*UPDATED April 12 2014*
More letters of support are coming from organizations and individuals, asking the National Trust for Historic Preservation to include Historic Wintersburg on America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in 2014.
Left: An image of the Rancho La Bolsa Chica, circa 1850s. A portion of this was later sold and became part of the Stearns Ranchos. By 1908 a five-acre parcel in Wintersburg Village was purchased by Reverend Hisakichi Terasawa and Charles Mitsuji Furuta. This intact 1908 parcel is Historic Wintersburg. (Image, Library of Congress)
Thank you to all who recognize this unique history as being part of the story of America and part of the story of Japanese American settlement of the American West. Add your voice to those who want to save and preserve Historic Wintersburg!
Examples of other support letters and key points about the historic significance of Historic Wintersburg can be found in our March 30 post at http://historicwintersburg.blogspot.com/2014/03/historic-wintersburg-nominated-for.html
Letter from Mayor Pro Tem Joe Shaw
Letter from Huntington Beach Downtown Residents Association
Dear National Trust for Historic Places,
Please accept this letter on behalf of the Huntington Beach Downtown Residents Association (HBDRA) in support of Historic Wintersburg’s nomination to your list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.
The HBDRA believes in the creation and preservation of a sustainable downtown that reflects both the history and future of Huntington Beach. The HBDRA is operated solely by volunteers and is supported financially by HBDRA volunteers and other Huntington Beach residents.
While we are a grassroots, community-based group of residents working on issues that primarily affect Historic Downtown Huntington Beach, we also support historic preservation throughout our entire City.
Originally founded in 1994, the HBDRA was re-activated in 2009 in response to a potential redevelopment plan. We were able to successfully rally our residents over the course of two long years to support the preservation of the Main Street Library and Triangle Park. Today, five years later, both the Library and Triangle Park are recognized on the National Register of Historic Places.
Therefore, as a collective association of concerned residents, we thank you for your consideration to include Historic Wintersburg on your list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.
Sincerely, Kim Kramer
President, Huntington Beach Downtown Residents Association
On behalf of the HBDRA Board of Directors
Right: Japanese parasols for sale at the July 4th celebration next to the Huntington Beach pier at the foot of Main Street in 1904, the year the Pacific Electric Railway was brought to town by Henry Huntington. That same year, the Wintersburg Mission was founded with the support of Wintersburg Village, Smeltzer and Huntington Beach residents. (Photo, City of Huntington Beach archives)
Letter from Huntington Beach Neighbors
Dear National Trust for Historic Places,
On behalf of Huntington Beach Neighbors, as unanimously approved by our organization's officers, we are writing you to support the nomination of Huntington Beach, California's Historic Wintersburg for your list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.
Huntington Beach Neighbors has over 2,200 local residents as our members. Our mission is to improve the quality of life in our City.
As one of Huntington Beach Neighbors' most important projects in recent years, our group was the sole sponsor of the nomination to, and the 2013 listing on, the National Register of Historic Places, of the Huntington Beach Public Library on Triangle Park. Our listing is one of only four National Register properties in all of Huntington Beach, and the first property listed on the National Register in our City in nearly twenty years.
As with Historic Wintersburg, which was approved (4-3) in November 2013 by the Huntington Beach City Council for a 2015 demolition, the Huntington Beach Public Library on Triangle Park had been the subject of a years-long campaign by our City government leaders for demolition and redevelopment.
Now it is likely that this 1912 park, which dates back to the earliest period after our City's 1909 founding, and its architecturally significant, 1950-1951 extant library building, the oldest one in our City, have been saved.
Right: Loading carloads of sugar beets at the Southern Pacific Railroad siding for Smeltzer and Wintersburg Village, circa 1908. This same year, Charles Mitsuji Furuta helped Reverend Hisakichi Terasawa purchase five acres in Wintersburg Village. (Photo, City of Huntington Beach archives)
These two examples are not unusual for Huntington Beach. Since the completion of our City's last historic inventory in 1986, which is in the process of an update now, forty percent of the City's 1986 historic properties have been demolished, at least 134 properties lost forever from a group of 341 historic properties in 1986. As we understand it, from 2002 through today, the City has only denied one demolition permit in that entire, most recent twelve-year history, virtually always ignoring our local historic preservation efforts.
With this background, we trust that you can see the crucial importance of your including Historic Wintersburg on your list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. Without your help, Historic Wintersburg, so much emblematic of our Southern California and National histories, may well be lost for all time. Thank you for your support.
Board of Directors
Huntington Beach Neighbors
Letter from Gloria Alvarez
Dear National Trust for Historic Places,
Please accept my letter of support for Historic Wintersburg’s nomination to your list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.
My support is being presented to you as an individual and not as a representative of any of the professional boards I serve on. While others have submitted their letters of support for Historic Wintersburg primarily from a professional perspective based on research, my support to save and preserve Historic Wintersburg is reflective of my personal experience with this site dating back to mid-Century 1950’s.
As a grandchild of Mexican immigrants, I grew up in the 1950’s just a few blocks from the community of Wintersburg.
- As a small child I saw it as a wonderful place, a beautifully manicured property that represented home, church and farming along with recreational amenities to be enjoyed on Sundays.
- Growing up I was fortunate enough to attend school with the Furuta family sons and benefit from their leadership in both grade school and through high school. Therefore, as a young teenager, I admired and looked upon this compound surrounded by the most beautifully trimmed hedges as an exemplary example of immigrants who not only embraced the opportunities of America but gave back so much to help our City grow and prosper.
- What it has meant to me personally represents all that is honorable, what our nation represents . . . to overcome, to achieve and to contribute.
- Historic Wintersburg represents the best of the American dream!!!
To be considered for America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places is an opportunity for us to restore these buildings and bring back to life what they represent for not only our immigrant children to be inspired by the American dream but for all future generations to enjoy!
Thank you for your consideration to include Historic Wintersburg on your list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.
A gathering at the Grand Army of the Republic (civil war veterans) annual tent camp at Huntington Beach, circa 1910. This same year, the Wintersburg Japanese Presbyterian Mission opened its doors. The Wintersburg Mission is the fifth on the Japanese Mission Trail, the first established in San Francisco in the late 1800s, only 50 years after the last Spanish Mission was constructed. (Photo, City of Huntington Beach archives)
Letter from Richardson Gray
Dear Council Members,
I have owned my home in Downtown Huntington Beach for almost eight years, after retiring here in 2006. I am writing you to urge the Council to write a letter of support for the nomination of Historic Wintersburg for the National Trust for Historic Places' list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. I spent most of my twenty-five year career in commercial real estate working on the renovation and adaptive reuse of historic properties, first in North Carolina and later in Massachusetts.
Since the completion of our City's last historic inventory in 1986, which is in the process of an update now, forty percent of the City's 1986 historic properties have been demolished, at least 134 properties lost forever, from a group of 341 historic properties in 1986. As I understand it, from 2002 through today, the City has only vetoed one demolition permit in that entire, most recent, twelve-year period.
With this background, I trust that you will be able to see the crucial importance of the Council's support for including Historic Wintersburg on the National Trust for Historic Places' list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. Without your support, Historic Wintersburg, so much emblematic of our Huntington Beach, Orange County, Southern California, and National histories, may well be lost for all time. Thank you for your support.
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