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City of Riverside Latino Historic Context Statement
The City of Riverside Latino Historic Context Statement is the winner of a 2019 Preservation Design Award in the Cultural Resource Studies category. Award recipients are selected by a jury of top professionals in the fields of architecture, engineering, planning, and history, as well as renowned architecture critics and journalists. In making their decision, the jury noted the impressive community engagement and breadth of the report, stating, “they did a lot of outreach, which was really key in trying to gather this information. I love that it’s surveying an underserved community in preservation, and the survey itself is important.” The complete report is available here: riversideca.gov/latinocontext.
The Award will be presented on Friday, October 18, 2019 at a gala dinner and awards ceremony at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins in San Francisco. Tickets and sponsorship options are available at californiapreservation.org/awards.
About this project
The City of Riverside is home to one of the oldest, most cohesive Latino communities in California. Across generations, for over a century, this community has made a vital, immeasurable contribution to the City. As of 2018, however, only one landmark significant to the Latino community had been designated in Riverside. Without a comprehensive, thematic historic context statement in place, potential historic resources were difficult to identify.
The Riverside Latino Historic Context Statement corrects this gap by providing a comprehensive framework for recognizing the rich history of Riverside’s Latino community. Through the project, dozens of potential historic resources were identified. Researchers relied not only on exhaustive primary-source research, but also an extraordinary level of involvement and input by the community. In this way, the Riverside Latino Historic Context Statement represents a true community effort and a first-of-its-kind study that will help the City identify and designate significant Latino-related historic resources.
Funded through a Certified Local Government grant, the Riverside Latino Historic Context Statement provides the City’s first panoramic view of over a century of Latino history, heritage and culture. The study and inventory drew on extensive community input and archival research to create a comprehensive method for identifying and designating Latino-related historic resources.
The Riverside Latino Historic Context Statement is organized around four principal thematic categories: Theme #1: Making a Home and a Nation, Theme #2: Making a Living, Theme #3: Making a Life, Theme #4: Making a Democracy: Latino Struggles for Inclusion. Dozens of potential historic resources were identified under these themes, as a result of community input, research, and focused surveys.
The study is tailored to the history and character of Riverside. For example, the citrus industry decisively shaped early settlement and employment patterns for Latinos throughout the City. Therefore, a subtheme, “Citrus and Agriculture Workers,” was created to provide a framework for weighing the work and achievements of agricultural laborers. In this way, Riverside Latino Historic Context Statement sheds light on these and many other long marginalized stories.
The Riverside Latino Historic Context Statement represents an important step toward ensuring that historic resources significant to Riverside’s Latino community are proactively recognized, identified, and preserved.
Photos © Riverside Public Library, Riverside Municipal Museum, Riverside County Mexican American Historical Society, Rincon Consultants, Inc., Diocese of San Bernardino
Scott Watson, MHC, Riverside Community & Economic Development Dept.
City of Riverside Contract Senior Planner
Jennifer Mermilliod, MA, JM Research & Consulting
Principal Author and Investigator
Debi Howell-Ardila, MHP, Rincon Consultants, Inc.
Shannon Carmack, Rincon Consultants, Inc.
Jan Ostashay, Ostashay & Associates Consulting
Principal in Charge
Mike Gialketsis, Rincon Consultants, Inc.
Linda Salinas-Thompson, Riverside County Mexican-American Historical Society