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.