Allen Allensworth was born a slave. He was sold twice before he escaped. He joined the Union Army to fight against slavery during the Civil War. He became a minister and joined the army again as a chaplain. He rose to the high rank of Colonel.
In 1908 Colonel Allensworth and some friends bought some land along the railroad tracks where black families could live together in a community and farm to make their living. In those days, black people were not accepted as neighbors by many white people.
By 1914 there was a post office, a school, a church, and even a county judge. In those days the water came up out of the ground in some places, and it was easy to dig a well with a shovel. But as more people farmed, the water went deeper, and it became hard to farm, and even hard to live there. Most of the people had to move to other places.
In 1974 the California State Park system established Allensworth State Historical Park. Many of the old buildings, including the school, the church, the library, some stores, and the Allensworth home, have been restored and are open for tours. There is a campground and a visitor’s center, where a Park Ranger will answer questions about this special place.
Allensworth State Historical Park even has its own website.
The modern town of Allensworth is right next to the park. It no longer has a post office or a library of its own, but there is a new school with over 100 students.