A Brief Timeline of Richland Farms in Compton


Departures is KCET's oral history and interactive documentary project that thoroughly explores neighborhoods through the people that live there. In January, SoCal Focus is taking you through the Richland Farms series one day at a time.

To start the journey into Richland Farms, a sense of place and history will help. By no means is this a complete timeline, but it should give a good picture of the land's past.

1770s: Spanish Missionaries encounter Shoshone tribes living on the land.
1784: With Mexico and California under the command of Spain, 75,000 acres of land on a tract called Ranchero San Pedro are granted to soldier Juan José Dominguez (Dominguez Hills to the south of current-day Compton was later named after him).
1821: Mexico wins independence from Spain.
1850: The Mexican-American War, in which some battles were fought on Ranchero San Pedro, results in the land becoming a part of a U.S. territory. The Dominguez family retains control of the land.
1865: The Dominguez family sells 4,000 acres in the current-day Compton region to P.F. Temple and Fielding W. Gibson. The area soon becomes known as Gibsonville.
1867: Reverend Griffith Dickenson Compton leads a group of 30 people from Stockton to Gibsonville, which later becomes Comptonville, in search of a way to make a living after the gold rush.
1880s: The area is known for producing grain.
1888: Griffith D. Compton donates his land to be incorporated as the city of Compton and stipulates a portion that became Richland Farms be zoned as agricultural. The first city council meeting takes place on May 14..
1890s: Alfalfa has now replaced grain production, and dairy cattle, poultry and fruit orchards diversify the area's crops.
1900s: Compton is now also known for its pumpkins.
1910s: Sugar beets and cauliflower are now also major crops.
1950s: Black families from the South moving to Los Angeles found a "home away from home" in Richland Farms. Large-scale agricultural business could not be sustained, but farming for the family and community became a tradition.
1970s/80s: Younger generations begin to sell their family lands, often abandoning the sustainable practice of farm work, when the terms "rural" and "country" begin to strike many black people in Compton as a slur.
1990s: Rural Latinos from Mexico and Central America migrating to Los Angeles find features that had made Compton and Richland Farms attractive to the previous group of migrants also a draw for them.

Departures Richland Farms series is broken down into two parts: The Past and The Present. Each are made into interactive murals. The above information is based on The Past's first mural hotspot.

About the Author

Zach Behrens is KCET's Director of News, Region and State, working on digital and on-air news products that relate to Southern California and beyond.
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