20th Annual Juneteenth Celebration
Allensworth State Park
In August 1908 Colonel Allen Allensworth and three other settlers (William Payne, Oscar Overr, J. W. Hall) established a town founded, financed and governed by African Americans. Their dream of developing an abundant and thriving community stemmed directly from a strong belief in programs that allowed blacks to help themselves create better lives. Freedmen flocked to the area in search of opportunity for their families. By 1910 Allensworth's success was the focus of many national newspaper articles praising the town and its inhabitants.
An unbelievable set of circumstances made it impossible for the residents of this tiny town located 30 miles north of Bakersfield to achieve their founders' dreams, over the long term. But the town did remain home to a handful of families and individuals throughout the 20th century. True to the courage and resolve of its founders, the town has survived and persevered, earning the well-deserved title: : "The town that refused to die".
In 1974 California State Parks purchased land within the historical town site of Allensworth, and it became Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park. Today a collection of lovingly restored and reconstructed early 20th-century buildings, including the Colonel's house, historic schoolhouse, Baptist church, courthouse and library, once again dots this flat farm country, giving new life to the dreams of these visionary pioneers.
The town became a haven for Freedmen moving west and looking for self determination. It was Allensworth's desire to establish a college in the town.
With continuing restoration and special events, the town is coming back to life as a state historic park. The park's visitor center features a film about the site.
A yearly re-dedication ceremony in October help visitors see the vision of founding pioneers.
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