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

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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.