Friday, May 16, 2014

Native American Village Site in Fullerton!

The following is an excerpt from a work-in-progress called The Town I Live In: a History of Fullerton.

In 1939, the United States Works Progress Administration (WPA) sponsored an archeological dig in Fullerton on what was then the Sunny Hills Ranch (a vast Orange Ranch owned by the Bastanchury family).  The WPA was a socialist program created by president Frankiln D. Roosevelt that hugely benefitted Fullerton.  The Fullerton Police Station, Post Office, Museum, Fullerton College, and many public buildings still in use today were WPA buildings.  The WPA also commissioned public art (like the Pastoral California mural on the side of Plummer Auditorium) and anthropological studies, like the one conducted in 1939, in Fullerton.

The excavation happened near the intersection of what is now Commonwealth and Brookhurst Avenues.  Here's a map from the study, showing the site area, which is called "Sunny Hills Site No. 1":

Participants in the dig included School Superintendent Louis Plummer, two archeologists, and a few other workers.  Here they are on the dig site:

During the dig, they uncovered many native American artifacts belonging to the local tribe known as the Kizh (they are often erroneously called Gabrielino or Tongva).  Louis Plummer compiled the findings of the study into a book, which is available for view in the Launer Local History room of the Fullerton Public Library.  Here are some of the artifacts uncovered in this study:

Somewhat disturbingly, the archeologists also uncovered a single object of Spanish origin, a metal spear point:

This is disturbing because it was Spain who first began to colonize California, and to force Native Americans to abandon thousands of years of living sustainably, and to instead live as slaves in the Missions, which were like west coast plantations.  

After reading about this village site, I went on an Indiana Jones-style hunt for its location with my dad, using my 1939 map.  I said, "I am like Indiana Jones and you are like Sean Connery's character in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade."  Instead of finding any kind of plaque or museum, I only found a housing development.  I'm sure this the story with most Native American village sites in Orange County.  I asked my dad to take a picture of me by the approximate location of the village site.  Here it is.

1 comment:

  1. If I could do a thumbs up on here, I would. Love this post!