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.