This survey was originally conceived in order to broaden the spectrum of ethnic community participation in historic preservation activities and to provide better information on ethnic history and associated sites. This information will help planners identify and evaluate ethnic properties, which have generally been under represented on historic property surveys. Most surveys record architecturally distinguished or widely known buildings, but ethnic properties are often modest structures or important because of people or events less familiar to many. Most of all, the public needed the opportunity to become more aware of California's cultural diversity and its tangible manifestations on the land.
In response to legislative action, in 1979, the California Office of Historic Preservation took the lead to improve representation of ethnic minority properties in cultural resource surveys. For this first effort, California's five largest minority present during the 50 years after 1848 were chosen. Following recruitment in search of the best possible experts for each subject area, contacts were awarded and the surveys were done. The surveys consisted of a narrative history and one hundred recorded sites, one-quarter of which were described in the final report.
The authors of each survey expressed their own views, and although the report has been edited for clarity and consistency, their conclusions have not been revised or altered. Their statements do not necessarily represent the position or opinions of the State of California or any of its official representatives. The various chapters should, therefore, be looked upon as individual statements, presented as a public service without copyright restrictions. Use of this material is encouraged, with credit to the California Department of Parks and Recreation and the authors themselves.
The survey should be useful in a variety of ways to researchers, schools, government agencies, historic preservation organizations, and ethnic communities. We hope that it will stimulate interest and action among groups in California and in other states. Most of all we hope that it will help people more fully recognize and appreciate the accomplishments and contributions of California's varied communities.
In any case, it is important to remember that this report is only a beginning, one step in an ongoing process. It raises more questions than it answers. What other groups should be studied? How are these five groups alike or different? Are there universal themes? What other factors could be explored? How do the groups' histories interrelate? Are there other sites that should be preserved or recognized?
While this report provides a starting point for further research, its existence should demonstrate the effort being made to more fully recognize California's ethnic diversity and the contributions that have been made to our heritage by Californians of widely differing backgrounds.
Henry R. Agonia, Director
This publication has been financed in part with federal funds from the National Park Service, Department of the Interior. However, the contents do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of the Interior. Regulations of the Department of the Interior strictly prohibit unlawful discrimination in department federally assisted programs on the basis of race, color, national origin, age or handicap. Any person who believes he or she has been discriminated against in any program, activity, or facility operated by a recipient of federal assistance should write to the Director, Equal Opportunity Program National Park Service, Post Office Box 37127, Washington, D.C. 20013-7127.