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Landmark Status Insures Better Future For Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park

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Thanks to Assemblymember Wilmer Amina Carter's legislation, Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park has received state landmark status, a step that increases its public importance and paves the way toward acquiring resources that will improve the site of the century-old black township.

The unveiling of an official plaque took place Saturday, Nov. 10 at Allensworth in south Tulare County. Allensworth was founded, financed and governed by former slaves and sharecroppers seeking to live on their own terms. The remains of the original settlement are preserved as a 240-acre state park.

In 1976, Allensworth State Historic Park was established to protect and preserve the park and give recognition to Colonel Allensworth, a former slave and military hero, and other founders for their vision and inspiration. The park was designated a Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places, which required review by historians and archaeologists before any site development took place.

"State landmark status adds another layer of protection and opens the way to the park obtaining National Historical Landmark status, which would make it eligible for federal grant opportunities," said Assemblymember Carter, a Rialto Democrat.

Carter's AB 1077 and other legislative efforts spanning six years have protected the park from the encroachment of development that is incompatible with a site of such cultural, historical and environmental significance.

Assemblymember Carter's legislation called on the State Parks Department to conduct the required research on Allensworth that would make it eligible for National Historical Landmark status. The process has begun, said Steven Ptomey, State Park Interpreter at Allensworth, Assemblymember Carter is enthusiastic about future opportunities to apply for federal funding that will bring resources to the park. She also hopes it "will foster economic development in the area that is welcoming to park visitors."

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