the gunboats on fire.

Severe winds caused the fire to jump to supplies stored on the riverbank then to a supply depot warehouse. Confederate artillery forces began firing on the supply depot, causing the Union soldiers to take cover rather than fight the fires.

After two years of service Allensworth was honorably discharged from the Navy as a Petty Officer First Class.

On December 30, 1904 President Theodore Roosevelt commissioned Allensworth as a Major; one of the first two Army chaplains to be promoted to the rank of Major. In 1882 Congress passed a law that permitted veterans of the Civil War to be promoted one rank on retirement from the Army. As a result Chaplain Allensworth was placed on the retired list of the Army with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, at the time the highest rank obtained by an African American.

Stephen Hill, Sr.

October 27, 2011

PG and E Helps Allensworth Lower Energy Cost

Working through its local government partnership program and a charitable grant PG and E (Pacific Gas and Electric Company) launched an energy-efficiency project in the communities of Allensworth and Alpaugh. PG and E contracted Staples and Associates to convert the T12 fluorescent light fixtures to more efficient T8 fixtures in the Allensworth Community Center, the Allensworth Christian Church, and the Allensworth Elementary School. The T12 ballast and bulbs inside of each fixture were replaced with more efficient T8 electromagnetic ballasts and energy-saving fluorescent light bulbs.

Robert Cardenas, superintendent of the Allensworth Elementary School District, told Tracy Correa, Writer for the PG and E "Currents" web site, that “he hopes to save up to 20 percent on utility costs, which would mean the school could save more than $5,000 a year.” PG and E is upgrading the light fixtures and making other energy saving improvement at no cost to the Allensworth residents.

Stephen Hill, Sr.

October 25, 2011

CSPF Comments on High-Speed Rail Route

Traci Verardo-Torres, vice-president of Government Affairs for the California State Parks Foundation (CSPF), has generously given us permission to publish these excerpts from the CSPF’s comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Report/Statement (DEIR) for the Fresno-to-Bakersfield section of the California High-Speed Rail.

In her October 11, 2011 letter to Tom Umberg, chair of the California High-Speed Rail Authority board of directors, Verarado-Torres addressed the impact that the High-Speed Rail will have on Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority has announced that it will not release a Final Environment Impact Report for the Fresno-to-Bakersfield section of the High-Speed Rail as planned in January but will issue a Revised DEIR in the spring of 2012. There will be another official comment period following the release of the revised DEIR.

Stephen Hill, Sr.


Given the cultural and historical importance of Allensworth and the legislative intent to protect the park, CSPF is concerned that the proposed Project will have long lasting, negative impacts to Allensworth. Specifically, the proposed Project will impact the historical character at Allensworth, create barriers to public access and negatively impact the visitors experience at the park. In addition to those concerns, we do not believe the DEIR adequately analyzed all proposed alternatives presented. Our concerns are outlined below.

Degradation of the historical character of Allensworth

The high speed train operation will result in noise impacts to Allensworth, but the DEIR does not present a clear and comprehensive analysis of the anticipated noise impacts to the park. Of the noise measurement sites, only two were selected just southeast of Allensworth. It is difficult to verify in the DEIR if the locations are sufficient to determine the extent of the noise that will be increased at the park. The noise analysis does not consider the wide use of activities by visitors at the park. Specifically, what impacts will occur to overnight visitors at the campgrounds? Or impacts to day-use visitors that walk through the historical district? What are impacts to the numerous special events that take place throughout the year? These questions are not examined in the DEIR. Further noise analysis and testing is required near visitor utilized areas to understand the impact to Allensworth.

Of the mitigation measures suggested in the DEIR, none sufficiently reduce the impact of noise to Allensworth to less than significant. Installing sound barriers is not proposed at Allensworth, which is inappropriate given the unique park characteristics. If sound barriers were constructed, a new modern feature would be introduced that will lead to degradation of the visual character at Allensworth and are therefore not an applicable mitigation measure.


Both alternatives studied in the DEIR create significant visual impacts.

The Burlington North Santa Fe Alignment Alternative (“BNSF alternative”) track would be located less than 100 feet from the park, introducing a new contemporary and disruptive feature at Allensworth. This is reinforced by the analysis in the DEIR itself, “24-foot-high OCS system components and wires, right-of-way fencing, and high speed rail trains would introduce distinctly modern industrial elements into the visual foreground that would alter the character of the site and lower visual quality” (DEIR, p. 3.16.61).

The Allensworth bypass alignment would position the park between two rail lines and DEIR concludes would be visible at the park. Unfortunately, the DEIR presents only one visual simulation from Allensworth. Additional simulations at other locations at the park, such as the campground or other historical structures, are required to fully analyze the visual impacts to the park.

Public Access
Park entrance

It is unclear whether the BNSF alternative will require the closure and moving of the entrance. The DEIR notes in the Transportation section, “Twenty three of 25 miles of track would be at grade within Tulare County, on the east side of BSNF Railway right-of-way. Elevated segments are at the Tule River and Alpaugh Railroad spur. Local roads would be maintained, avoided, or realigned except for closures of Angola Drive and Palmer Avenue” (DEIR, p. 3.2-50).

Does the closure of Palmer Avenue mean a new park entrance will be created? This is a significant issue that is not sufficient addressed in the DEIR. In the Appendix 2-B railroad crossing, line No 70, Palmer Road is listed as closing. Under line No 71 for Avenue 24, an above road crossing is proposed. This seems to suggest that access to the park will be provided from a southern access entrance. It is unclear why the potential closure of the current public access and creation of a new entrance to the park is only disclosed in a few areas in the DEIR and appears to be hidden. If the primary entrance to the park is moved, numerous questions emerge:
  • Will the new entrance impose any new visual or noise degradation to the park?
  • When will the permanent closure occur?
  • How will the road closure be implemented?
Changes of public access to Allensworth are critical to understand when evaluating the proposed Project. The DEIR is insufficient and unclear on these points.


Construction of the BNSF alternative will result in public access disturbances and impediments to Allensworth. As noted above, the park entrance is located at Palmer Avenue, which is part of the land that would be acquired as part of the alternative. If the BNSF alternative is selected, it is critical that public access to Allensworth remains accessible. Without the opportunity to review a draft or final plan for construction, CSPF emphasizes that every possible attempt should be made to minimize the overall impact during construction.


The DEIR concludes that when the project comes to fruition, the current Amtrak line that services Allensworth will be adjusted in response to the completion of the proposed Project. It is not clear from the DEIR if the proposed Project will result in the discontinuance of specific rail stops at Allensworth. Transportation planning should seek to maximize, not eliminate public transportation options to outdoor recreation and culturally significant opportunities, and CSPF urges the continuance of park-specific Amtrak service to Allensworth.

DEIR fails to adequately analyze all the proposed alignments

The DEIR presents three alternative alignments in consideration to Allensworth, but only two are analyzed in the environmental review documents. The utilization of the existing corridor with BNSF, and the Allensworth Bypass that would go east of the park are examined as potential alternative alignments of the proposed Project. Another option suggested, but not analyzed, is to relocate the BNSF railway adjacent to the eastern side of the Allensworth Bypass. There is a lack of a full discussion of this alternative. The DEIR reports this alignment has not been discussed with BNSF, but that does not preclude the need to analyze potential impacts from the proposed alternative if mentioned as a possible alternative alignment in the draft document.

October 19, 2011

Allensworth Hub for Organic Vegetables

State Park interpreter Steven Ptomey and Allensworth residents
 standing in front of the restored living agricultural display.

Depending on the time of year that future visitors come to Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park they could see rows of freshly plowed soil, seeding starting to break through the top soil, or red tomatoes, green peppers and other vegetables in the park’s living agricultural display. The display is the result of the California Department of Parks and Recreation entering into a partnership with the residents of Allensworth, The South Central Farmers Coop and the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment (CRPE). As part of the Department of Parks Volunteer In Parks program Allensworth community residents will plant and maintain a living agricultural display at Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park.

According to state park interpreter Steven Ptomey the restored display will enable the park staff to show visiting children how early Allensworth residents grew their own food.

In an October 10, 2011 news release Allensworth resident and CRPE advisory board member Denise Kadara said “The community believes that this endeavor complements the economic development effort that has been underway in Allensworth since 2008, and continues our overall quest to make Allensworth the hub for organic vegetables in Tulare County.” In October of 2010 the residents planted an organic community garden at the Allensworth Community Center. Earlier this month the Tulare County Farm Bureau’s education committee awarded the Allensworth Elementary School a $250 renewal grant to help them maintain their garden. In addition to the awarding the renewal grant the Farm Bureau gives the school access to the California Foundation for Ag in the Classroom, advice from Master Gardeners, and the bureau’s Beyond-the-Farm trailer.

With the assistance of the South Central Farmers Coop the Allensworth residents will sell the vegetables from the agricultural display, thereby producing revenue for community improvements.

For more information about the park’s living agricultural display contact Steven Ptomey at (661) 849-3433 or

Stephen Hill, Sr.

October 12, 2011

Governor Signs AB 1077

In 2007, when the public found out that the Tulare County Board of Supervisors was in the process of approving two massive dairies next Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park, bus loads of park supporters turned out for the public hearings. Despite the over whelming opposition, the board of supervisors approved the two dairies. Jerry Brown, then California Attorney General, suited Tulare County for not adequately addressing the dairies environmental impacts. At the same time 62nd District Assembly Member Wilmer Amina Carter introduced a bill to create a 2.5-mile buffer zone around the park. In the end the state paid the farmer $3.5 million not to build the dairies, and Assembly Member Carter withdrew her bill.

Feeling victorious, after having stopped the construction of the two dairies, everyone turned their attention to the 2008 centennial. But, Assembly Member Carter realized that we might not be as fortunate the next time the state park is threaten by incompatible development. So on February 19, 2010, she introduced Assembly Bill 2356, which would have prohibited development that is incompatible with the historical or recreational significance of Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park. She later withdrew the bill because it could have affected the construction of the California High-Speed Rail.

Not one to easily give up, Assembly Member Carter introduced Assembly Bill 1077 on February 18, 2011. In addition to prohibiting incompatible development within 2.5 miles of Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park this new bill requires that a feasibility study be preformed to consider the state park for designation as a National Historic Landmark.

After an hour long debate; where former Tulare County Board of Supervisors member, Connie Conway spoke out again the bill; the bill passed in the assembly 47-25 votes on June 2, 2011. The bill passed the Senate on August 22, 2011, but not before it was amended.

The section “This bill would prohibit a person from developing any of the area within 2 1/2 miles of the boundary of Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park in Tulare County in a manner that would be incompatible with the historic or recreational significance of the park.” was amended to read “This bill would require the Department of Parks and Recreation to notify the State Park and Recreation Commission of any proposed development that may substantially impact the historical, cultural, or recreational significance of the Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park, and would require the commission, upon receipt of that notification to hold a duly noticed public hearing to receive public input regarding the potential impacts of the proposed development on the park. The bill would require the commission, following the public hearing, to submit, in writing, to the department a summary of its conclusions on the potential park impacts that may be caused by the proposed development for transmission by the department to the appropriate local government entities.”

Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 1077 on Friday, October 8th.

I commend Assembly Member Carter for introducing AB 1077 and seeing it through the Assembly and Senate. Special thanks go out to Friends of Allensworth Statewide President Thomas Stratton for making sure that the Friends of Allensworth was listed as a resisted supporter of the bill.

Please take a minute to thank Assembly Member Carter for her commitment to protecting Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park. You can leave a comment on her website or write her at:

Capitol Office:

State Capitol
P.O. Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 94249-0062
Tel: (916) 319-2062
Fax: (916) 319-2162

District Office:

335 N. Riverside Ave.
Rialto, CA 92376
Tel: (909) 820-5008
Fax: (909) 820-5098

Stephen Hill, Sr.

October 05, 2011

The Suspense Will be Over Soon

Assembly Bill 1077 (Carter): State parks: Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park is one of the 344 bills waiting for Governor Jerry Brown’s signature. He has until midnight Sunday, October 9th to sign or veto these bills.

On Tuesday, the Governor Brown signed the California State Parks Foundation sponsored Assembly Bill 42 (Huffman) which will allow nonprofit organizations to enter into operating agreements with the Department of Parks and Recreation. Letting nonprofit organizations partner with the Department of Parks and Recreation could enable some of the state parks on the May closure list remain open.

I will post an update on AB 1077 as soon as I hear something, keep your fingers crossed.

Stephen Hill, Sr.

October 02, 2011

“Allensworth: A Piece of the World” Airs Statewide

Thanks to the efforts of Carolyn McIntyre, President of the California Cable & Telecommunication Association, the 48 minute video “Allensworth: A Piece of the World,” will air statewide Monday October 3rd through Monday, November, 7th.

The video is airing on the California Channel, see list below for local channels. The video is also available for viewing in the archives of The California Channel’s web site.

If you have any questions or need additional information contact me at (916) 653-6032 or

More good news! The California Cable & Telecommunication Association is also a sponsor of this year’s “Colonel Allensworth 4th Annual 5K Run Walk for Health!” which will be a part of the October 8, 2011, “Annual Rededication” for the town. The event will begin at 9:00 a.m. All of the funds raised will be donated to the park.

Interested participants can register on line at and/or visit to download and complete a registration form and mail it to:

Colonel Allensworth 4th Annual 5K Run Walk For Health
P.O. Box 192046
Sacramento, Ca 95819

Supporters can also participate by being a virtual runner / walker and receive a T-shirt by mail (see registration form).

Dorothy Benjamin

September 30, 2011

Walking the High-Speed Train Route

Three exhausted hikers camped out at Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park at the ends of day 17 of “We Make the Road by Walking” a 30 day hike along the proposed route of the California High-Speed Train. The three hikers are brothers that came back home after their mother told them the proposed route of the California High-Speed Train runs through the family’s walnut orchard in Hanford; land that has been in their family for over 100 years. Adam and Nate live in Portland, Oregon, and the oldest brother, Travis lives in Glasgow, Scotland.

Travis told reporter Tim Sheehan “[It] is important to understand things at a very local level, at ground level and at walking pace, in a very experiential way.” He went on to said “People are talking about money or air quality and all these important things, but a lot of people’s positions are very much informed by their daily lives and their histories and what they value about their individual places.”

The walk started August 29th at Union Station in Los Angeles and ended today, September 30th at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco.

Stephen Hill, Sr.

September 27, 2011

“History Alive” Lecture Series

September 1st was the start of the Lemon Grove Historical Society’s 34th annual “History Alive” lecture Series. The September 1st lecture was Life Behind the Barber’s Chair by William “Bill” Ware of the Tonsorial Parlor and Dr. Willie Morrow creator of the California Curl and owner of the San Diego Monitor.

The October 6th lecture is Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park, California’s First Independent African American Community by Stephen Hill president of the San Diego Chapter of the Friends of Allensworth.

The November 3rd lecture is Pat Abbot on Earthquakes by Patrick Leon Abbott Professor Emeritus of Geology at SDSU.

These free lectures start at 7 pm in the H. Lee House Cultural Center, 3205 Olive Street, Lemon Grove, CA 91945. For more information call (619) 460-4353.

Stephen Hill, Sr.

September 26, 2011

“Gateway to the Pacific” Living History Event

Front entry to the Camp Reynolds Chapel where Allensworth
was assigned from December 1900 to August 1902.

Angel Island State Park will host “Gateway to the Pacific”, a living history event, on Saturday and Sunday, October 15 and 1 6 from 11:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. at Camp Reynolds. The event highlights Angel Island and its role in the Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars of 1899-1902. It will feature re-enactors interpreting the lives of soldiers and civilians of the time. Event historians will be on hand to discuss details of the war, exhibit equipment and weapons, and demonstrate original hand-crank sewing machines and other home crafts of the era spotlighting civilian life back at home.

The U.S. Army Post Camp Reynolds, housed troops being deployed to location throughout the Pacific in times of war, including the Philippine Islands, until the military left the Island during the early 1960s.

Chaplain Allen Allensworth and his family were assigned to Camp Reynolds after the chaplain was injured in the Philippines during the Spanish-American War. The 100 seat chapel and 24 seat one-room school where Chaplain Allensworth conducted Sunday service, and held weekly debates among the enlisted men is still there.

For more information about Angel island State Park call (415) 435-2131 or visit For ferry information from Tiburon, contact Angel Island Ferry Company, (4150 435-2131, For ferry information from San Francisco, contact Blue and Gold Fleet, (415) 773-1188,

Stephen Hill. Sr.

September 20, 2011

Public Hearing on High-Speed Train Route

This week the California High-Speed Rail Authority is holding public hearings on the draft Environmental Impact Report/Statement for the Fresno to Bakersfield section of the California High-Speed Train System.

The first hearing took place today in Fresno. The Hanford hearing is Wednesday, September 21, 2011, from 3 to 8pm at the Civic Auditorium, 400 N. Douty Street, Hanford, CA 63230. The Bakersfield hearing is Thursday, September 22, 2011, from 3 to 8pm at the Beale Memorial Library Auditorium, 701 Truxtun Ave, Bakersfield, CA 93301.

You can read the summary of the California HST EIR/EIS to see which route alignments will impact Colonel Allensworth SHP.

The California High-speed Rail Authority will be accepting public and agency comments on the draft EIR/EIS until Wednesday, September 28, 2011. Send your written comments to:

California High-speed Rail Authority
Fresno to Bakersfield Draft EIR/EIS Comments
770 L Street, Suite 800
Sacramento, CA 95814

Send email comments to:

With the subject line “Draft EIR/EIS Comment”

Stephen Hill, Sr.

September 17, 2011

35th Annual Rededication

Come join the Friends of Allensworth and the California Dept. of Parks & Recreation for the 35th Annual Rededication at Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park on Saturday, October 8, 2011.

It is a time for the Friends of Allensworth, park staff, town descendents, and park supports to come together. It is a time to encourage each other to stay the course, to keep Colonel Allensworth’s dream alive. It is a time to pledge our support to protecting the future of Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park.

Entertainment will include gospel and jazz music, spoken word, square dancers, a praise team, and a puppet show. The guest speaker will be author, lecturer, and Allensworth descendent Rose Calbert-West. And as always there will be arts & crafts and food vendors. Space is still available at the campground.

For more information contact Friends of Allensworth at 530-949-2168.

Where: Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park

When: Saturday, October 8, 2011

Time: 10 am – 4 pm


Vehicle Fee: $8

Small Bus (24 or less) $50

Buses (25 0r more) $100

Stephen Hill, Sr.

September 13, 2011

Rev. Maurice J. Cotton Sr. Honored

For over 40 years the late Rev. Maurice J. Cotton Sr. faithfully administered to the needs of the Highlight Church of God in Christ congregation and the Lathrop community. Rev Cotton and his congregation have protected battered women and children, helped addicts overcome their addictions, as well as fed, clothed, and housed the homeless. At a ceremony on Saturday, September 3, 2011, the city of Lathrop, California expressed their gratitude for the former Allensworth resident by renaming the street in front of the Highlight Church of God in Christ church after him.

Born in Como, Texas his parents moved to Allensworth while he was serving in World War II. After the war young Maurice Cotton joined his parents in Allensworth where he met his wife Minnie Lee Cotton. In an interview with Record columnist Michael Fitzgerald she recounted how they met, “I met him in the cotton filed, I would have one row [done] and he would have two and double back and be on the third. He was a worker.”

Rev. Cotton was a worker his whole life, he was owner and operator of Cotton Trucking which his children operate today. He also found time to turn a family recipe into a mobile food stand business that traveled to the state and county fairs.

Rev Cotton’s daughter Dorothy Benjamin is the organizer of the Colonel Allensworth Annual 5K Run/Walk for Health, which raises awareness about health issues facing California. All of the proceeds from the 5K run walk benefit Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park. Register online at: If you cannot make it to the park, you can still support the park by becoming a virtual runner/walker and receive a T-shirt by mail.

Stephen Hill, Sr.

August 24, 2011

Volunteer Training Course

We are looking for people with a positive and friendly attitude that are interested becoming volunteers at Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park. Volunteer opportunities include welcoming park visitors at the visitors’ center, interpreting the historic building, or behind the scenes work such as housekeeping and maintenance. The two day training course is Sept 24 and 25, from 9 am to 4 pm at the Park.

The course includes a general history of the Allensworth colony, interpretive skills and techniques, how to give a tour, correct period attire, and how to engage young visitors.

Lunch will be provided Saturday, but you must bring your own lunch Sunday.

Those interested in attending the two day course should contact Thomas Stratton, Friends of Allensworth Statewide President, at (530) 949-2168 or

Stephen Hill, Sr.

August 17, 2011

Fresno to Bakersfield Draft Environmental Impact Report

The draft Environmental Impact Report/Statement (EIR/EIS) for the Fresno to Bakersfield section of the California High-Speed Train System has been released. The draft evaluates six High-Speed Train (HST) alignments. The BNSF Alternative is a single continuous route from Fresno to Bakersfield. The Allensworth Bypass is one of five bypasses being considered for this section of the HST. The Allensworth Bypass would diverge from the BNSF Alternative at Avenue 84 in Tulare County and swing west of Allensworth State Historic Park, rejoining the BNSF Alternative at Elmo Highway in Kern County.

“The BNSF Alternative would require the acquisition of property from Allensworth State Historic Park and the Allensworth Ecological Reserve. This alternative would also cause visual and noise impact on the park. The Allensworth Bypass Alternative would avoid these impacts and reduce the acreage of jurisdictional waters permanently affected by the project. However, the Allensworth Bypass Alternative would have a greater property tax revenue reduction, cause more agricultural business impacts, convert more acres of farmland to nonagricultural uses, and affect more acres of Williamson Act land than the BNSF Alternative.”
The California High-Speed Rail Authority is accepting public and agency comments on the Draft EIR/EIS until September 28, 2011. After reviewing the public comments the Rail Authority will issue a final project EIR/EIS that includes responses to the submitted comments and the preferred alternative route. According to the Next Steps Schedule (below) operation of the Fresno to Bakersfield section of the High-Speed Rail will begin in 2018.

Next Steps Schedule

The summary and highlights of the California HST EIR/EIS gives more details about which of the twenty-four alternative combinations will have a visual and noise impact, introduce a modern feature that is not consistent with the historic atmosphere or require the acquiescent of property from Allensworth State Historic Park.
Please attend one of the public workshops, public hearings or submit your comments to the California High-Speed Rail Authority; they could help determine how the California HST will affect Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park.

Send written comments to:
California High-Speed Rail Authority
Fresno to Bakersfield Draft EIR/EIS Comments
770 L Street, Suite 800
Sacramento, CA 95814

Send email comments to:
With subject line "Draft EIR/EIS Comment”

California High-Speed Rail Authority Website:

Stephen Hill, Sr.

July 26, 2011

Senate Takes The Bite Out of AB 1077

In their July 6, 2011 regular session the California Senate amended Assembly Bill 1077. The amended bill no longer prohibits incompatible development within 2 ½ miles of the boundary of Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park. The amended bill only requires the Department of Parks and Recreation to notify the State Parks and Recreation Commission about any proposed Development that may impact the park; and for the commission to hold a public hearing. Approval of development projects will still remain with the Tulare County officials.

Stephen Hill, Sr.

July 22, 2011

Midge Williams

No, that’s not English. It’s Midge Williams, granddaughter of Joshua Singleton owner of the Singletons Grocery Store in Allensworth, singing Lazy Bones in Japanese. She recorded this song while touring China and Japan.

Born in 1915 Virginia “Midge” Louise Williams lived in Allensworth until she moved to Berkeley, California in 1929. She began her career with the Williams Quartette; Midge and her three brothers, John Lewis Jr., Robert, and Charles.

After touring the Far East Williams returned to the United States and performed with jazz greats like Fats Waller, Glen Miller, and Louis Armstrong. Her own band, Midge Williams and her Jazz Jesters, performed at the Apollo Theater and the Savoy Ball Room.

Midge Williams passed away in 1952from tuberculosis.

You can read more about her career on Wikipedia and you can purchase her music on Amazon. You can also hear more samples of her songs on YouTube.

Stephen Hill, Sr.

July 14, 2011

Allensworth Teacher Moves to Ghana

Thirty-six years after completing a three year post-graduate teaching program with the Peace Corps, former Allensworth teacher, Herman Davis moves back to Ghana. When he came back to the United States he got a job teaching at Allensworth. He told Press Telegram reporter Bob Keisser that he was the “principal, teacher, and bus driver”.

After leaving Allensworth Davis worked at a number of other schools before he landed a job as a math teacher and assistant football coach at his alma mater Long Beach Polytechnic High. Other alumni of Polytechnic High, “home of scholars & champions”, include tennis legend Billie Jean King, baseball hall of famer Tony Gwyn, actress and former model Cameron Diaz, and rapper Snoop Dogg.

Coach Herman Davis is a major character is the 2003 book “One Great Game: Two Teams, Two Dreams, in the First Ever National Championship High School Football Game”, a story about the October 6, 2001 game between two football powerhouses. Ranked by USA Today as the two top high school football teams; De La Salle a predominantly white, all male, catholic high school and Long Beach Ploy a racially diverse inner-city high school; face off in a highly emotional game.

In 2005 Long Beach Poly was number one on the Sports Illustrated list of “The 25 Best High School Athletic Programs”. The Jackrabbits football program has had over 50 players go to the NFL, including; Brandon Whiting-San Francisco 49ers, Omar Stoutmire-New York Giants, Samie Parker-Kansas City Chiefs, Kareem Kelly-Baltimore Ravens and Margues Anderson-Oakland Raiders.

Over his 27 years as assistant coach of the Jackrabbits Davis has become “an institution memory of the football program” and one of the most respected men in Long Beach.

Stephen Hill, Sr.

July 09, 2011

“Scat To Rap” Music Festival

After years of being shuffled from foster home to foster home an estimated 5,000 California youth are emancipated or “age out” of the foster care system every year. Within six months of being released from the system 50% of them will be living under highway overpasses, in abandon cars, and in tent cities, not knowing when or where their next meal will come from.

The West East Community Access Network Foundation (WE CAN Foundation) in association with other California community groups are having the Allensworth “Scat To Rap” Family Music Festival to raise funds to assist the emancipated youth of Los Angeles, Tulare, and Kern counties.

Festival entertainment will include Gospel, Jazz, Blues, Reggae, Spoken Word, and oral history narratives. The “Allensworth Trading Post” will have food, arts & crafts, vendors, exhibitors, and children’s activities.

The general admission ticket price is $15.00 (provide your own transportation), $30.00 (vanpool), or $45.00 (charter bus). Vanpools and Charter buses in Los Angeles will be leaving the Leimert Park parking lot adjacent to 4329 Degnan promptly at 8:30 AM. For attendees from Northern California, Amtrak has a direct stop at Allensworth. Call the We Can office for further details at (323) 293-9845.

Purchase tickets at:

For vendor or volunteer information or overnight camping call WE CAN Foundation at (323) 293-9845 or Kimberly and Robert Garcia at (323) 292-5214.

What: Allensworth “Scat To Rap” Music Festival

When: Saturday, September 10, 2011

Time: 11:00 am to 6:00 pm

Where: Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park

Cost: $15.00 general admission
          $30.00 vanpool
          $45.00 charter bus



July 07, 2011

Evening Under The Shooting Stars

Come enjoy an evening under the shooting stars of the Delta Aquarids meteor shower with the interpretive staff of Colonel Allensworth State Historic park. The Delta Aquarids meteor shower typically reaches a hourly rate of 10 and occurs each year from July 16 to September 10 in the northern hemisphere.

The program will start at the visitor center parking lot at 9:00 pm with a brief description of constellations and the life cycle of the meteor.

Bring your lounge chairs, binoculars, flashlight, water and refreshments and enjoy an evening under the shooting stars.

When: Friday, July 29th

Where: Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park

Time: 9:00 – 12:00 pm

Cost: $6.00 per car

For more information call (661-849-3433 or (661) 849-3443

Stephen Hill, Sr.

June 19, 2011

High-Speed Rail Information Meeting

This week the California High-Speed Rail Authority is hosting three public information meeting about the Fresno-Bakersfield section of the high-speed rail route. This is your chance to learn about how the high-speed rail will impact Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park. These are the last public meeting about the Fresno – Bakersfield section of the route scheduled for 2011.

If you live near Allensworth or Bakersfield please make time to attend one of these important meeting. The California High-Speed Rail could have a big impact on Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park, this is the time for us to let the Rail Authority know we care about the park.

Tuesday, June 21
Time: 6:00 to 8:00 pm
Where: Allensworth Elementary School
            3320 Young Road
            Allensworth, CA 93219

Wednesday, June 22
Time: 5:00 – 7:00 pm
Where: Fruitvale Jr. High
            2114 Calloway Drive
            Bakersfield, CA 93308

Thursday, June 23
Time: 5:00 to 7:00 pm
Where: Fresno (TBD)

Stephen Hill, Sr.

June 10, 2011

Save Our State Parks Rally & Expo

The Save Our State Parks Rally & Expo will be held on North Steps of the State Capitol.

           8:30 a.m.-10 a.m. Expo

          10 a.m.-11 a.m. Press Conference/Rally

          11 a.m.-2 p.m. Expo

We invite you to Join the California State Parks Foundation in Sacramento on June 21 and show your support for California’s 278 state parks! Be part of our Save Our State Parks Campaign rally, where we will urge state policymakers to not make our state parks just a memory and then stop by our Expo to learn more about each of the 70 state parks planned for closure.

At the expo you will be able to speak with representatives from organizations throughout the state that have joined the Save Our State Parks campaign. You will be able to learn more about work being done to stop park closures, increase volunteer efforts and raise awareness, and find out ways in which you can help!

We hope you will join us! For more information, please contact us at

Linsey Fredenburg-Humes
Grassroots Manager
California State Parks Foundation

June 06, 2011

AB 1077 Passed in the Assembly

Conway AB 1077 from CA Assembly GOP on Vimeo.

On Thursday, June 2, 2011, after the third assembly reading, California Assembly Bill 1077 passed in the assembly 47 – 25 votes. During an hour long debate Assembly Minority Leader, former Tulare County Board of Supervisors member, Connie Conway spoke out again the bill stating that it would set a dangerous precedence that takes away local land use authority.

The bill would prohibit development within 2 ½ miles of Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park in a manner that would be incompatible with the historical cultural, or recreational significance of the park. The bill would also require a feasibility study be preformed to consider the state park for designation as a National Historic Landmark.

The bill was also read for the first time in the Senate on Thursday, June 2, 2011.

Please let the Committee on Appropriations know that you support Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park and AB 1077 by sending your letters of support to:

Honorable Wilmer Amina Carter
Assemblymember, 62nd, District
California State Assembly
State Capitol, Room 2136
Sacramento, CA 95814

Stephen Hill, Sr.

June 04, 2011

2011 Juneteenth Celebration

Come travel in time, back to the first decade of the twentieth century to discover what life was like in the all black town of Allensworth, California. Joint the Friends of Allensworth Cooperating Association and the California Department of Parks and Recreation as we celebrate Juneteenth, "… a day on which honor and respect is paid for the sufferings of slavery. It is a day on which we acknowledge the evils of slavery and its aftermath. "

Enjoy speakers, live music and a puppet show featuring Colonel Allensworth. The on stage entertainment is only part of the Allensworth Juneteenth experience. When visiting the restored homes and businesses make sure to stop by the Singleton General Store and Post Office, where Josephine Triplett, Friends of Allensworth docent and descendant of the Hall family, will share the childhood adventures of her mother Gemelia and her aunts Alwortha and Ethel.

What:   Annual Juneteenth Celebration

Where: Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park

When:  Saturday June 11, 2011 from 10am to 4pm

Cost:    Passenger vehicles - $8.00

             Bus with up to 24 passengers $50.00

             Bus with 25 or more passengers $100.00

For more information contact Friends of Allensworth President Thomas Stratton at or 530-949-2168.

Stephen Hill, Sr.

May 22, 2011

FOA President Elected to Board of CALPA

Last week Friends of Allensworth Statewide President Thomas Stratton was elected to the board of the California League of Park Associations (CALPA) during the league’s 2011 conference in Mendocino, California.

The League, formed in 1983, is a volunteer group that provides support to Cooperating Associations affiliated with specific parks in the California State Park System. The League is divided into six regions serving the San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara/Monterey, San Francisco Bay, Inland (Sacramento) and Northern (Red Bluff north) areas.

The League provides support to Cooperating Association by:

• Arranging workshops, conferences and providing a free resource library for members

• Being an advocate for California State Parks

• Recognizing excellence within the family of Cooperating Associations

• Transmitting information between California State Parks, Cooperating Associations and other related Park Organizations

• Furthering the common interests of Parks Associations and members

President Stratton congratulations on being elected to the board of the California League of Park Associations.

Stephen Hill, Sr.

Lantern Light "Ghost Tour"

Colonel's Home
On Saturday, June 4th the California State Parks will host the first of three Lantern Light “Ghost Tours” for 2011.

The Ghost Hunters of the Porterville Ghost Society, the first ghost hunting group to be given permission to investigate Allensworth for paranormal activity, will lead visitors on a night time tour of Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park.

The Ghost Hunters will also share information about their first investigation of Allensworth. Accompanied by a State Park Ranger, a KMPH Channel 26 news crew and the Porterville Recorder, the ghost hunters heard footsteps following them on a gravel roadway. During their first investigation of the park they even managed to record voices, cookware and furniture being moved and the ringing of a 30’s-40’s era phone or alarm clock. Group members also heard the sound of small feet running by the school yard.

The Porterville Ghost Society’s report of the Allensworth Investigation includes EVPS; high-speed version for Electronic Voice Phenomena, recorded in the Smith House and Allensworth Home.

The tours are not recommended for children under 12.

The first tour starts at 8:30 pm with the second tour starting at 10:30pm. The tours cost $10.00 per person.

For more information about the tour or Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park contact Steve Ptomey at 661-849-3433 or email

Stephen Hill, Sr.

May 18, 2011

High-Speed Train Public Meeting

Fresno to Bakersfield section of the 800-mile California High-Speed Rail

This week the California High-Speed Rail Authority have been hosting public Information meetings to answer questions and get input on the next steps for the Fresno to Bakersfield section of the California High-Speed Train project.

The first segment of the High-Speed Rail will begin near Madera, north Fresno, and end in Shafter, about 1o miles north of Bakersfield. The initial segment will incorporate as many as 120 miles depending on which of the alternative alignments are selected.

• Through Corcoran OR Corcoran Bypass

West of Allensworth Park OR along BNSF east of Allensworth Park

• Through Wasco & Shafter OR Wasco & Shafter Bypass

The alignment adjacent to the BNSF will impact Allensworth State Historic Park; the alternative west of the BNSF will avoid Allensworth State Historic Park.

For those in the Bakersfield area you can attend the Thursday, May 19, 2011, meeting at the Marriott Hotel, 801 Truxtun Ave, Bakersfield. From 5 -7 pm.

Stephen Hill, Sr.

May 16, 2011

Old Time Jubilee

On Saturday, May 21st the Friends of Allensworth Interpretive Association, in cooperation with the California State Department of Parks and Recreation will host their Old Time Jubilee event at Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park. Old Time Jubilee commemorates the carnival’s yearly May visit to Allensworth during the community’s heyday.

One of the special children’s activities scheduled for the day is a puppet show featuring “Colonel Allensworth”.

In addition to enjoying the entertainment on the main stage, you can take a self-paced tour of the historic homes and business. When you are at the Colonel’s house be sure to ask the docent to tell you about Mrs. Allensworth and the oil lamp.

For more information about this event or the Friends of Allensworth contact Friends of Allensworth President Thomas Stratton at (530) 949-2168 or

Campsites are still available for this event.

What: Old Time Jubilee

When: Saturday, May 21, 2011

Time: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Where: Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park

Stephen Hill, Sr.

May 13, 2011

State Parks Announces Closures

Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park NOT on list 
Today, May 13, 2011, the California Department of Parks and Recreation announced its plan to close 70 parks, beaches, and recreation areas. California State Parks director Ruth Coleman told reporters “We regret closing any park, but with the proposed budget reductions over the next two years, we can no longer afford to operate all parks within the system.”
This summer service cuts will begin with park closures starting as early as September and all 70 parks closing by July 2012.

State Parks had three primary goals for developing the closure methodology:
  • Protect the most significant natural and cultural resources
  • Maintain public access and revenue generation to the greatest extent possible
  • Protect closed parks so that they remain attractive and usable for potential partners.

The closure plan will allow the Department of Parks and Recreation to preserve the majority of the system’s attendance and revenue; attendance will be reduced by 8% and revenues by 6%.

The park system currently has 32 operating agreements with cities, counties and non-profits to operate state parks and they are looking for new partners to operate parks.

Please send a letter to your legislators to let them know you do not support the closure of state parks.

When Governor Brown releases his updated budget proposal on Monday the list of parks may grow.

Stephen Hill, Sr.

May 06, 2011

Allensworth Library part of San Francisco Exhibition

The Allensworth (Tulare County Free) Library is one of the libraries featured in the Public Library: An American Commons exhibition at the San Francisco Public Library’s Jewett Gallery, April 9 – June 12, 2011. The exhibition is part of photographer- Robert Dawson’s The American Public Library project, a photographic and historical survey of public libraries throughout the United States. Since 1994, he has traveled to sixteen states photographing public libraries and eventually will publish a large-scale. His photographs are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the National Museum of American Art, and the Library of Congress.

The array of approximately seventy black and white and color photographs included in the exhibition covers the full spectrum of American libraries. Large metropolis libraries like the Boston, Massachusetts Main Library, the New York City Carnegie Library, and the African American History Museum and Library in Oakland, California. Architectural masterpieces like the Frank Lloyd Wright designed library in San Rafael, California to the Death Valley National Park Library located in a small weathered trailer. And historic libraries like California’s oldest public library in Redlands, California and the Tulare County Free Public Library at Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park.

The Tulare County Library was established when the Colonel’s wife Mrs. Josephine Allensworth had the old one room school house moved to a town lot that she donated. The library’s official name was the Allensworth branch of the Tulare County Free Library, but to the residents of Allensworth it was known as the Mary Dickerson Memorial Library in honor of Mrs. Allensworth’s mother.

The small humble library, heated by a wood burning stove and lit by oil lamps, had the required table, two chairs and enough shelves to hold 1,000 books. The library’s collection began with donated books from Colonel Allensworth’s and other private collections and rapidity expanded with each allotment of new books shipped from the county.

The Mary Dickerson Memorial Library operated continuously in this building from 1913 until 1943.

Accompanying events include:
May 7, 6 pm
Gallery Walkthrough with Photographer Robert Dawson
Photographer Robert Dawson and photo curator/historian, Ellen Manchester, will lead an informal tour and discussion of Dawson’s photographs in the exhibition.

May 14, 3 pm
From Carnegie to Koolhaas: Robert Dawson’s photographs of Public Libraries: An artist talk with Robert Dawson

May 18, 6 pm
Carnegie to Contemporary: Building San Francisco Public Libraries
Panel discussion of San Francisco architects on the architecture and design of San Francisco branch libraries.

Stephen Hill, Sr.

April 27, 2011

Assembly Bill 1077 passed 9 – 4

At the California Assembly Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife hearing on Tuesday, April 26, 2011 AB 1077 (Carter) passed 9 – 4, and will be re-referred to the Committee on Appropriations.

The Friends of Allensworth is the only registered supporter for the bill. The registered opposition to the bill is:

     American Council of Engineering Companies of California
     Tulare County Farm Bureau
     Visalia Chamber of Commerce

A special thank you goes out to Friends of Allensworth Statewide President Thomas Stratton for taking time out of his busy schedule to attend the hearing and making sure that the Friends of Allensworth was listed as a registered supporter of the bill.

Please let the Committee on Appropriations know that you support Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park and AB 1077 by sending your letters of support to:

     Honorable Wilmer Amina Carter
     Assemblymember, 62nd, District
     California State Assembly
     State Capitol, Room 2136
     Sacramento, CA 95814

Stephen Hill, Sr.

April 24, 2011

Assembly Bill No. 1077 Committee Hearing is April 26, 2011

Assembly Bill No. 1077 first committee hearing is Tuesday, April 26, 2011, at the California State Capitol. The public will have an opportunity to give testimony during committee hearing.

This is your opportunity to go on record as a supporter of Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park and AB No. 1077.

Date: Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Time: 9:00 am

Where: State Capitol
             Room 437
             Sacramento, CA 95814

For more information contact Friends of Allensworth Statewide President Thomas Stratton at (530) 949-2168.

Stephen Hill, Sr.

April 16, 2011

Friends of Allensworth member The First Laid to Rest at Miramar Cemetery

Friends of Allensworth member, John Smith, became the first person buried in a casket at the new Miramar National Cemetery on Thursday, April 14, 2011. Smith devoted the last ten years of his life to lobbying for the Miramar National Cemetery.

As a veteran of the Vietnam War, John Smith service as a medic with the 1st Air Cavalry. Smith was dictated to helping his fellow veterans in San Diego County.

In 1981 Smith helped organize the Vietnam Veterans of San Diego, which changed its name to Veterans Village of San Diego in 2005. The group runs Veterans Rehabilitation Center that has en employment and training department, medical offices, and 16 three-bedroom, three-bath apartments.

Smith helped organize the nation’s first annual “Stand Down” event in 1988. “Stand Down” is a community program that assists homeless veterans with immediate physical needs such as showers, barbers, medical and dental. Other services provided are employment and job counseling, counseling, and veterans’ benefits.

The above video is the KFMB-TV 8 coverage of the burial service.

Stephen Hill, Sr.

April 01, 2011

Assemblywoman Carter Introduces AB 1077

Allensworth Hotel

62nd District Assembly Member Wilmer Amina Carter has introduced Assembly Bill No. 1077. This bill would add section 5006.10 to the Public Resources Code and would read:

(a) A person shall not develop any of the area within two-and-one-half miles of the boundary of Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park in Tulare County in a manner that would be incompatible with the historic or recreational significance of the park.

(b) This section does not apply to a development in Tulare County that was approved by the county on or before March 1, 2011.

You can read the complete bill on the California Legislature website.

In a March 31, 2011 story in The Press-Enterprise reporter Jim Miller called the bill “far-flung”, he went on to criticize Assemblywoman Carter because the park is more than 200 miles from her district.

This is the third time that Assemblywoman Carter has introduced a bill to prohibit development next to Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park. She introduced the first bill in 2007 during the battle over the two dairies that were scheduled to be built next to the park. She withdrew the bill after the dairy project was canceled. Last year she introduced Assembly Bill 2356, and then withdrew it because it could have affected the construction the California High Speed Rail.

Assembly Bill No. 1077 first committee hearing is April 26, 2011.

Stephen Hill, Sr.

March 28, 2011

Original Buffalo Soldier Dies


March 23, 1932 - March 19, 2011

Long time Friends of Allensworth member Charles Allen passed away on March 19, 2011, four days before his 79th birthday.

During the Korean War Charles Allen was assigned to Company ‘B’, of the 24th Infantry Regiment making him one of the last of the original Buffalo Soldiers. (From 1886 to1906 Allen Allensworth was the chaplain of the 24th Infantry Regiment.) While serving as the Command Sniper he was wounded twice for which he was awarded the Purple Heart.

The 24th Infantry Regiment became the last original Buffalo Soldier Regiment when the 2nd Cavalry Division was deactivated in 1944. When President Harry S. Truman integrated the Armed Forces the surviving members of the 24th & 25th Infantry Regiments, and the 9th, 10th, 27th & 28th Cavalry Regiments became the last original Buffalo Soldiers.

In addition to being a member of the Friends of Allensworth and a devoted supporter Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park Charles Allen served as the Recording Secretary of the Greater Los Angeles Chapter of the Ninth & Tenth (Horse) Cavalry Association.

Service will be:

Friday, April 1, 2011
12:00 PM
Chapel of Roses
3443 W. Manchester Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA

You can leave a message for the family at the Simpson’s Family Mortuary website.

Stephen Hill, Sr,