Sunday, April 8, 2018

Historic Wintersburg featured on NBC

ABOVE: The Wintersburg Japanese Mission and manse (parsonage), circa 1910. These structures and four other structures, the majority over a century old, remain standing at Historic Wintersburg in Huntington Beach, California. © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Activists seek to preserve historic Japanese-American site involved in possible sale

Wintersburg Village was one of few sites owned by Japanese Americans before the California Alien Land Law of 1913.

by Caitlin Yoshiko Kandil /  / Updated 

Read the feature on NBC News at https://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/activists-seek-preserve-historic-japanese-american-site-involved-possible-sale-n858676

© All rights reserved.  No part of the Historic Wintersburg blog may be reproduced or duplicated without prior written permission from the author and publisher, M. Adams Urashima.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Update: Meeting with property owner to discuss future of National Treasure Historic Wintersburg

LISTENING TO VOICES FROM THE PAST: A composite image of two photographs, one hundred years apart. The present-day image is of members of the California Preservation Foundation at Historic Wintersburg during a workshop in 2013. The black and white image was taken 100 years earlier in 1913, as the Furutas moved into their new home in Wintersburg Village.  Shortly after the 1913 photograph was taken, California passed the Alien Land Law of 1913 which specifically prohibited property ownership by Japanese immigrants.  The prohibition was not lifted until the Supreme Court of California ruling in 1952 that the law was a violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution, Sei Fujii v. California. (Present-day photograph, 2013, Chris Jepsen; 1913 photograph courtesy of the Furuta family; photo composite, Kenneth Hayashida) © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

   On Friday, February 23, representatives of the Historic Wintersburg Preservation Task Force, Ocean View School District and the National Trust for Historic Preservation met with Republic Services to discuss more desirable and appropriate alternatives for the future use of the Historic Wintersburg property.

   READ: The latest update from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, https://savingplaces.org/places/historic-wintersburg/updates/support-for-historic-wintersburg-builds#.WpwqzOdG2M9

© All rights reserved.  No part of the Historic Wintersburg blog may be reproduced or duplicated without prior written permission from the author and publisher, M. Adams Urashima.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Support for preservation of Historic Wintersburg from Huntington Beach Historic Resources Board

ABOVE: Toshiko Furuta holds her sister, Grace, with Kazuko and Etsuko Furuta, near the Wintersburg Avenue frontage of the Gold Fish Farm, circa 1928.  The children are east of the barn, behind the Furuta's 1912 bungalow, A glimpse of an automobile just inside the barn.  Yukiko Furuta recalled in her 1982 oral history interview when her husband, Charles Mitsuji Furuta, bought their first automobile, a Chevy, after their second child, Toshiko, was born in 1916.  She shared that she was "scared to ride in it. The street was not well paved, and they could drive only twenty to twenty-five miles an hour." The Furuta barn is the last extant pioneer barn in Huntington Beach. Historic Wintersburg is one of the the last remaining Japanese-owned properties purchased before California's Alien Land Law of 1913.  (Photograph courtesy of the Furuta family) © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

   The City of Huntington Beach Historic Resources Board transmitted a letter to the Huntington Beach City Council, following the Board's February 8 special meeting, to convey their support for the preservation of Historic Wintersburg "in the strongest possible terms."  The Board requests the City Council "facilitate discussion between the property owner and those capable of purchasing and protecting Historic Wintersburg."

LEFT: Letter sent from the City of Huntington Beach Historic Resources Board to the City Council after the Board's February 8 special meeting. The Board acts in an advisory capacity, with a mission "to encourage and promote programs and activities that enhance public awareness of historic resources (and) as a liaison to Council for local, state and federal groups and agencies whose interest involves historic issues.

   The Historic Resources Board previously  supported the preservation of Historic Wintersburg, in a 2014 letter to the Orange County Historical Commission, an advisory body to the Orange County Board of Supervisors. The letter noted that then-owner Rainbow Environmental Services stated they would work with the community to preserve the historic goldfish farm and mission property.  The Historic Wintersburg Preservation Task Force ultimately funded the analysis cited in the letter through community donations.

   The Orange County Historical Commission transmitted a letter to the Huntington Beach Planning Commission in 2013, during public hearings regarding the possible rezoning  to commericial / industrial and proposed demolition of all six historic structures, by the previous owner of the property, Rainbow Environmental Services. This letter was included in the subsequent review by the Huntington Beach City Council.

RIGHT: Letter from  the City of Huntington Beach Historic Resources Board to the Orange County Historical Commission in 2013. Both the City board and the County commission advocated for the preservation of Historic Wintersburg.

   Although the Huntington Beach City Council in a split vote certified the Environmental Impact Report for the rezoning and demolition in November 2013, this action was halted when the Ocean View School District filed two separate lawsuits, against the City and against Rainbow Environmental.  After the School District's settlement with the City and Republic Services in November 2016 (Republic bought Rainbow Environmental Services at the end of 2015), the property reverted to its prior residential zoning. 
ABOVE: Grading in 1908 for the construction of Huntington Beach High School's first permanent buildings, near what is today Main Street and Yorktown Avenue. At the same time in 1908, Charles Furuta and Reverend Terasawa purchased the land that is known today as Historic Wintersburg. (Photograph, City of Huntington Beach archives, 1908)

   As part of the settlement agreement between the School District and Republic Services, the District retained "first right of refusal" should Republic consider selling Historic Wintersburg.  Development of the property for self storage (the current project proposed by Republic Services notice of their plan to sell to Public Storage) would require another environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).  

   All six structures on Historic Wintersburg are each classified as individually eligible for the state and national historic registries, with documentation regarding this in the City of Huntington Beach General Plan's Historic and Cultural Element.  The property is considered significant per state guidelines, which state a resource identified as significant in an historical resource survey which meets the requirements of the California Public Resources Code, shall be presumed to be historically or culturally significant unless the preponderance of evidence demonstrates that it is not.  Historic Wintersburg is noted as historically and culturally significant and is one of 100 National Treasure historic places in the United States, the first and only National Treasure in Orange County.

LEFT: A July 2013 letter from the Orange County Historical Commission advocating for the preservation of Historic Wintersburg.  The Commission is a 15-member citizen advisory group appointed from each of the five Supervisory Districts in Orange County. Their public mission is to "promote the preservation and use of buildings, sites, structures, objects, and districts of importance in Orange County, stimulate and encourage financial and partnership support for projects in the public and private sectors."  Among their accomplishments are the "acquisition and planning of Orange County historical parks, including: Heritage Hill, Irvine Ranch Headquarters, Key Ranch, Modjeska House and Gardens, Peralta Adobe, and Yorba Cemetery."

ABOVE: Orange County history from 1863 to 1908.  A glimpse inside the 1891 St. George's Episcopal Mission at Orange County's Heritage Hill Historical Park prior to a 2016 presentation about Historic Wintersburg for the Saddleback Area Historical Society.  Although the St. George's mission has slightly taller ceilings, it is similar in size to the 1909-1910 Wintersburg Japanese Mission. Heritage Hill Historical Park also is similar in size to the Historic Wintersburg property.  The Park's 4.1 acres includes four restored historic buildings that span the early history of the Saddleback Valley and El Toro area from the Mexican Rancho era (Serrano Adobe, circa 1863), to the founding of the town of El Toro (El Toro Grammar School, 1890; St. George's Episcopal Mission, 1891), ending with the citrus farming days of the early twentieth century (Harvey Bennett Ranch House, 1908).  Heritage Hill is open to the public, Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Photo, M. Urashima, January 23, 2016) © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

   Purchased for the Furuta goldfish farm and Wintersburg Japanese Mission in 1908, Historic Wintersburg can continue the history of Orange County exactly where Heritage Hill Historical Park leaves off, if preserved as a historical park for future generations.

© All rights reserved.  No part of the Historic Wintersburg blog may be reproduced or duplicated without prior written permission from the author and publisher, M. Adams Urashima.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Day of Remembrance: 76th anniversary

ABOVE: Girl and Boy Scouts with the Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple in Little Tokyo carry in the banners of the major confinement camps into the hall at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. An eleventh banner (not shown) represented the Department of Justice and military detention centers, to which those classified as "enemy alien" were incarcerated. Those in the audience stand as the banner for the camp where they or their family were incarcerated. (Photo, M. Urashima, February 17, 2018) © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

   February 19 marks the annual Day of Remembrance, the anniversary of the authorization of Executive Order 9066, which mandated the forced removal and incarceration of Americans of Japanese descent during World War II.  The majority of the 120,000 Japanese Americans incarcerated were U.S. citizens.

   Everyone associated with the Historic Wintersburg property--farmers, clergy, and congregation of the Wintersburg Japanese Mission--was incarcerated as a result of Executive Order 9066.  The majority of those from the Wintersburg Village and Huntington Beach area were incarcerated at the Colorado River Relocation Center, Poston, Arizona.

   The national listing of Day of Remembrance events is provided by the Japanese American Citizens League, national events directory.

   Historic Wintersburg participated in the Day of Remembrance at the Japanese American National Museum. Photographs of the event are on our Facebook page, Day of Remembrance 2018.

© All rights reserved.  No part of the Historic Wintersburg blog may be reproduced or duplicated without prior written permission from the author and publisher, M. Adams Urashima.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Manzanar Committee issues call to Huntington Beach for preservation of Historic Wintersburg


   LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA (February 15, 2018) — The Manzanar Committee, sponsor of the annual Manzanar Pilgrimage since 1969, along with the Manzanar At Dusk program, for the last 21 years, calls on the City Council of the City of Huntington Beach to act to preserve and protect the site of Historic Wintersburg, which is currently threatened by the proposed sale of the land by Republic Services, Inc. to Public Storage.

   "Our experience with establishing the Manzanar National Historic Site demonstrates the overwhelming positive impact preserving our nations’ history can have,” stated Manzanar Committee Co-Chair Bruce Embrey. “The economic, social, and cultural benefits to the Owens Valley are tremendously positive, bringing economic development and jobs."

   Read the statement from the Manzanar Commitee at https://blog.manzanarcommittee.org/2018/02/15/historic-wintersburg/ 

 © All rights reserved.  No part of the Historic Wintersburg blog may be reproduced or duplicated without prior written permission from the author and publisher, M. Adams Urashima.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Huntington Beach Historic Resources Board votes to support preservation of Historic Wintersburg

ABOVE: Kanji Sahara speaks before the City of Huntington Beach Historic Resources Board and City Council liaisons on February 7 at Huntington Beach city hall.  Sahara is a member of the Nikkei for Civil Rights and Redress, the Japanese American Citizens League, a board member for the Tuna Canyon Coalition, and an advisor for the Historic Wintersburg Preservation Task Force. A California public radio reporter recorded the public comments for an upcoming feature. (Photo, M. Urashima, February 7, 2018) © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

   The City of Huntington Beach Historic Resources Board voted unanimously on February 7 (member Charles Epting absent) to support the preservation of Historic Wintersburg and send a letter to the City Council regarding their recommendation.

RIGHT: Phil Chinn, member of the Orange County Historical Commission, spoke in support of the preservation of Historic Wintersburg to the Historic Resources board. The Orange County Historical Commission was established by the Board of Supervisors in 1973 and is an advisory commission to the Orange County Board of Supervisors. (Photo, M. Urashima, February 7, 2018) © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

      The mission of the Historic Resources Board is "to encourage and promote programs and activities that enhance public awareness of historic resources. The Historic Resources Board acts as an advisory body to City Council as well as a liaison to Council for local, state and federal groups and agencies whose interest involves historic issues."The Board's role is to advise on "issues of preservation of historic, commercial, and residential structures and sites...to insure that historic preservation and services are considered in the planning for future development of the community."

LEFT: One of the letters received by the Historic Resources Board, advocating the preservation of Historic Wintersburg. Preserve Orange County's mission is "to work through education and advocacy to promote conservation of our county’s architectural and cultural heritage. We believe that historic resources are essential to maintaining and improving the livability, diversity, sustainability and economic vitality of our communities." 

   Speaker Steve Nagano, a board member with the Little Tokyo Historical Society in Los Angeles, spoke regarding the loss of Japanese American heritage, "California had more than 40 'Japan towns' at one time but is now down to three."  

    Nancy Oda, president of the Tuna Canyon Detention Station Coalition, advocated for preservation, stating, "I think you want to leave a legacy for your children." (Huntington Beach advisory panel pledges support for preserving Wintersburg, Los Angeles Times, February 8, 2018)

  Other speakers and supporters at the meeting included Huntington Beach residents, and local and regional historical organizations, some driving two hours or more to attend the meeting. 

  The board listened to an overview of the history and communications with Republic Services regarding the purchase of the property, as well as participated in a discussion regarding Republic's communications to City officials that they plan to sell the Historic Wintersburg property to Public Storage for self storage development.  City Council liaisons Lyn Semeta and Erik Peterson also were in attendance.



RIGHT: A letter receive by the City of Huntington Beach from the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, California. Historic Wintersburg screened the national premier of "Our American Family: The Furutas" at the Museum in February 2015, before the PBS program aired nationwide and has been part of presentations at the Museum on the history of Historic Wintersburg, Orange County's Japanese American community, and the history of the Tuna Canyon Detention Station.

   The statement with recommendation to support the preservation of Historic Wintersburg by the Historic Resources Board to the Huntington Beach City Council is forthcoming and will be published here.

© All rights reserved.  No part of the Historic Wintersburg blog may be reproduced or duplicated without prior written permission from the author and publisher, M. Adams Urashima.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

A note from China Alley: Preservation Noodles

ABOVE: An image of  "Preservation Noodles" from The Sentinel's "Hanford Gourmet", Arianne Wing, in Hanford, California.  She sends a message to Historic Wintersburg that, "In Chinese culture the unbroken noodles represent longevity. I also wanted to acknowledge the passion we feel as preservationists and to feed our fire. But I also wanted a cooling note signifying unity and positive engagement." (Photo, The Sentinel, Hanford Gourmet, February 7, 2018) 

   From California's historic China Alley, a message for Historic Wintersburg in Huntington Beach, from the Hanford Gourmet, Arianne WingWing is the co-author of “Noodles Through Escargots,” and co-owner of the L.T. Sue Tea Room and Emporium, benefiting the restoration and preservation of China Alley.  


LEFT: Arianne Wing, owner of the L.T. Sue Tea Room and Emporium in China Alley, in Hanford, California. China Alley was named one of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in 2011. (Photo, The Sentinel, Hanford Gourmet, February 7, 2018)

   "For a few of my family members, and for Steve and me, our labors of love place us in a community, in a village of individuals and groups dedicated to preserving and protecting historical sites of incalculable worth and grave vulnerability. Read the Historic Wintersburg blog (historicwintersburg.blogspot.com) to learn how our voices can save this historic place that tells a story of California Japanese American history. This place matters. Thinking of it turned into rows of storage units brings tears to my eyes again. I’ll do what I can, as will others, many of whom have multiple preservation priorities. The question of whether it will be enough rings in my ears."

Read Arianne Wing's column, Preservation Noodles, at: http://hanfordsentinel.com/features/local/hanford-gourmet-preservation-noodles/article_338c718e-d233-506d-baaa-4ba50556ec50.html#tracking-source=home-latest-1 

Read about China Alley on the National Trust for Historic Preservation website at: https://savingplaces.org/places/china-alley#.Wnudt-dG2M8

 © All rights reserved.  No part of the Historic Wintersburg blog may be reproduced or duplicated without prior written permission from the author and publisher, M. Adams Urashima.