On The Map: Allensworth

On The Map: Originals

Today we visit a town that was designed by a Union Army Colonel. The town has an important place in history, as well as a place on the map.

This town was originally called Solita.

In 1908, Lt. Colonel Allen Allensworth purchased about 800 acres in this area.

You see, Allen Allensworth was an escaped slave, born in Louisville, Kentucky.

He joined the union side as a nurse originally.

And when he retired, he was the highest ranking African American in history at that time.

His plan was to establish a community entirely owned, operated, managed, governed, and populated by African Americans.

Professor William Payne was a guy he met in Southern California who joined him on his quest.

Together they formed the California Colony and Home Promoting Association.

Dozens of families moved to this community to open businesses, shops, have farms, there was a school.

It was a vibrant community for a while.

This building, in fact, is a reconstruction of the original bakery.

Some folks were working against the community.

The train tracks were literally across the street.

But the Santa Fe company used the spur line in Alpaugh to divert trains away from this community.

No trains means you can’t sell you crops.

Later on, it turns out the community was late in paying the tax bill for the water rights.

Another company took advantage and bought their water rights out from under them.

The final straw for this community was when Colonel Allensworth was killed in a traffic accident in 1914.

He lived in this house, but with their founder gone, folks started moving away.

The town was named after its founder.

And so, Allensworth is on the map of Tulare County.

Oh by the way, Allensworth was designated a state historic park in 1976. With Nikki Purewal behind the camera, I’m A.J. Fox.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

CBS47 On Your Side

Do you have a problem that you need help solving? Contact CBS47 and let us be On Your Side.

Phone: 559-761-0383
Email: OnYourSide@cbsfresno.com