By Laura R. Barraclough
Read Online or Download Making the San Fernando Valley: Rural Landscapes, Urban Development, and White Privilege PDF
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Extra info for Making the San Fernando Valley: Rural Landscapes, Urban Development, and White Privilege
The three chapters in part 1 explore the ways in which the San Fernando Valley was deliberately planned as a white settler society from 1900 to 1960. Chapter 1 analyzes visions and practices of gentleman farming (small-scale suburban agriculture), which was intended to regenerate the “essential” characteristics of the white race through the strategic combination of rural and urban lifestyles, and produced many of the Valley’s iconic citrus groves, poultry ranches, and other kinds of rural districts that would be celebrated by later generations of residents, planners, and activists.
Los Angeles voters passed the initiative by a wide margin. 35 Yet it is also important to note that the completion of the aqueduct was a vital first step without which middle-class gentleman farming simply could not proceed. Gentleman farmers purchased and then cultivated smaller tracts of land carved out of the elites’ enormous holdings after the aqueduct’s completion, and their suburban farms benefited in untold ways from access to a cheap, seemingly endless water supply paid for by taxpayers throughout the city.
Throughout the state, a plutocracy of agribusiness interests controlled the majority of acreage, employed the majority of workers, and received most of the profits. 8 percent of lemon producers controlled nearly 58 percent of the land devoted to that crop. Such patterns of land monopoly equally plagued the San Fernando Valley. For example, the 4,100-acre Sunshine Ranch, owned by the Edwards and Wiley Company, contained the Valley’s largest citrus orchard of approximately 1,000 acres, alongside other crops.