Sunday, November 23, 2014

EVENT: Holidays in Huntington Beach, 1914

The Tashima Market in Wintersburg Village was a feed and seed store, as well as a general market for groceries for the pioneer community.  The Tashima Market and the McIntosh Meat Co. market were the two main food markets for the rural farming community.  (Photograph courtesy of Eugene Tashima) © All rights reserved.

   The Huntington Beach Historical Society is hosting their annual holiday open house with a new partner this year, Historic Wintersburg in Huntington Beach.  The event, Holidays in Huntington Beach, will be held at the Newland House Museum, with historical displays of life a century ago.
   The Newland House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and dates to 1898 when it was built for William and Mary Newland, pioneer settlers of Huntington Beach.  The Newland House was saved and preserved through a community effort.  It is now one of the oldest homes remaining in Huntington Beach, a reminder of Orange County’s pioneer community.  The Newland House and gardens will be open, free to the general public during the event.

   Holidays in Huntington Beach also will feature a glimpse of Historic Wintersburg in Huntington Beach, named in June 2014 one of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  

   Wintersburg Village began forming in the 1880s and was annexed into the City of Huntington Beach in 1957.  Charles Furuta, owner of the Furuta farm at Historic Wintersburg arrived in what would become Huntington Beach approximately five to six years after the Newland House was built.

   Event guests will walk into Wintersburg Village’s Tashima Market on the front lawn of the Newland House and view a display of historical photographs relating to Huntington Beach’s Japanese pioneers.  There will be opportunity to chat with pioneers, as part of the exhibit re-enactment.  Also, guests can try a taste of mochi, a traditional rice flour sweet, courtesy of the century-old Fugetsu-do Sweet Shop, a confectionery in Little Tokyo.

Left: The Fugetsu-do Sweet Shop in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, dates back to 1903.  Wintersburg Village residents traveled to Little Tokyo for shopping via the Pacific Electric Railway, also known as the "Red Car," in the early 1900s. (Photograph, M. Urashima, November 22, 2014)  © All rights reserved.

   Some items will be available at the "Christmas market" as donation opportunities for the preservation work.  Historic Wintersburg in Huntington Beach author, Mary Adams Urashima, will have copies of her books available for sale and signing.  

   The event features live holiday music and refreshments.  As part of the holiday tradition, Santa will make an appearance at the Newland House, making this an event for all ages!

Right: The stately Newland House, circa 1910, with "Bob, the dog" out front. (Photograph courtesy of City of Huntington Beach archives)

   Holidays in Huntington Beach is at the Newland House Museum, Friday, December 5, from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., 19820 Beach Boulevard (in the Newland Shopping Center at Beach Boulevard and Adams Avenue).  

   Admission is free.  Guests are encouraged to arrive in 1914 fashion and be of good cheer!

Left: The traditional holiday and special event sweet, mochiMochi is a rice cake made usually at the New Year holiday in a ceremony called mochitsuki.  Fugetsu-do Sweet Shop is sending its famous "Rainbow Dango" mochi. (Photograph, WikiCommons)

More information about the Newland House Museum and the Huntington Beach Historical Society can be found at

More information about Historic Wintersburg can be found on this blog and on our Facebook page at

© 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, October 27, 2014

Historic Wintersburg at Smithsonian's Journey Stories, Heritage Museum of Orange County

TAIKO! Jodaiko, the taiko drum group from University of California-Irvine, provided an amazing performance at the Smithsonian Institution's traveling exhibit, Journey Stories, at the Heritage Museum of Orange County in Santa Ana, California. (Photo, October 25, 2014) © All rights reserved.

   If you didn't go to Journey Stories, the traveling Smithsonian Institution exhibit, for the "Incoming Cultures" day on October 25, then you missed out on living history!  A big thank you to the Heritage Museum of Orange County for including Historic Wintersburg in this exhibit!  We look forward to future events together, as we tell the story of Orange County.  Here are a few images of our day at the Heritage Museum of Orange County.

TELLING OUR STORY: Under the gazebo in the Rose Garden, part of Historic Wintersburg's traveling display, telling the "journey story" of California's Japanese pioneers.  The display was constructed of vintage windows as part of the preservation message to save, re-purpose and re-use.  It is painted the same colors as the historic 1912 Furuta bungalow at Historic Wintersburg, iron oxide red and sharp white trim. © All rights reserved.

CREATING OUR DISPLAY: We're already working on additions for the next exhibit!  Join us for the holidays in Huntington Beach, 100 years ago in 1914, for some special exhibits and surprises.  Mark your calendar for Friday, December 5, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., the Newland House Museum in Huntington Beach, 19820 Beach Boulevard.  More details coming! (Photo, October 25, 2014) © All rights reserved.

AN ACJACHEMEN BLESSING: A member of California's Acjachemen Nation opened the day with a blessing, sung from the porch of the historic Maag House.  Visitors were welcomed to the Acjachemen homeland with a message of humanity.  The Acjachemen are descendants of native Californians who lived in Orange County 8,000 to 9,000 years ago. (Photo, October 25, 2014) © All rights reserved.

BULLFIGHT: The Yesteryears Dancers perform an historic californio dance from California's Rancho Era, mimicking the bullfight.  The men hold the red cape of the toreador, while the ladies dance as a bull, capturing a cape when they can! (Photo, October 25, 2014) © All rights reserved.

Historic Wintersburg preservation task force member, Dennis Masuda, waves a peaceful hello to all the friends and supporters of Historic Wintersburg.  Dennis reminds everyone to donate today to the Indiegogo campaign and help us save one of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places! You make the difference saving American history for future generations. (Photo, October 25, 2014) © All rights reserved.

   One hundred years from now, what will be remembered of the pioneers of California if no one saves this history?   Who will tell their journey stories if no one steps forward to save history?

   Historic Wintersburg is still in the midst of our crowdfunding campaign with Indiegogo (ends November 30, 2014).   It's easy to donate and every donation---large and small---makes a difference!  

   Go to WATCH the VIDEOS, READ THE GOALS for our campaign, and HELP US with a critical milestone effort to provide a technical plan for PRESERVATION!

Go to

© 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, October 22, 2014

Historic Wintersburg part of Smithsonian traveling exhibit, Journey Stories at Heritage Museum of Orange County, Saturday, Oct. 25

JOURNEY STORIES: The Shinyo Maru at the dock in 1912.  This is a snip of a larger photograph taken by Charles Furuta, documenting his voyage  back to Japan in 1912 to meet his bride, Yukiko Yajima.  Charles Furuta had been in America for twelve years, had acquired the property in Wintersburg Village, and felt he could now support a wife.  Charles and Yukiko returned to America on the same ship line. (Photograph snip, Courtesy of the Furuta family). © All rights reserved.

   Join Historic Wintersburg at the Smithsonian Institution's traveling exhibit, Journey Stories, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., Saturday, October 25, at the Heritage Museum of Orange County.  

Right: Promotional ticket for the Shinyo Maru's Toyo Kisen-Kaisha ship line.  Travelers underwent a vigorous screening in the early 1900s.  When Charles Furuta first traveled to America in 1900, his ship, the SS Glenogle, like other steamships of the time, was disinfected to kill rats, its passengers’ baggage steamed to avoid contagion. Upon arrival in Hawaii--Charles Furuta's original destination--passengers were not allowed to disembark due to the Black Plague.  He continued on to the mainland of America.  There was risk and little luxury in ocean travel for those making their journey across the Pacific Ocean to America. 
   Walk the beautiful 12-acre grounds and explore the historic buildings at the Heritage Museum to see displays from the Smithsonian and local historical groups, representing the stories of Orange County's pre history---the first Californians---and of the diverse pioneer journeys.  The exhibits and discussions on Saturday, October 25, are focused on the unique cultures that created Orange County.

   Look for Historic Wintersburg's display in the Rose Garden Lawn, and for a discussion about Historic Wintersburg and Orange County's Japanese pioneers on the steps of the historic Maag House at 1:30 p.m.  Just prior to this, at 1 p.m., is a performance of taiko drum by the group, Jodaiko, from the University of California - Irvine.

    Historic Wintersburg thanks the Heritage Museum for including the history of Orange County's Japanese pioneers and one of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.  Our display will highlight the Journey Stories of Historic Wintersburg and volunteers will be available to talk about how you can help save this rare, endangered historic place.

  Don't forget!  Historic Wintersburg's Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign continues through November 30.  We need your help to save one of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places!  Go to 

   Our special thanks to all the sponsors who helped bring the Smithsonian Institution's Journey Stories to Orange County!  These wonderful sponsors and organizations are helping keep Orange County heritage alive for future generations.

   The Heritage Museum of Orange County is located at 3101 W Harvard Street in Santa Ana, California.  Go to for more information. 

© 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, October 13, 2014

Historic Wintersburg photography exhibit at Huntington Beach's Main Street Library

SCHOOL PICTURE DAY: Farm children in the Smeltzer and Wintersburg Village areas (now both part of Huntington Beach) attended the Ocean View Grammar School, located at the southwest corner of Beach Boulevard and Warner Avenue. There is the full range of emotions in this photo of the third grade class, taken in 1929---a snip of the full image on display.  Perhaps they are ready for the end of the school day when they can run back through the rural countryside to home. (Photo courtesy of the Furuta family) © All rights reserved.

   The third in a series of exhibits on local history was just installed at the Main Street Library, featuring images from Historic Wintersburg.  The photography exhibit is sponsored by the Huntington Beach Historic Resources Board.

   The Wintersburg Village---which began forming in the late 1800s---was a distinct population center from the Huntington Beach Township on early U.S. Census records.  It was annexed into Huntington Beach in 1957, but was connected with Huntington Beach commerce, civic events and daily life from the beginning. 

READY FOR VIEWING: Jose Hernandez and Jose Aranda with the Huntington Beach Library staff, after installation of the exhibit.  Historic Wintersburg thanks the Huntington Beach Library for hosting the exhibit, organized by the Huntington Beach Historic Resources Board. (Photo, October 3, 2014)

    The photography exhibit images reveal shared history with the pioneer settlement era of Huntington Beach.  Stop by the historic Main Street Library (placed on the National Register of Historic Places in fall 2013), located on Triangle Park at 525 Main Street.

   Photographs include enlargements of a 1913 aviation event, the farming community of Wintersburg Village, a "beet dump" at the Southern Pacific Railroad siding in Wintersburg, and a 1912 community meeting that led to the re-building of the Huntington Beach pier.  

WHARF BONDS: Minutes from the Huntington Beach board of trustees (city council) for May 13, 1912, record the issuing of bonds in the amount of $70,000 to raise funds to rebuild the pier, blown down by a Pacific storm.  Huntington Beach trustees and leaders then made an appeal for help--the 1912 version of "crowdfunding"--to get the community to invest in the bonds.  

   When the pier was rededicated in 1914, the Japanese community was prominently featured in the celebrations right after a surfing demonstration by George Freeth.  Placed high on the agenda (indicating significant support), they performed a sword dance just before the concert band finale and illumination of the pier.  Thousands attended the ceremonies. 

   Glimpses into the shared history of Wintersburg Village and Huntington Beach illustrate how the pioneer community worked together to build Orange County.

CROWDFUNDING, VERSION 1912: This snip of the full image on display at the Main Street Library reveals Huntington Beach's first mayor, Ed Manning (light color suit).  Photographed on the steps of the Huntington Inn in 1912, leaders from Wintersburg Village’s Japanese American community and the Huntington Beach township leadership were meeting about fundraising to rebuild the Huntington Beach pier. In the photograph are four of Huntington Beach's first mayors: Ed Manning, Matthew Helme, Thomas Talbert and Eugene French. Historic Wintersburg's Charles Furuta is standing at the front left row below the first step, and next to Mayor French is one of the Wintersburg Mission founders, Reverend Hisakichi Terasawa.  (Photo courtesy of the Wintersburg Presbyterian Church) © All rights reserved.

Crowdfunding, Version 2014
The community of Huntington Beach once again reaches out in an appeal for support, this time to save the land of those who helped fund raise for the pier a century ago.  The pioneer property of Historic Wintersburg holds six historic structures relating to the Furuta Gold Fish Farm and the Wintersburg Japanese Presbyterian Mission, part of California's Japanese Mission Trail.  It was named one of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in June 2014.  It is threatened with demolition by May 2015.

Help save Historic Wintersburg from demolition, preserving this significant part of American history for future generations!  Go to our Indiegogo page at

© 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, October 2, 2014

This place matters! Join the crowdfunding campaign to Save Historic Wintersburg!

   It began with a little curiosity: what exactly were "those old buildings" at the corner of Warner Avenue and Nichols Lane in Huntington Beach, California?

   What came afterwards prompted local residents to come forward in an effort to save a remarkable historic property that had been hiding in plain sight for decades.

   Now that Historic Wintersburg has been recognized as rare California history and designated as one of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places, we issue this appeal to help with its preservation.

Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign
   Read our story at   Historic Wintersburg's Indiegogo page features two videos: the National Trust for Historic Preservation announcement of the America's 11 Most Endangered designation and the preview of the Our American Family public television series featuring the Furuta family of Historic Wintersburg.

   You'll also find a gallery (link at top of page) with photographs taken at the Historic Wintersburg property.  We'll be adding more to the gallery during the 60-day campaign; you'll want to keep checking back!

   Most importantly, the goals for this 60-day campaign are explained.

Preservation experts Peyton Hall, FAIA, principal, and Laura Janssen, senior architectural historian, both with Historic Resources Group in Pasadena, California, and David Cocke, S.E., with Structural Focus in Gardena, California, conducted a building inspection to assist with clean out and stabilization.  These respected experts donated their time to Historic Wintersburg. However, funding is needed to conduct the actual clean out and stabilization recommendations. (Photo, October 2, 2014)

Critical Path Funding Needed 
   The immediate, critical path need for the preservation of Historic Wintersburg is funding of a $35,000 Urban Land Institute (ULI) technical advisory and professional stabilization of the six buildings at Historic Wintersburg.

   All donors who help us meet the mid-point goal of $35,000 before October 31, 2014, will have their name in the final ULI technical study as an underwriter.  This report will be circulated nationally.

The Furuta family on the porch of their bungalow in Wintersburg Village, circa 1923. This 1912 California bungalow is one of the six National Register-eligible structures still standing at Historic Wintersburg, more than a century later. (Photo courtesy of the Furuta family). © All rights reserved.

Walk inside Wintersburg Village once again 
   If you have been reading the stories of Historic Wintersburg, chances are you'd like to see and touch the history.  The goal of preservation is not only to save this rare place in American history, but also to restore a historic site so it once again is an asset to the community.  How? Take a look at our Indiegogo page to find out how we can arrive at a vision that incorporates preservation with community needs.

   America, this is one of your 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.  Your help is needed.   Go to

© 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 18, 2014

The history of Wintersburg Village, the future of Oak View: Preservation and adaptive reuse

   The inclusion of Historic Wintersburg on the National Trust for Historic Preservation's "11 Most Endangered Historic Places" list is a national call to action.  In one truly remarkable property, the nation has the opportunity to save American history while investing in the rebirth of the Wintersburg Village and Oak View neighborhood.

   Why did it make the list?
  • Historic Wintersburg is a rare Japanese-owned pioneer property, predating California's Alien Land Laws of 1913 and 1920 which prohibited Japanese immigrants from owning property. In contrast with other immigrants, Japanese also were prohibited from becoming citizens.
  • Unlike other Japanese American historical properties which relate to World War II confinement, Historic Wintersburg reveals the daily life of the pioneers who settled Orange County.  The mission property--Orange County's oldest Japanese church of any denomination--was the heart of activity for the Japanese community.
  • Despite exclusion, alien land laws, World War II forced evacuation and confinement, and modern urbanization, Historic Wintersburg's goldfish farm and mission survived.  Intact.  All six structures telling the story of California pioneer history. 
  • Part of the "Japanese Mission Trail," the Wintersburg Japanese Presbyterian Mission is representative  of the migration and settlement pattern of Japanese immigrants in California following increased Pacific Rim interaction.  The Wintersburg Mission was the fifth mission established through the efforts of the national Presbyterian Church, working with a multi-faith group including Buddhists, Episcopalians, and Methodists.
  • Of the handful of noted Japanese properties documented in a 1986 survey of Orange County, the majority have been lost to demolition and development.  The evidence of a significant population of pioneers has almost been erased.

The Furuta bungalow, circa 1914.  The property was lush, planted with gum trees, and fronted the country road of Wintersburg Avenue (now Warner Avenue).  Later, a manicured hedgerow surrounded the front lawn and acres of goldfish ponds filled the farm site. (Photo, Furuta family collection) © All rights reserved.

How does preservation benefit the community?

   Historic Wintersburg is located in a neighborhood of Huntington Beach known as "Oak View," one of the city's lowest economic zones and predominantly Spanish speaking.  Like 100 years ago, the neighborhood has remained diverse.  

   Approximately 10,000 people live in the one-square mile of the former Wintersburg Village and Oak View, with an elementary school immediately adjacent to the Historic Wintersburg property.  As reported in an Orange County Register article in 2013, "the Oak View neighborhood has a higher level of poverty than much of the rest of Huntington Beach, and most residents there are Latinos. Nearly 1,000 children attend the school sites – Oak View Elementary School and Oak View Preschool – and nearly 100 teachers and staff members work at the two schools."

The Oak View Preschool and Elementary School, adjacent to the south end of the Furuta farm at Historic Wintersburg. (Photo, August 2014)

   Some of the issues facing the Oak View neighborhood are diminishing open space, access to fresh foods, access to health care in the neighborhood, job creation and training for advancement, and access to community meeting space for adult and child programs.

   Would demolition of historic features and elimination of open space for commercial / industrial use in Oak View help the neighborhood?  Or, would working with Oak View to on historic preservation combined with adaptive reuse better meet the needs of the neighborhood?

Gunjiro, Hal and Nori Tashima outside the Tashima Market, circa 1920s.  The Tashima Market was located across Wintersburg Avenue from the Wintersburg Mission, in the area of present-day Warner Avenue and Lyndon Lane.  An open field next to the market was home to the first Japanese baseball league in Orange County.  Next to the Southern Pacific Railroad tracks, at a site that now hosts an automobile repair shop, was a blacksmith.  (Photo courtesy of Eugene Tashima) © All rights reserved.

The History of Wintersburg Village, the Future of Oak View

   The modern, outside-the-box preservation approach supported by the National Trust for Historic Preservation considers the history of a property with the present-day community.  Stand alone house museums are not always sustainable and history can coexist with the modern world.  With creative historic preservation, something remarkable can happen.  Neighborhoods can be transformed.

   Imagine entering the property off Warner Avenue, greeted by a scene reminiscent of Wintersburg Village, lush and green, a water feature with goldfish and water lilies, the historic buildings open to the public.  Now add a re-creation of the Tashima Market, providing farm fresh produce and staples at the first floor, with community meeting room space on the second floor (exactly what the Tashima Market provided in the early 1900s).  A walkable market and community center for those living in the neighborhood.

Left: Raymond Furuta on a Caterpillar tractor at the Historic Wintersburg property, circa 1960.  Once highly productive, the property has never been used for anything other than a goldfish and flower farm.  During Rainbow Environmental's ownership, there has been a pumpkin patch and nopale cactus. (Photo, Furuta family collection) © All rights reserved.

   Imagine part of the property returned to farming, providing farm-to-table herbs, specialty vegetables or foods to the chefs of Huntington Beach.  The result: locally produced food, neighborhood jobs of a variety of skill sets, relationships with chefs and restaurants, and a professionally guided path into Huntington Beach's resort and hospitality industry with room to advance.  

   Imagine a neighborhood health clinic, upstairs in the Tashima Market, or as part of the 1947 ranch house (one of the six historic structures on the property).  A walkable place for parents with children and health services for the adjacent preschool and elementary school.

   Jobs, revenue, needed services, beautification, and preservation of community history.  This is just a glimpse of what can be achieved through a modern and creative approach to historic preservation and adaptive reuse.  Preservationists are committed to working with Oak View, the surrounding neighborhood, and the community to achieve a mutually beneficial vision for Historic Wintersburg.

How to help transform a neighborhood

   The Historic Wintersburg Preservation Task Force needs financial support and partnerships to acquire the property.  It's that simple.  This unique and irreplaceable history can be lost to demolition and potentially replaced with a strip mall and additional industrial use in the neighborhood.  Or, with support, we can recognize the history of Wintersburg Village while creating a new future for Oak View.

The wish list:
  • URBAN LAND INSTITUTE: Funding in the amount of $35,000 is needed for the Urban Land Institute (ULI) technical advisory program (TAP), a critical path priority.  The TAP is a two-day intensive evaluation by a team of land use, preservation, financial and development experts incorporating the input of community stakeholders---those living and working in the neighborhood, the current property owner, the adjacent school and preservationists.  The final report is a nuts-and-bolts tool with practical visions for the ultimate preservation and development of the property. 
  • OUTREACH: Funds for outreach materials and exhibits.  Historic Wintersburg has been offered many opportunities to share the history with educational materials and photography exhibits, including an upcoming exhibit at an Orange County museum.  Donations can help support this important outreach effort which can bring more support for Historic Wintersburg's preservation.
  • STABILIZATION: Funding or pro bono professional services are needed for the stabilization of historic structures.  Some immediate actions can be taken to prevent degradation of the historic structures until their ultimate restoration.  This includes removal of tree branches or other items that can place stress on the buildings.
  • PROPERTY PURCHASE: Donations of all amounts are needed to support the ultimate property purchase and restoration.  The property's current value will be part of the ULI process, however, it is known the approximately 4 1/2 acre parcel was purchased for over $4 million.  There are creative partnerships and development incentives, with the assistance and guidance of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
WINTERSBURG VILLAGE: A glimpse of the diverse community that founded the Wintersburg Mission in 1904 and, in this photo, the Wintersburg Church in 1934.  Congregants and founders stood in front of the Church building along Wintersburg Avenue, then a dusty country road.  The roof line of the Furuta bungalow can be seen in the background.  At that time, there was room to breath in Wintersburg and Oak View. (Photo courtesy of Wintersburg Presbyterian Church) © All rights reserved.

   Help support the preservation of Historic Wintersburg, before pioneer history is lost, and, be part of the future of Oak View.

DONATION INFORMATION: Donations may be as a charitable donation per IRS code 26 U.S.C. 170(c)(1) and are used solely for the Historic Wintersburg project.  Online and mail donation information at 

Donations to the Historic Wintersburg Preservation Fund are solely for the purpose of historic preservation for the Wintersburg project. Donations may be deductible as a charitable donation, per IRS Code, 26 U.S.C.170(c)(1). - See more at:
FACEBOOK: Join supporters on the Historic Wintersburg Facebook page for more frequent news and updates at

© 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.