After leaving Death Valley on March 27th I had decided to continue west to the coast of California, still seeking warmer weather. Along the way, I saw a sign for the Colonel Allensworth State Historical Park, which is located off of Interstate 5 northwest of Bakersfield, California. I went there not knowing what it was, only hoping that it had a campground.
The entrance welcomed me and I knew that I was in a very special place. Thankfully, it also had a campground!
According to a brochure that I picked up, the town of Allensworth was established in August 1908 by Colonel Allen Allensworth and four other settlers. It was the first settlement in California founded, financed and governed by African Americans. Their dream was to develop a thriving community based on the belief in programs that allowed blacks to help themselves create better lives. By 1910 Allensworth’s success was the focus of many national newspaper articles praising the town and its inhabitants.
Born into slavery and educated illegally, Allensworth ran off and joined the Army during the Civil War. He became one of the Army's first Black chaplains and at his retirement in 1906, he was the highest ranking African American commissioned officer in the United States military.
The townsite was purchased in 1974 by the California State Parks. Some of the homes and buildings have been restored while others are reconstructions.
The prefabricated house of Colonel Allensworth, delivered by railroad and assembled in 1911.
Additional photographs can be found on this page of the Allensworth Historical Park website. A biography of Colonel Allensworth can be found on Wikipedia.