The Tortilla flats Legacy Project Website is a digital compilation of the hard copy archives created from 1992-2022, documenting the Tortilla Flats neighborhood displaced in the late 1940’s-early 1950s when the 101 freeway was built through westside Ventura CA (the 1960s).
It contains the oral histories gathered from the neighborhood residents and the photos and drawings from which 3 monumental murals were created.
It contains media coverage and bureaucratic maneuverings of said murals. It contains the photo collection and identification of Tortilla Flats families and places – the ongoing efforts of the Tortilla Flats Legacy committee, as well as documentation of their many neighborhood reunions.
It is our intention that this website function as an educational tool, an inspiration for future oral history gathering, and historical documentation of what is lost in the course of social “progress.”
It is our desire that those exposed to this project recognize that history is made when individuals record and make art celebrating what happened to people and places.
Our message: Make your own History. The technological power to document is in everyone’s hands, much more so than when we started in 1993. Don’t wait for others to recognize what you believe is important to archive.
The Tortilla Flats Mural and Reunion Project was first presented publicly in the form of a neighborhood reunion in 1994, @ Nicholby’s Nightclub, and a 6 ’tall x 507’ long mural by Hanrahan and Mora in 1995. This first mural was located on Figueroa Street across from the Ventura County Fairgrounds. This mural and reunion were initially funded by a small City of Ventura grant, painted by community volunteers, and was ultimately realized through community sponsorship This first mural lasted 5 years and was temporary by nature. The inexpensive wooden panels that we used were donated, as were the various qualities and quantities of paints that were used. They did not stand the test of time.
The second mural is a City of Ventura Public Art Project, funded by a percentage for the Arts in conjunction with the Figueroa St. Improvement project and is located, ironically, at the 101 Freeway underpass, @ Figueroa St., Ventura CA 2008-2009. It reconfigured the original vision of the first mural, though used state-of-the-art materials. This mural includes much of the imagery of the first mural and incorporates vintage photographs on ceramic tiles, set in mosaic panels. It still exists.
The 3rd mural is located at 2 West Main St, Ventura CA on a Tortilla Flats era building. It was entirely community funded and reflects the work and lives of the Tortilla Flats diaspora, centered in the Ventura Avenue area. It is painted on polytab in the studio and installed on site. Dedicated in 2020, it also still exists.