Forty Acres, Roy Reuther Administration Building, 30168 Garces Highway (Northwest Corner of Garces Highway and Mettler Avenue), Delano, Kern County, CA
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See HABS CA-2878, Forty Acres, for additional information about the site.
Significance: The Roy Reuther Administration Building is one of four buildings at Forty Acres, a property closely associated with the life of Cesar Chavez and the history of the farm worker movement he led from 1962 until his death in 1993. Located on the outskirts of Delano, California, Forty Acres served as the headquarters of the United Farm Workers (UFW) from 1969 to 1972. The property also served as the farm worker movement's flagship "service center," under the auspices of the National Farm Workers Service Center, Inc. (NFWSC), from the late 1960s to the late 1970s. Forty Acres was the site of several significant events between 1968 and 1993, and it continues to serve as an important locus of collective memory. Forty Acres was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2008.
Plans for the Roy Reuther Administration Building—the second building constructed at Forty Acres—took shape in April 1968. By that point, the success of the United Farm Worker Organizing Committee's grape boycott and the completion of Cesar Chavez's first public fast had generated new levels of support and strength. The union was growing, and the services provided by the NFWSC were expanding. The large, steel-frame building would provide a centralized administrative space as well as space for services and meetings.
The building's method of construction reflected its close association with the farm worker movement. Richard Chavez served as the contractor, and he actively sought discounted or donated building materials. His small crew of workers also sought and received assistance from scores of skilled volunteers from building trade unions, including cement finishers, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, painters, and tile setters. Such assistance helped farm workers build solidarity with other members of the broader labor movement.
The Administration Building was completed in September 1969. It was named in honor of Roy Reuther, the brother of United Auto Workers President Walter Reuther. Upon completion, the building became significant as a symbol of the enduring presence of the farm worker movement.
Unprocessed Field note material exists for this structure: N2079
Survey number: HABS CA-2878-B
Building/structure dates: 1968-1969 Initial Construction
National Register of Historic Places NRIS Number: 08001090