Trains will bring visitors to celebrate at a site unique to California’s African American history
By David Lipari, San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority
Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park is holding its annual celebratory Juneteenth event on Saturday, June 10 from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. In partnership, Amtrak San Joaquins has scheduled a special stop at the park for multiple trains, bookable at a 50 percent discount rate to bring travelers to the historically significant Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park.
The town of Allensworth was established in 1908 by Colonel Allen Allensworth and at one point was home to more than 300 families. The park is a California state treasure because it was the first town in California to be founded, financed, and governed by African Americans. Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park became a historical landmark in 1974.
The Juneteenth Festival is a key annual event hosted by Friends of Allensworth (FOA), a 501(c)(3) charitable organization whose mission is to support, promote, and advance the educational and interpretive activities at Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park. The Juneteenth holiday commemorates the June 19th, 1865, arrival of Union Army troops in Galveston, Texas, bearing news that the institution of slavery had been terminated, officially spreading news of the freedom of all enslaved people.
“Amtrak San Joaquins has been a long-time partner to the FOA in connecting the people of California and visitors with the historic town of Allensworth” said FOA President, Sasha Biscoe. “We encourage any individual that is interested in immersing themselves in the rich, ethnically diverse history of our state to consider taking advantage of the affordable, convenient, and fun transportation option provided by Amtrak San Joaquins and join us on June 10th to celebrate this important holiday.”
Event activities will include square dancing, self-guided tours of historic buildings, historic games with prizes, storytelling, and arts and crafts. Food and refreshment vendors will also be present. Travelers can also bring their bikes and chairs aboard Amtrak trains and Thruway buses.
The southbound trains that will be running for the event include trains 702, 710, 712, 714. When purchasing train tickets, a 50 percent discount will automatically be applied to the ticket purchase. Additional discount programs regularly available to riders includes:
- Infants under 2 years of age ride for free
- Children 2-12 years old ride half-price every day
- Seniors (62+ years of age) receive 15% off
- Veterans & active military members receive 15% off
- Disabled riders save 15% off
Visitors attending the Juneteenth Festival will be able to take Amtrak San Joaquins trains to the Allensworth station. From there, riders will be met by a free shuttle for the short ride to the main property. The Allensworth station is normally a whistle stop on the San Joaquins available to be booked by groups desiring to visit the park.
Train tickets to Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park can be booked online at amtraksanjoaquins.com. For more information on how to book a group trip to Allensworth, please contact Carmen Setness, community outreach coordinator for San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission (SJRRC), at Carmen@sjjpa.com.
About Allensworth State Historic Park
The town of Allensworth is located in the heart of the Central Valley, about 30 miles north of Bakersfield, and has a rich history that is of interest to students, families, history buffs, minority community organizations, and anyone else looking to spend a fun day exploring the historic community and its restored buildings. In 1908, Allensworth was established as a town founded, financed and governed by African Americans. There were a series of challenges impeding the town’s long-term survival, but it is celebrated as a key historic icon, and in 1974 California State Parks purchased the land in order to maintain it as a site for visitors to learn and explore the Colonel’s house, historic schoolhouse, Baptist church, and library.
About the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority (SJJPA)
Since July 2015, SJJPA has been responsible for the management and administration of Amtrak San Joaquins. SJJPA is governed by Board Members representing each of the ten (10) Member Agencies along the 365-mile San Joaquins Corridor. For more information on SJJPA see www.sjjpa.com.
Amtrak San Joaquins is Amtrak’s 6th busiest route with 18 train stations throughout the Central Valley and Bay Area, providing a safe, comfortable and reliable way to travel throughout California. Amtrak San Joaquins is currently running six daily round-trips. In addition to the train service, Amtrak San Joaquins Thruway buses provide connecting service to 135 destinations in California and Nevada including Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Diego, Napa Valley, Las Vegas and Reno.