Rowland Heights Community History
Rowland Heights is not a city. It is an unincorporated community of Los Angeles County, and is situated on the land formerly known as La Puente Rancho, a grant of nearly 49,000 acres awarded to American settlers John Rowland and William Workman, by the Mexican government in 1842. In 1851 the two men agreed to split the rancho lands between themselves, with Rowland taking possession of the 29,000 acres to the east and Workman the remaining lands to the west. Prior to 1960 the land was mostly agricultural and dotted with thousands of walnut, avocado, and citrus trees. Oil was discovered in the hills surrounding the community in 1884 and for the next 40 years the Puente Oil Company and its successors supplied oil to the Los Angeles Cable Railway and a beet sugar refinery in Chino. Beginning in 1960 the area began to change. Water led the way, then streets and eventually, the 60 Freeway. Farms eventually gave way to housing tracts and the population grew from about 4,500 in 1960, to approximately 60,000 today. We now live in one of the most culturally diverse communities in Southern California.
Rowland Heights Parade History
It all started in 1970. The Rowland Heights Junior Women’s Club and Rowland Heights Woman’s Clubs Federated, sponsored an annual 3-day festival known as Buckboard Days as a major fundraiser for both clubs.
Keep in mind, this was a bedroom community, somewhat isolated without much of a freeway, and nothing to really pull the entire community together. To overcome community apathy, instill a sense of pride and community spirit and to increase attendance and add to the festivities of Buckboard Days Carnival & Festival, it was decided to add a parade. This was the only annual community-wide event involving children and adults of all ages as well as dogs and horses. The business community has also become an integral part of the event. AND, it hasn’t been easy to keep the tradition going!
Community youth groups and civic organizations have always been instrumental in making the event a success. The name Buckboard Days covers the time span and changes that have taken place since the first settlers arrived in the area now known as Rowland Heights. Long-time area residents have always been honored and recognized and are especially invited to participate.
For years the parade was organized by Don and Kathie Delegal, long time residents. Each year a Grand Marshal has been selected by the Parade Committee. When Don and Kathie were preparing to move, they worked with community groups to take over the responsibilities.
In 2011, the Rowland Heights Community Coordinating Council and the Rowland Heights Chinese Association took the helm. Beth Hojnacke, president of RHCCC, and Sue Ann Tai, president of RHCA did a fine job their first year. Corporate and personal sponsorships and donations, as well as the support from our Fourth District Supervisor, Don Knabe make the parade happen.
2018 is the 46th Anniversary of the parade and festival. The tradition continues. The parade route currently goes from Nogales and Colima to Banida Avenue, turning left, ending at Rowland Heights County Park. The Festival immediately follows the parade at the park and is put on by the LA County Parks and Recreation Dept.