Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Lots of Dead Ends in Richland Farms Search

A lot of people are checking in since yesterday, mostly with dead ends, which makes this project of tracing the history of Richland Farms in Compton confounding.

Betty Uyeda at the Seaver Center can find anything on ProQuest, and she brought in some new information about other real estate developments near Richland Farms. She sent lots of ads on Athens-On-The-Hill and Richland Farms, and she wrote:
One of the most heavily promoted was Athens-On-The-Hill, a luxury rather than an agricultural development, its development happened earlier, but also during the same era as Richland. Athens-On-The-Hill was heavily advertised in the L.A.Times in the years 1912 and 1913. Attached are select articles as well as a couple for nearby Willowbrook and Panama Acres.

According to Leonard and Dale Pitt’s guide “Los Angeles A to Z”, Compton was where the region’s first artesian well was discovered. Aside from that, don’t quote me, but perhaps Richland didn’t have enough water, whereas Athens-On-The-Hill was in the city of L.A., opportunistically being developed in time for L.A. to get its water from the Owens Valley by 1913.

UCLA Library’s Susan D. Anderson, Curator of Collecting Los Angeles, suggested contacting the City of Compton and the Historical Society of Southern California. (Thanks also to Darlena Hunter at UCLA’s Bunche Center for forwarding my inquiry on to Susan).
  • Unfortunately, HSSC didn’t have much on our topic. Julian van Zandweghe looked through the indices of HSSC’s quarterly publication and found nothing specifically on Richland Farms. There were a few mentions of Compton, but he didn’t think those articles would be too helpful. He’ll let us know if something interesting comes up.
  • We will follow up with the City of Compton. Lorri Thomson, an assistant at the City offices, asked Compton’s Deputy Director about who would know about Richland Farms, and he directed us to Compton’s City Clerks office or the Planning Department.
City Clerks-(310) 605-5530 Planning Department-(310) 605-5532

Susan D. Anderson of UCLA also pointed us to George Pigeon Clements Papers, 1825-1945, which Alex here at KCET will look into:
George P. Clements (1867-1958) was an organizer (1918) and manager of the Agricultural Department of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce (1918-39), a counselor on agriculture and conservation (1939-47) and Director of the Los Angeles County Farm Bureau. The collection contains manuscripts, printed material, reports, photographs, government publications, and correspondence related to George P. Clements.

Professor Josh Sides put us in touch with Natale Zappia, a colleague at CSUN who sent us a chapter he’s written for a forthcoming book Josh Sides is editing on South LA. Nat’s excellent manuscript provides a broad look at the history of farming in the South LA, especially Watts, At Josh’s suggestion, we also contacted Professor Kevin Leonard at Western Washington University, and we’re looking forward to seeing what he knows.

UC Extension Cooperative County Director Rachel Surls, Ph.D. got back to us and doesn’t have much to add since the history of farming in L.A. that she and Judi Gerber want to write is still in the planning stage.

The photo (below, in yesterday's post) of G.D. Compton and his wife Emily comes from Tom Philo, CSUDH, from their collection,186.

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