On April 22, 1970, Chicano Activist and Barrio Logan residents joined forces to protest the construction of a Highway Patrol station by taking over the site. The land had been promised to the community but the promise was broken. This infuriated the community who wanted to convert a cold and ugly area below the Coronado Bridge into a park in which their children could play while showcasing Chicano/Mexican/Indigenous history and culture.
The activist and residents formed a human chain around bulldozers to prevent construction. At one point the people took over the bulldozers to flatten the earth for the park's construction, while residents planted nopales (cactus) in the future garden area. The community came together for several days breaking ground for the creation of the park they longed for but were denied by city and state officials for years. After several months of negotiation, the community was granted the land.
Today you see the community enjoying the park that they fought for. Slowly they are beautifying the park by adding new murals, planting more vegetation and keeping the park clean so that generations may enjoy it in the future.
ADDRESS: 1949 Logan Ave San Diego, CA 92113
RECOMMENDATIONS: Bring your camera
BEST TIME TO GO: During the Day.
There are homeless people living in the park.
The park has two basketball courts, two handball courts, skatepark, children's play area, gardens, benches, sculptures, and a kiosk. The most impressive feature of the park is its murals. The murals were carefully designed by Chicano artists to include images of leaders, famous Mexican artists, historical figures, Aztec warriors, mythical creatures and other images that represent the heart and soul of Chicano culture. To protect this treasure for future generations, in January 2017 the park was designated a National Historic Landmark.
There are 73 official murals listed on the official Chicano Park map. The map was created by the Chicano Park Steering Committee who oversees the continuous development of the park. Research suggests there may be around 80 murals currently and more to come. The murals are painted on the freeway columns and walls around the Chicano Park. Some murals have been painted over and others were restored.
It is hard to describe every mural and what was going inside the head of each artist when they painted their murals however here are some brief descriptions of some of the murals. For more information on the murals, I recommend you visit, chicanoparksandeigo.com. Although I tried to photography each mural in Chicano Park it was difficult to do so because some murals were blocked by homeless people. I believe I photographed about 95% of the murals. Some murals will be gone and new murals will appear in their place.
Historical Mural (1973)
Artist: Toltecas en Aztlan
Guillermo Aranda. Arturo Roman, Salvador Barrajas, Jose Cervantes, Sammy Llamas. Bebe Llamas, Victor Ochoa, Ernest Paul, Guillermo Rosete. Guilbert "Magu" Lujan & M.E.Ch.A. group from U.C. Irvine.
The mural features the following images:
Cesar Chavez a Mexican American prominent union leader and labor organizer who founded the National Farm Workers Association. He was an activist for the field workers and organized the first strike (depicted on the mural) against grape growers in California. He was fighting for secure raises and improved working conditions. (https://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/us_mex.html)
It also features the red flag with eagle, various leaders, and artists, the Virgin Mary, Aztec warriors, field workers, Aztec calendar, pyramids along with other images.
Artist: Toltecas en Aztlán & El Congreso de Artistas Chicanos en Aztlán
Guillermo Aranda, Salvador Barrajas, José Cervantes, Sammy Llamas, Bebe Llamas, Victor Ochoa, Ernest Paul, Arturo Roman, Guillermo Rosete, Mario Torero, Salvador Torres., 1973
Quetzalcoatl (Quet-zal-co-at) is an ancient Mesoamerican god, a mixture between a bird and a rattlesnake. The mural also depicts the Coronado Bridge, Yin/Yang symbol, Aztec warriors, the red flag with eagle, among other iconic images. What is most noticeable about this mural is the swastika. Before the association between Hitler and the swastika was made the swastika mean something completely different. In regards to the Chicano Park, the artists painted this symbol to represent transformation and movement according to the Chicanoparksandiego.com.
Varrio Si. Yonkes No! (Neighborhood Yes, Junkyards No!)
Raul Jose Jacquez, Alvaro Millan, Victor Ochoa, Armando Rodriguez, 1977
Restored, 1989: Raul Jose Jacquez, Alvaro Millan, Victor Ochoa, Armando Rodriguez, Vidal Aguirre.
This mural was painted in an effort to remove the junkyards (Yonkes) of crushed cars in the Barrio Logan community.