San Diego's Chicano Park designated as National Historic Landmar - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

San Diego's Chicano Park designated as National Historic Landmark

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8/CNS) - U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell designated 24 new National Historic Landmarks, including Chicano Park in San Diego on Wednesday.

The National Historic Landmarks included a little historical description about the park with their announcement:

On April 20, 1970, community residents occupied Chicano Park in San Diego, California, in an ultimately successful effort to prevent the construction of a California Highway Patrol substation on land where the City of San Diego had promised the neighborhood a community park. Representative of the Chicano Civil Rights Movement, Chicano Park has become a cultural and recreational gathering place for the Chicano community and is the location of the Chicano Park Monumental Murals, an exceptional assemblage of master mural artwork painted on the freeway bridge supports.

The park was eventually built under the mainland end of the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge and is now the site of numerous community festivals.

A bill introduced by Rep. Juan Vargas, D-San Diego, that called on Jewell to study whether to make the park a landmark passed the House of Representatives last year but wasn't taken up by the Senate. He reintroduced it last week.

"The designation of Chicano Park as a National Historic Landmark is incredible news for the community of Barrio Logan in San Diego, the future of the park, and the many activists who throughout the years have advocated for a space where families can gather and where people can celebrate their shared cultural heritage," Vargas said.

"As a National Historic Landmark, Chicano Park will contribute to the diverse history of our nation for years and years to come," he said. "This designation will ensure that the story of struggle and unity of the Mexican-American community in Barrio Logan will continue to be told."

The park is part of the San Diego City Council district represented by David Alvarez.

"I am very pleased to receive the news of the National Historic Landmark designation given to Chicano Park," Alvarez said. "Receiving this landmark status will help preserve this location for generations to come and further validate the communities' struggle for equality and social justice."

Among the other new landmarks are:

  • The former Jackson, Mississippi, home of slain civil rights advocate Medgar Evers

  • The site where four Kent State students were fatally shot during a 1970 protest by members of the Ohio National Guard

  • The Neutra studio and residences in Los Angeles, also known as the VDL Research House, which are associated with Richard Neutra, a major figure of the 20th century modern movement in architecture

  • Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission Chapel in San Jose, a key site in the
    Mexican American civil rights movement.

"These 24 new designations depict different threads of the American story that have been told through activism, architecture, music, and religious observance," Jewell said. "Their designation ensures future generations have the ability to learn from the past as we preserve and protect the historic value of these properties and the more than 2,500 other landmarks nationwide."

"As the National Park Service kicks off its second century of stewardship of America's natural and historic treasures, we look forward to connecting new generations of Americans to the places and stories recognized as National Historic Landmarks today," said National Park Service Acting Director Michael T. Reynolds.

According to the Interior Department, the landmarks program recognizes "historic properties of exceptional value to the nation" and promotes the preservation efforts of federal, state and local agencies and Native American tribes, as well as those of private organizations and individuals.


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