Don't give away your family's heritage and history
The subtitle of this blog is really a warning: Don't Give Away Your Family's Heritage and History.
The Chavez Ravine neighborhoods of Palo Verde, Bishop, and La Loma were physically destroyed during the 1950s.. In case there is any question about what it looked like in the Stone Quarry Hills after the eviction notices were handed out, look at these Before and After aerial photographs. First, this is the village in 1948 — two years BEFORE the evictions and condemnations began.
Now compare the view above with what the same area looked like in 1952 — just four years later and two years AFTER evictions began.
What remained after the evictions
Following the evictions, the houses were gone — either sold and moved, destroyed, or used as practice for the Los Angeles Fire Department — and the land was bare.
The fact is that all that remained of Palo Verde, Bishop, and La Loma was what residents took with them, including household goods, furniture, clothing, and — importantly — family documents and photographs. It is those precious family documents and photographs that is the focus of this blog.
There are some who have tried to take your family's history — your documents and photographs — from you
Your precious documents and photographs belong to you. It is important that you think very carefully before you turn over possession of your unique family history to another person. It is one thing to allow your family history to be copied and returned to you; but it is another thing altogether to give it to someone who will keep it for their own purposes and not return it to you. If you do give it away, it may be lost forever to you and your family.
There have been several attempts to acquire family documents and photographs from the survivors of the evictions of Chavez Ravine and their descendants. One such attempt even requires families to sign a Deed of Gift, which would seem to give possession of your property to individuals, to be used however that person wishes, and never returned to you.
It is the position of this blog that requiring you to sign away your right of possession to your own family history is both unethical and immoral.
But there is something you can do ...
Sign a Document of Rescission to demand the return of your property and your family's history
A Document of Rescission sounds like a fancy legal term. It is, in fact, a legal term, but it is not fancy and it may be a way that you can get your property returned to you.
There are eight ways to void any Deed of Gift you may have signed; but three of them are very clear and may apply to you:
If any of these three things is true, then you are completely within your rights, legally-speaking, to demand that the Deed of Gift be voided and to regain possession of your property. You can do this by signing a Document of Rescission.
The first of these three reasons to justify voiding a Deed of Gift is very straightforward: you may not have understood clearly what you were signing. It's just that simple
The second one is also straightforward: say the person or persons promised that there would be a public meeting to explain their project and that meeting never took place.
The third is a little more complicated, but let's say that is has become clear that it would be better (in the public interest) if you, the original owner of your property, were allowed to keep what rightfully belongs to you. Since the village in the Stone Quarry Hills, consisting of the neighborhoods of Palo Verde, Bishop, and La Loma, was destroyed, the only record of its existence may be your family's documents and photographs, and to give them all to one person would effectively rob you, your families, and your neighbors of that heritage.
Think about what you and your family will lose if you give your heritage and your family's history away
Information on Rescission of a Contract from the State of California may be found here.
A link to a Document of Rescission may be found by clicking on the Buried Under The Blue. image, below.
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."