Monday, December 5, 2016

George Takei's Allegiance on film next week!

  UPDATE:  The 7:30 pm screening has SOLD OUT!  Century Huntington Beach has added a second screening at 10:45 pm!!  Get those tickets now at for the 10:45 pm screening at Century Huntington Beach for George Takei's Allegiance!


 For one night only in theaters nationwide, George Takei's critically acclaimed Broadway musical, Allegiance, will be screened.  We are fortunate to have one of the screenings in Huntington Beach, at Century Huntington Beach ( at the Bella Terra mall).  As of today, this screening is reported to be 93-percent full.  

   Allegiance is representative of the history of Historic Wintersburg, an extraordinary American civil liberties story.  Get your tickets today and watch with us!

7:30 pm, Tuesday, December 13
*Second screening added: 10:45 pm*
Century Huntington Beach
Bella Terra mall
Edinger Avenue & Beach Boulevard
Just off the 405 Freeway in Huntington Beach


Thursday, December 1, 2016

This Friday! Holidays in Huntington Beach 1916

   Join Historic Wintersburg and the Huntington Beach Historical Society on Friday, December 2, 6 pm - 9 pm, for the third annual Holidays in Huntington Beach!  Each year, we roll the clock back 100 years and this year it is 1916.

   Nancy Hayata, Classical Japanese Dance, will perform at 7 pm.  We expect Santa to arrive at 7:30 pm.  Inside the Newland House, there will be live piano all evening.

RIGHT: Nancy Hayata, Classical Japanese Dance, performed at the annual Huntington Beach Cherry Blossom Festival and is a favorite performer throughout California and Hawaii.  (Photo by Emil Francisco)  © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

   The Tashima Market will be up on the front lawn of the Newland House, a representation of a thriving business that was in Wintersburg Village in the early 1900s.  

   Photographs of the Tashima Market and the Tashima family will be on the wall of the Market, along with other history from 1916.  Read a little about their history at
LEFT: California women had gained the right to vote in 1911.  In 1916, envoys were sent across the country via train, the "Suffrage Special", to garner support for national suffrage.  The Congressional Union had opened a booth at the Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco in 1915 and organized the first Women Voters Convention. In 1916, the National Women's Party was formed.  Suffrage efforts continued past the presidential election until women gained the vote nationally in 1920. (Photo, M. Urashima, 2016) © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

   What was happening in 1916?

   The Supreme Court upheld the national income taxPancho Villa was bringing the Mexican Revolution across the border into the United States prompting response by the U.S. 13th Cavalry Regiment. The United States occupied the Dominican Republic and continued to occupy Haiti.  There were conflicts around the globe, in Europe, the Middle East and Mexico, leading to the eventual entry into World War I by the United States in 1917.

RIGHT: A page from a 1916 edition of the Santa Ana Register, today's Orange County Register, mentions the celery production in Wintersburg Village, credited to the Japanese Celery Association.  The Wintersburg M.E. Church is mentioned, which is today's Warner Baptist Church at the corner of Warner Avenue and Gothard Street.  The news from Wintersburg also mentions Ocean View grammar school sports and a horseshoe tournament "near the blacksmith shop".  The blacksmith shop was near the Tashima Market on Warner Road, next to the Southern Pacific Railroad tracks, on the site of what is today the tin building for an automotive repair shop. (Santa Ana Register, January 6, 1916)

   President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill incorporating the Boy Scouts of America. Pacific Aero Products is incorporated in Seattle, Washington (later to become the Boeing Company). The National Park Service was created.  The United States passed the Philippine Autonomy Act.  The cost of living was a major topic. Women's suffrage swept the nation as the presidential election campaign led to the re-election of Woodrow Wilson.  

   Residents of Wintersburg Village and the Huntington Beach Township would put aside their cares to gather with friends in the peatlands and celebrate their shared community events and holidays.  Join us this week as we return to the community holiday celebration of 1916.

LEFT:  A few scenes from last year's Holidays in Huntington Beach, with Huntington Beach Historical Society president Darrell Rivers (in top hat) with Historic Wintersburg Preservation Task Force member Dennis Masuda, bottom left.  The Tashima Market will be up again on the front lawn of the Newland House Museum.  There will be a few "modern" concessions, such as our social media holiday frame for your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter photographs!  (Photo collage, M. Urashima, 2015)
   We'll have some news from the Santa Ana Register, historical photographs and advertisements from 1916 up on the wall of the Tashima Market and adjacent tents.  Visit with the pioneers of Wintersburg Village (our wonderful Historic Wintersburg Preservation Task Force members).

   Make sure you walk into the Tashima Market to purchase a raffle ticket for a variety of gift baskets, add to your collection of vintage produce crate labels (a few of what will be in the Market shown below), and bags of pine cones from the century-old Furuta farm at Historic Wintersburg.  All proceeds go to the Historic Wintersburg preservation fund.  See you in 1916!

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, November 20, 2016

Settlement reached in Oak View neigborhood, home to National Treasure Historic Wintersburg

ABOVE: Broadcast media line up to cover the press conference detailing the settlement between Republic Services (parent company of former Rainbow Environmental Serivces) and Ocean View School District. At left is Vice President for Republic Services, Dave Hauser, and at right, Ocean View School District Board of Trustees president, Gina Clayton-Tarvin. (Photo, M. Urashima, November 16, 2016) © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 

   Settlement to multi-year litigation was announced on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016, for the Ocean View School District (OVSD) and Republic Services, the parent company of the former Rainbow Environmental Services (Rainbow).  Republic Services owns the Historic Wintersburg property, as of their purchase of Rainbow Environmental two years ago.  

   OVSD filed a complaint against Rainbow in 2013, after the Huntington Beach City Council approved by split vote a rezoning of the Historic Wintersburg property to commercial-industrial, including an action to demolish all six historic structures.  The OVSD complaint included the re-zoning, along with their air quality concerns.  

RIGHT: Historic Wintersburg Preservation Task Force chair and author, Mary Urashima (right), with Glenn Tanaka, owner of Orange County, California's Tanaka Farms, a supporter of the historic preservation effort. (Photo, October 8, 2015) © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

   The Historic Wintersburg Preservation Task Force was formed in mid 2012 by the Huntington Beach City Council, after the creation of this blog in February 2012.  Task Force chair Mary Urashima has been actively researching and working toward the preservation of the Furuta farm and Wintersburg Japanese Mission for almost nine years.  She worked with a film crew on the PBS program, Our American Family: The Furutas, with a premier screening at the Japanese American National Museum.  The program aired nationally on PBS stations in 2015 and 2016.  Urashima's book Historic Wintersburg in Huntington Beach (History Press) was published in 2014.   

   Historic Wintersburg was named one of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in 2014, and at the end of 2015, designated a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Washington D.C. through the advocacy of the Task Force.  

   It is deemed potentially eligible for the National Register of Historic Places under Criteria A, Japanese American settlement of the American West, by the National Park Service---who inspected the property in mid 2013 at the request of the Task Force and then Huntington Beach mayor, Connie Boardman---and National Trust for Historic Preservation, who first inspected the property in May 2014.  The Historic Wintersburg Task Force has provided workshops and tours for the Consul General of Japan, the California Preservation Foundation, a Sister Cities delegation from Anjo, Japan, and media from around the country.

LEFT: A crowd gathers from around the community to witness the settlement announcement, made in front of the Oak View Elementary School adjacent to Historic Wintersburg. (Photo, M. Urashima, November 16, 2016) © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 

   As outlined at the November 16 press conference, the settlement includes full enclosure of waste transfer operations to improve air quality and odor in the Oak View neighborhood, screening trees in the area between the school property and the waste transfer station, payment of legal fees, and up to $4 million for the construction of a new gymnasium on the Oak View Elementary School property.  OVSD also secured that no waste transfer operations of any kind will expand to the Historic Wintersburg property, notification for any "development, construction, demolition, or renovation activities...or any change or intensification" of the property, and "first right of refusal" should Republic Services decide to sell the Historic Wintersburg property.

RIGHT: Dave Hauser, Vice President of Republic Services, and Gina Clayton-Tarvin, president of the Ocean View School District board of trustees, after the settlement press conference. (Photo, M. Urashima, November 16, 2016) © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 
Gina Clayton-Tarvin, president of the board of trustees for OVSD, clarified in a Facebook past for the Oak View neighborhood on November 17.

   "No inappropriate development at the Historic Wintersburg Site will occur. A recorded Agreement Between Property Owners will prevent the Historic Wintersburg Site from ever being used for an expansion of Rainbow’s solid waste operations, storage of garbage trucks, and various other uses inappropriate for a location adjacent to a preschool," Clayton-Tarvin explained, "The School District will have an option to purchase the Wintersburg Site at fair market value, and a right of first refusal in case Rainbow decides to sell the property to developers. These rights are assignable to other governmental entities or historical societies that may wish to purchase the property to develop a historical park facility on the site."

LEFT: Big smiles after the press conference. (Left to right) Huntington Beach City Council Member and liaison to the Historic Wintersburg Preservation Task Force, Erik Peterson, Republic Services Vice President, Dave Hauser, ComUNIDAD member Victor Valladares, OVSD board of trustees candidate, Patricia Singer, ComUNIDAD member Miguel Zamudio, and ComUNIDAD member Oscar Rodriguez. ComUNIDAD is an Oak View neighborhood organization advocating for community improvement. (Photo, M. Urashima, November 16, 2016) © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 

   There currently are ongoing discussions between the City of Huntington Beach, Republic Services and the Historic Wintersburg Preservation Task Force regarding the next step toward historic preservation, with a heritage park goal. 

RIGHT: The Historic Wintersburg Preservation Task Force worked with Republic Services during recent street work and tree planting at Historic Wintersburg, providing volunteer cultural monitoring. This large enamelware bowl is one of the artifacts found buried in the earth, south of the 1910 Wintersburg Japanese Mission. More site investigation and cultural monitoring will occur on the property, as the preservation effort proceeds. (Photo, M. Urashima, August 24, 2016) © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 

   Clayton-Tarvin also personally assured the Historic Wintersburg Preservation Task Force that OVSD's effort is to support heritage conservation, in keeping with the nine-year effort to save Historic Wintersburg.  Along with Republic Services, the Oak View community, the City of Huntington Beach, and heritage preservation experts, OVSD will be one of the stakeholders to provide input during the visioning and planning for Historic Wintersburg, which will include educational programming

   Congratulations are in order for OVSD and Republic Services in resolving an issue in a manner that also provides additional protection for the National Treasure Historic Wintersburg.  This is Orange County, California's first and only National Treasure historic place and one of two representing the history of Japanese Americans.  We look forward to announcing the path forward in the conservation and restoration of this rare and important American history.  

RIGHT: Historic Wintersburg Preservation Task Force chair, Mary Urashima, provides a tour to a group from the California Preservation Foundation during national Asian American Heritage Month in May 2013. The group pauses in front of the 1912 Furuta bungalow, contemplating the monumental civil liberties history represented. Urashima is now serving on the California Preservation Foundation's statewide historic preservation advocacy commitee. (Photo, Chris Jepsen, May 3, 2013) © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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. 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Cherry blossoms and poppies: A 1935 banquet with the Japanese Consul in Huntington Beach

    The spring of 1935 was a time of slow financial recovery and international unrest.  Adolph Hitler had seized power in Germany in 1933.  Japan and Germany left the League of Nations. Dachau, the first of a thousand concentration camps was established.  What eventually would be 1400 German laws aimed at non-Aryans and Jews were in motion. In April 1934, thousands of Americans attended a pro Nazi rally in Queens, New York.  By July 1934, 30,000 were imprisoned in Germany.

 RIGHT: The daughters of Charles and Yukiko Furuta, Kazuko Furuta (left), then a Huntington Beach High School student, and her sister, Toshiko Furuta, then attending Santa Ana Junior College, in traditional dress for the banquet held in Huntington Beach in 1935. The goldfish farmers of Wintersburg Village---the Furutas were one of three goldfish farming families---were cited in the feature as part of "a new melting pot of the East and the West." ("Racial Amity Welded Across the Banquet Table", Los Angeles Times, April 23, 1935)

     The unease that spreads in times of financial uncertainty (the Great Depression), environmental devastation (the Dust Bowl), and world conflict (departures from the League of Nations) has a way of creeping into local politics and immigration policies.  Sentiment against immigrants from Asia had been in California since the mid 1800s, beginning with the Chinese.  By 1935 in California, there had been two and a half decades of legislation aimed at restricting immigration from Japan, restricting property ownership and restricting citizenship.

   At the time of the banquet in spring 1935, the Wintersburg Mission (founded in 1904) had already opened its second and larger 1934 Church building , funding its construction during the Great Depression.  Huntington Beach was opening a new post office on Main Street, funded by the federal program that became the Works Progress Administration.  New arrivals escaping the mid-western Dust Bowl were showing up in California looking for work.  It was the New Deal era.  People were toughing out hard financial times, but still were hopeful for the future.

   In Wintersburg Village and Huntington Beach, the local farmers and merchants were determined to keep things moving in a positive direction.  On April 22, a banquet was held in the Memorial Hall with community leaders specifically "in honor of the Japanese citizens of this community".

LEFT: Huntington Beach Memorial Hall, as it would have looked circa 1935.  The Memorial Hall and city hall of the Old Civic Center--located near where the Main Street branch library is today, were demolished in 1974. The stone eagles from the Old Civic Center were saved and placed in the City public works yard, see (Photo: City of Huntington Beach archives)

   The Santa Ana Register reported the next day that 200 prominent citizens attended and that "the talks while brief were expressions of the friendly relations that exist between the business men of the community and the Japanese residents, and was planned as a tribute to the Japanese."

   The Los Angeles Times described the dinner's symbolism, "cherry blossoms and California poppies were twined into a banquet of peace and good will here tonight."  Japanese Consul General Tomokazu Hori was the special guest and keynote speaker for a special dinner in Huntington Beach to celebrate and strengthen relationships, assisted by the new generation of Japanese Americans: the Nisei

LEFT: Japan Consul General Tomokazu Hori with the Consulate General of Los Angeles, 1935. He was instrumental in securing Japan's participation in the California Pacific International Exposition. ("Racial Amity Welded Across the Banquet Table", Los Angeles Times, April 23, 1935)

   The dinner's chairman and toastmaster, Ralph C. Turner---owner of M.A. Turner Co., a dry goods and sundries store on Main Street in Huntington Beach---quoted Los Angeles Times journalist and columnist Harry Carr, who had said that a "Golden Age always follows upon the blending of the East and the West."  Consul General Hori agreed and "gently" spoke of the propagandists working to divide the countries.  

   Huntington Beach Mayor Thomas Talbert welcomed everyone, along with members of the Huntington Beach city council, the Huntington Beach Chamber of Commerce, Windsor Club, Rotary Club, the Business Men's Association, the Smeltzer Japanese Association, the Orange County Japanese Association, and the Japanese American Citizens League, among others.  Anyone who was anyone, was there.

RIGHT: Two-time Huntington Beach Mayor Thomas Talbert (second row on step, fourth from left with hat in hand), in a 1912 gathering at the Huntington Inn with Wintersburg Mission clergy, Reverend Barnabus Hisakishi Terasawa (front row, fourth from right), and Charles Mitsuji Furuta (front row below step, second from left).  The purpose of this meeting is believed to be an effort to raise funds to rebuild the Huntington Beach pier. Other prominent leaders at the gather included: Huntington Beach's first mayor, Ed Manning (second row, far right in light-color suit), and at center, two-time Huntington Beach mayor (1914-1916 and 1918-1919) Eugene French. (Photo, Wintersburg Presbyterian Church) © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

   The Japanese American pioneers of Wintersburg Village and Smeltzer had worked for three and a half decades to create a life in America.  The banquet recognized these efforts and brought together farmers and merchants from the surrounding countryside.  They knew each other and wanted to hold back the rumblings of international and domestic conflicts.

LEFT: Taeko (Florence Taye) Hori, the wife of Consul General Tomokazu Hori, was born in California and visited Japan for the first time when she married.  She is described in a 1934 Los Angeles Times article ("What Japan wants from U.S.") as a "highly cultured daughter of a Northern California millionaire", the successful agriculturalist George Shima. ("Racial Amity Welded Across the Banquet Table", Los Angeles Times, April 23, 1935)

   From the beginning, Orange County's Japanese pioneers worked to build community relationships, providing popular "daylight fireworks" and night time fireworks for Huntington Beach's first Independence Day celebrations.  They helped raise funds to rebuild the Huntington Beach pier in time for its re-dedication in 1914, at which the Japanese American community participated in the celebrations.  The Japanese pioneer community in Wintersburg Village had rallied in WWI, raising funds to support the American Red Cross.  The annual celebrations of the Emperor of Japan's birthday also had served as popular cultural events to which the surrounding community was invited for music, food and performances (and local residents came by the hundreds).  Masami Sasaki, the owner of Chili Pepper Dehydrating, Inc. (known as the "Chili Pepper King"), had provided a youth community center where students learned judo.

RIGHT: An excerpt from the 1933 publication, Echo, produced by the Nisei (American-born) generation of Wintersburg Village and Smeltzer.  Along with the farming, beach, sports and school scenes, the 1910 Wintersburg Mission is included with the simple description, "Church".  The Mission is one of six extant pioneer structures remaining at Historic Wintersburg. (Echo, 1933)

   As the American-born Nisei came of age, the Japanese American community had come to the moment faced by every immigrant community when old country traditions meet new country modernity.  The Los Angeles Times mentions more than once that the young Nisei ladies in traditional kimonos of gold, red and purple "were bright spots" at the banquet, while also noting that Leonard Miyawaki "pleaded for an understanding of the problems of the second-generation Japanese and urged defeat of anti-Japanese legislation in the Legislature."  Miyawaki's parents had run the Japanese market known as the "Rock Bottom" on Main Street in Huntington Beach (217 Main Street, today's Longboard Restaurant & Pub). 

LEFT: The bronze plaque on the Longboard Restaurant & Pub notes its history includes a "Japanese grocery". The Miyawaki family ran the grocery, later moving to a location in Talbert (Fountain Valley). According to oral histories, the grocery was known as the "Rock Bottom", a reference to its low prices. (Photo, M. Urashima, 2013) © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  Consul General Hori was probably relieved by the warm welcome in Huntington Beach.  He had been dealing with extreme unrest in Arizona's Salt River Valley. Japanese American and Hindu farmers were being harassed and attacked, sometimes by masked men.  Militant Caucasian farmers formed anti-Japanese groups and were encouraging bombings, shootings, arson.  These groups had begun calling for the removal of all people of Japanese descent from Arizona.  The arrival in March 1935 of the U.S. Department of Justice and a threat from Washington D.C. that Arizona would not get its New Deal funding brought the conflict to a halt.

   The mid-April 1935 banquet in Huntington Beach was held only days after things had begun to settle in Arizona.  A week earlier, the Consul's wife, Taeko Hori, was a guest at the Women's University Club supporting speakers with a message of maintaining friendship between Japan and America.  Speaker Ken Nakazawa, an art professor at the University of Southern California, told the group that "patriots who try to show their devotion to America by manifesting hatred of other nations are a menace to the peace of the world."  He implored American women to join hands with others across the sea in the interest of friendship.  The Consulate staff was at every conceivable community event, working to solidify relationships.

    To further the cultural ambience of the gathering, Mary Chino of Chula Vista---the daughter of Tsuneji Chino, a celery farmer and prominent Southern California community leader who had lived in Wintersburg Village---sang "flute-like" arias from Madame Butterfly and other operas.  Garden Grove's Alice Setsuka Imamoto---a nationally-recognized pianist at age 8---provided more classical music.  Short speeches by prominent citizens and elected officials were welcoming and encouraging for the future.

The Los Angeles Times described the Huntington Beach banquet as "more than an amicable gathering...Japanese have settled here as farmers.  They have raised gold fish. They have cultivated flowers.  They have raised birds."  The sentiment of the media covering the event was flattering and positive.

   On this night in Huntington Beach, in a time of unsettling rhetoric, the leaders of the community made a public statement about keeping friendships intact and they had invited the media to witness it.

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.