We all know that all of us Dodger fans love our team — right? And no one can blame us for that — also right? But there are a few things we should probably stop and take a moment to consider, not about our Dodgers, but about what took place on the land on which Dodger Stadium is built. So it's not such a bad thing to take the opportunity to understand some history — right?
First, though, let's stipulate that when we say "Chavez Ravine" here, we're talking about the communities of la Loma, Palo Verde, and Bishop that were home to thousands of people who were uprooted and evicted from their homes. Much of their land is now occupied by Dodger Stadium and its parking lots.
It's true. There were about 415 families in la Loma, 575 in Palo Verde, and 110 in Bishop who were evicted from their homes, many of them forcibly.
Evidence from census records between 1900 and 1940 proves that the families that were evicted were about 73% Hispanic, and that most of the adults were from México.
This blatant racism made it easier for the City to justify their condemning the Chavez Ravine communities and taking the land — by force is necessary.
One was Palo Verde Elementary School and the other was Paducah Elementary School. The Palo Verde school was simply buried under tons of earth to build the pad for additional parking for Dodger Stadium.
The church of el Santo Niño was located in what is now the Dodger Stadium parking lot beyond center field. It was founded early in the 20th-Century; the earliest reference is a photograph taken in 1925.
The convent of the Sisters of the Society of Mary was located in a beautiful Victorian house at the intersection of Effie Street and Paducah Street in Palo Verde.
There were several stores in Chavez Ravine. Families did not have to go to downtown Los Angeles for much of their shopping.
Most of the homes in Chavez Ravine had small gardens. They grew a variety of things, including corn, beans, tomatoes, and chiles in order to help feed their families.
Among the animals raised by residents of Chavez Ravine were chickens, turkeys, goats, cows, and horses.
Although the eviction notice of 1950 promised that residents were to receive a fair appraisal for their homes, the prices they were offered often did not match what the residents believed was fair, even if they were willing to leave and not be forcibly evicted.
One of the most heavily-documented evictions was that of the Aréchiga family in Palo Verde. The Aréchigas fought the eviction for nearly nine years before they were dragged out of their home by armed Sheriff's deputies. But they were not the only residents of Chavez Ravine who were displaced. Some of the survivors call themselves los Desterrados and they have a reunion each Summer in Chavez Ravine.
The following images have no captions; the images speak for themselves.
Was it really necessary to wipe the homes of 1,100 families off the face of Chavez Ravine to build Dodger Stadium? Look at the outlines of the communities. Isn't it possible that all of la Loma (the yellow outline on the right) and Palo Verde (the blue outline) could have been saved? Just who were these powerful people trying to get rid of, and why? Did it have to do with the color of their skin?
Dodger Stadium sits between Sulphur and Cemetery Ravines. There is an actual Chavez Ravine, but it is to the west of the stadium. Stadium Way today follows the original trail up Chavez Ravine to Frogtown.
Gratefully, Chavez Ravine has not been completely forgotten. In addition to los Desterrados and others, these are some of the ways the heartbreaking story of the Chavez Ravine evictions has been portrayed in print (photographs and text), on the stage, in in music.