Saturday, December 10, 2016

ON THIS DATE: 2012 Rafu Shimpo feature, "Remembering Wintersburg"

   We've come along way since the Historic Wintersburg Preservation Task Force's first fund raiser in December 2012!  On this date, the Rafu Shimpo, Los Angeles Japanese Daily News, published a beautiful feature on our historic preservation effort and the remarkable history represented by Historic Wintersburg.  

   Read the feature by J.K. Yamamoto at

LEFT: Furuta family descendant, Norman Furuta, speaks at the press conference announcing the designation by the National Trust for Historic Preservation to the America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Place list.  The list brings national attention to rare American historic sites, asking for public support. (Photo, M. Urashima, June 24, 2014) © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

   Since that time, we achieved listing on America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places; a History Press book, Historic Wintersburg in Huntington Beach; a PBS program about the Furuta family of Historic Wintersburg, Our American Family: The Furutas; a National Treasure designation, conducted some initial stabilization work, and conducted cultural monitoring relating to street work next to the property.  We'll be posting photographs of the some of the cultural finds on a future blog post.

RIGHT: Kevin Sanada (left) and Christina Morris (right) from the Los Angeles field office for the National Trust for Historic Preservation on one of their first inspections of Historic Wintersburg.  This tour occurred after our second application to be considered for America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.  (Photo, M. Urashima, May 14, 2014) © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

    The National Park Service and National Trust for Historic Preservation have both inspected the property and deemed it of "remarkable integrity", a property that can meet the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion A: Japanese American Settlement in the American West.  Both organizations stated that the six historic structures on the Furuta farm can be restored.  

   At the end of 2015, Historic Wintersburg was designated as Orange County, California's first and only National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation,  There are approximately 60 National Treasures in the United States.

LEFT: Elaine Jackson Retondo and Hank Florence of the U.S. National Park Service during their inspection of Historic Wintersburg on May 24, 2013.  The NPS followed up with a written report that stated: " It is likely that the property is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion A in association with Japanese American Settlement in the American West or other patterns of events that have made important contributions to the history of the United States." (Photo, M. Urashima, May 24, 2013) © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

    We have presented lectures about Historic Wintersburg at the Japanese American National Museum, the National Trust for Historic Preservation conference, Heritage Museum of Orange County, Little Tokyo Historical Society at the Koyasan Buddhist Temple, and California State University Long Beach, to name just a few.  

RIGHT: Inside the Koyasan Buddhist Temple in Little Tokyo, downtown Los Angeles, one of the beautiful settings for a presentation about Historic Wintersburg.  (Photo, M. Urashima, October 4, 2014) © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

   We have been honored to be invited to the Consulate General of Japan residence for the annual reception for the Emperor's birthday, as well as to the U.S.-Japan Council conference this year.  We were honored to take a delegation from our Sister City of Anjo, Japan, on a tour of Historic Wintersburg.  We hope for many more international friendships and cultural exchanges regarding our shared history.

LEFT: A delegation from Huntington Beach Sister City, Anjo, Japan, takes a tour of Historic Wintersburg with members of the Historic Wintersburg Preservation Task Force. (Photo, September 11, 2015) © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

    We have been part of important events and efforts relating to this history: the annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, the Day of Remembrance at the Japanese American National Museum, the Tuna Canyon Detention Station "Only the Oaks Remain" fundraiser for their traveling exhibit, the traveling Smithsonian exhibit, "Journey Stories" at the Heritage Museum of Orange County, assistance for the construction of a historical fire station for Manzanar, and volunteering for public archaeology at Manzanar. 

   Every one of our sister organizations and individual mentors has contributed to our support and understanding of this work. We thank you.

RIGHT: Historic Wintersburg helps out at a public archaeology dig at Manzanar National Historic Site, with the National Park Service.  Listen and read KQED's feature about the archaeological dig at 
(Photo courtesy of National Park Service, July 4 weekend, 2015) © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

    Major community stakeholders now know more about the history and support---indeed, they fight for---the preservation of Historic Wintersburg.  We currently are in productive and positive discussions with the City of Huntington Beach and Republic Services (which bought prior property owner Rainbow Environmental).  We appreciate their efforts to work for a good resolution for the National Treasure Historic Wintersburg.

    We have come a long way these past four years toward saving this history! More good news ahead!

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.