The author was fortunate to have been able to attend, for the first time, the annual reunion and picnic of los Desterrados on Saturday, 18 July. For a historian and genealogist, it was a treasure chest of memories and living history. Although I am a relative outsider — I descend from the founders of Solano Canyon and no one in my family lived in Chávez Ravine — I felt welcomed, and I was able to talk with many of the residents and descendants of those who were displaced from la Loma, Palo Verde, and Bishop.
Neither lightning nor rain (but no snow or sleet) ...
Right at nine o'clock, as if on cue, the skies opened up, and a magnificent thunderstorm passed directly over the picnic site, accompanied by profuse lightning and heavy rain. Spirits were not dampened, however, and when it passed and the sun came out, it was a warm and pleasant day.
The need to preserve history from living memory ...
It is important to preserve and record the history that is within the memory of those who lived it. For something as momentous as the Chávez Ravine evictions, and for those of us who wish to study that event, it is particularly important. It is incredible how much the generation that went through the evictions — even as relatively young children — remember about the events of that time.
... by recording memories and asking questions
That's the author on the left, asking a question to clarify a point from some of the ones who were actually there.
About the Author
Bouett is a retired research scientist and registered professional
engineer who now conducts historical and genealogical research
full-time. A ninth-generation Californian, he is particularly interested in the displacement of the nearly 1,100 families that lived in the Chavez Ravine communities of la Loma, Palo Verde, and Bishop to make way, ultimately, for the construction of Dodger Stadium. His ancestors arrived in California with Portolá in 1769 and came to Los Angeles with the founders on September 4, 1781.
"Thank you for such an informative site which highlights the plight of those relocated from Chavez Ravine. My stepfather was a happy child growing up in the Palo Verde area. He had many stories about living in the area and working at the [Ayala] store."