Monday, March 3, 2014

Historic Wintersburg: In the News!

An introduction to the history of Wintersburg Village, now part of Huntington Beach, Orange County, California.  The 1934 Wintersburg Japanese Presbyterian Church in the background, built during the Great Depression.  Hiding behind it, the 1910 wooden Mission and manse (parsonage), and behind the book, the Furuta bungalow and barn. (Photo, February 28, 2014)

   The effort to save Historic Wintersburg is making national news.  And, with a new book that introduces the history of the Wintersburg Village, the continuing work to restore a long-neglected chapter in the pioneer settlement of Huntington Beach and Orange County.

Preservation Magazine
   A publication of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Preservation Magazine featured Historic Wintersburg in late February and reported on the mobilization to preserve the pre California Alien Land Law of 1913 property.

   Lauren Walser writes in, Racing to Save Japanese-American History at Historic Wintersburg Village, that the Furuta farm and Wintersburg Mission complex "stands as monument to the early immigrant community’s spiritual and social center."  Read more at

Huffington Post
   The Huffington Post picked up the Preservation Magazine feature and published it in their blog, The Race to Save a Rare Slice of Japanese-American History, at

Rafu Shimpo
   The Rafu Shimpo - Los Angeles Japanese Daily News--Southern California's century-old Japanese and English language daily newspaper--reported on the release of the new book on Orange County's Japanese American history.

   Historic Wintersburg Chronicled in New Book can be read at

A CENTURY AGO: Charles Furuta drives a sugar beet wagon up the steep railroad siding of the Southern Pacific Railroad, circa 1914.  Hidden in plain site, this historical railroad line runs through the former Smeltzer and Wintersburg Village, now north Huntington Beach. (Photo courtesy of the Furuta family) © All rights reserved.

Huntington Beach Independent
   Author Chris Epting introduced the book, Historic Wintersburg in Huntington Beach, through his weekly Huntington Beach Independent column, In the PipelineEpting's own books are tributes to American history, including Huntington Beach history and Orange County baseball.

   Epting quotes from the interview, "There are places in this country known as sites of conscience, and this spot in Huntington Beach is one of has been right in front of all of us all of this time.  Historic Wintersburg is iconic in American history, Japanese history and civil liberties history."

Read Chris Epting's column, Saving Wintersburg, A page at a time, at,0,1826867.story

O.C. History Roundup
   Local historian and archivist with the Orange County Archives, Chris Jepsen, added information about the recent news coverage and book release on his history blog, O.C. History Roundup.   

   Jepsen covers Southern California history--particularly Orange County--like no one else, and was one of the first to raise the alarm about potential loss of the Furuta farm and Wintersburg Mission after 2004.  The Historic Wintersburg effort owes a debt to Jepsen for keeping a watchful eye on the County's precious heritage.  Read his blog post at

KCET, LA Letters
   Writer Mike Sonksen wrote about Historic Wintersburg in his column, Politics of Preservation: Olvera Street to Huntington Beach, for KCET, the nation's largest independent public television station in November.

   Sonksen draws a correlation to historic Olvera Street in Los Angeles and remembers the places lost, "Angelenos can think of hundreds of demolished lost landmarks and neighborhoods, like Bunker Hill, Chavez Ravine, Sugar Hill, the Brown Derby, the Ambassador, Atlantic Richfield Building, the Pike in Long Beach, Pacific Ocean Park; countless other sites and structures now only remembered in photos and memories."

   Explaining the history of Japanese immigrant exclusion and Alien Land Laws, Sonksen notes, "The Wintersburg site is a whole other side of Orange County history."  Read Mike Sonksen's feature at

Historic Wintersburg in Huntington Beach, the book, is officially released on March 4, 2014. More information at

   The first book signing is only a short distance from Historic Wintersburg, in a part of north Huntington Beach once known as Smeltzer, at the Barnes & Noble Booksellers at the Bella Terra, 7881 Edinger Avenue.  

   A book discussion and signing will be held 2 p.m., Sunday, March 9.  Details at

   What was once fields of celery, chili peppers and sugar beets, is now where we remember the remarkable history of the Japanese American pioneers who helped build Orange County.

GHOST TRAIN: A remaining stretch of track for the Southern Pacific Railroad and Pacific Electric Railway line--the celery train that stopped in Smeltzer and Wintersburg Village--disappears into the earth, a short distance from Historic Wintersburg.  Read "Celery train: We walk the Southern Pacific Line" at  (Photo, June 2013) © All rights reserved.

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© 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.   

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The Historic Wintersburg blog focuses on an overlooked history in Huntington Beach, Orange County, California, in the interest of saving a historic property from demolition. The author and publisher reserves the right not to publish comments. Please no promotional or political commentary. Zero tolerance for hate rhetoric. Comments with embedded commercial / advertising links or promoting other projects, books, or publications may not be published. If you have an interesting anecdote, question or comment about one of our features, it will be published.