Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Giving Thanks: Opening doors during hard times


ABOVE: The Wintersburg Japanese Church building is the third of the Wintersburg Japanese Mission buildings, following construction of the 1910 Mission building and 1910 manse (parsonage). It was constructed during the Great Depression, funded by small donations from around Orange County. This photograph was taken for the official dedication in December 1934. At this time, the mission effort had been official recognized as a church by the Presbyterian USA. (Photo: Wintersburg Japanese Presbyterian Church, December 10, 1934. Courtesy Wintersburg Church.)

   Thirty years after the founding of the Wintersburg Mission in 1904, the third of the Mission buildings was planned for completion by Thanksgiving 1934. It had not been easy. Fundraising for the new mission building had begun before "Black Friday" shocked the nation in October 1930, shutting down banks and freezing funds. The Church fund lost over $500, its initial seed money for the project.

   "We collected donations little by little. First, we deposited the money in the Huntington Beach Bank, a state bank. But in the prime of the Depression, the deposits were frozen," remembers Rev. Kikuchi.  "Charlie's (Ishii) father and I ran to the Huntington Beach Bank but the bank was closed. We almost felt like crying. But, later, when we fixed pews in the church, we could draw our deposit from the bank after the arrangement by the government. In this way, we collected small amounts of money little by little."

RIGHT: The Huntington Beach Bank at Main and Walnut streets in Huntington Beach, circa 1910. The bank was established in 1904, the same year the Wintersburg Mission effort was founded. It eventually became the First National Bank of Huntington Beach and the Savings Bank of Huntington Beach. (Photo courtesy of City of Huntington Beach archives)

   As construction neared completion in 1934, the Santa Ana Register noted, "the building plans of the congregation were set back several years ago when the closing of a bank wiped out more than $500. Through contributions from Japanese of Orange county and members of other county Presbyterian churches, the fund has been replenished". The Santa Ana Register also noted the building would open on the 30th anniversary of "one of the oldest Japanese missions in California".

   The cost of the 1934 Church building was $5,500. The main sanctuary space was set to seat 300 people, initially divided by a folding partition to provide quarters for the Christian Endeavor and Sunday school groups. The Santa Ana Register reported the Church also was "fitted up" with a kitchen, a pastor's study, restrooms and a cloak room, and would be finished with a white stucco exterior. 

RIGHT: A sugar beet wagon races down an unpaved and dusty Wintersburg Road in front of the Furuta farm, circa 1914. The road was still unpaved when the Church building opened in 1934 and wooden planks were placed on the ground as walkways. (Photograph courtesy of the Furuta family)

   In order to construct the 1934 Church building in a prominent location in Wintersburg Village fronting Wintersburg Road (Warner Avenue) and Southern Street (Nichols Lane), the 1910 wooden Mission building was moved back from the main road. The three mission buildings were constructed on a parcel of land donated to the mission by Charles Mitsuji Furuta, who owned the entire five-acre goldfish farm now known as Historic Wintersburg. The 1910 Mission building would be used as a social hall, for Sunday school, and as a boys club, once the new, larger Church building opened.

   Orange County architect Everett E. Parks designed the 1934 Wintersburg Japanese Church. Parks architecture office was in Santa Ana, which he shared with his partner, Irene McFaul, one of the few women licensed to practice architecture in the state of California at the time. 

LEFT: An advertisement placed by architect Everett E. Parks is on the upper right of a full-page feature with congratulatory messages in the Santa Ana Register for the opening of a new, larger venue for Tony's Cafe in Santa Ana. Parks designed the new cafe in the Spanish Revival style popular during the 1930s in southern California. (Santa Ana Register, August 6, 1937)

   Parks is noted as the architect for the Automobile Club of Southern California office in Anaheim and the second building for the First Baptist Church of Santa Ana in 1953.  He also designed Tony's Cafe on Bush Street in Santa Ana for longtime, popular Orange County restaurateur Tony Barrio in 1937. Parks was president of the American Institute of Architects Orange County chapter in 1952, bringing national affiliation for the former Orange County Architects organization. 

   Designed in the Spanish Revival style, the Wintersburg Japanese Church kept with a simple aesthetic. The interior structure is comprised of old growth redwood, which has retained an almost new appearance today when viewed through the open ceiling. Additional investment was made for two features of the Church building: the front entrance door and the tall windows running down each side of the rectangular shaped sanctuary space. The front door, when viewed from the interior is carved walnut. 

RIGHT: Fragments of the original amber-color glass from the 1934 Wintersburg Japanese Church building. It was intended to fill the sanctuary space with light and energy. (Photo, M. Urashima, 2016)

   The windows were amber-colored glass. The ancient Greek word for amber is "elektron" meaning sun. Ancient Greeks knew that amber, when rubbed, produces an electric charge. The use of the color amber in ancient religious settings is a reference to spiritual energy and light, the sun or fire, including its use in Zoroastrian temples. The symbolism of the color amber as relates to a Christian house of worship is referenced in the Bible (Ezekial 1:27) as representing a bright and overwhelming presence. When it came time to choose the glass for the windows of the 1934 Church building---which was washed with white paint on the interior and exterior---the color amber was chosen to fill the space with light and energy.

   The goal of completing construction by Thanksgiving was accomplished, with the official dedication of the Church building on December 10, 1934. Over 700 people attended the dedication event in Wintersburg Village, contributing that day an additional reported $667.29 toward the $5,500 budget to help with interior furnishings. 

LEFT: The program for the dedication ceremony of the Wintersburg Japanese Church on December 10, 1934. Charles Mitsuji Furuta, an elder with the mission and the first Japanese to be baptized as Christian in Orange County, spoke at the dedication which featured a violin solo, "Romance" by composer Johan Svendsen, by Furuta's niece, Sumi Akiyama. Sumi would marry Judge John Aiso, who directed the Military Intelligence Language School and was the highest ranking Japanese American in the U.S. Army during WWII. Listen to a version of "Romance." (Image courtesy of the Furuta family)

Reverend Kenji Kikuchi, who had been with the mission throughout the planning and building process said during his address that "Go Forward" had been the congregation's slogan as they continued fundraising and building through the Great Depression. Earlier clergy for the mission were at the dedication, including founder Reverend Barnabus H. Terasawa of San Francisco, Reverend Paul Nakamura of Los Angeles, and Reverend Watanabe of San Diego. 

   Another featured speaker was Hisamatsu Tamura on behalf of the Smeltzer Japanese Association in Wintersburg Village. Hisamatsu Tamura is the father of Stephen Kosaku Tamura for whom the West Justice Center in Westminster, California, was renamed on November 6, 2020. Historical background on Stephen Tamura provided by Historic Wintersburg was used in the renaming application that went before the California Judicial Council.

  The Santa Ana Register reported on December 10, 1934, that congratulatory telegrams were received from around California and that there were speakers and well-wishers from other Orange County and Los Angeles churches. The dedication program included official photographs and "motion pictures" were planned to have been filmed*, after which there was a reception serving "Japanese dainties and tea." 

     In its life, the 1934 Church would be witness to the upbringing of Fountain Valley's first mayor James Kanno, Orange County's first Japanese American attorney Stephen Tamura, community carnivals, marriages, funerals, and the interrogation of clergy and congregation by the FBI in 1942. The Church would be shuttered during the forced removal and incarceration of Orange County's Japanese American community during WWII, reopening in 1945. In 1948, the memorial services for SSgt. Kazuo Masuda, a hero of the "Go For Broke" 442nd Regimental Combat Team recognized in 1945 and again in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan, were held inside the Church with military honor guard. There are multiple Congressional Medal of Honor recipients among the congregants.

   Conceived prior to the Great Depression, the 1934 Wintersburg Japanese Church building--one of six historic structures on the endangered National Treasure Historic Wintersburg property--was born during hard times, and achieved through the perseverance and "go forward" mindset that would see the community through the years ahead.

ABOVE: An image from the Santa Ana Register, reporting on the dedication of the 1934 Church building of the Wintersburg Japanese Mission. (Santa Ana Register, December 10, 1934)

*Motion pictures referred to in the program for the December 10, 1934, dedication have to-date not been found. Please contact Historic Wintersburg if you have 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, Mary Adams Urashima.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Tadaima! A Community Virtual Pilgrimage: Join Historic Wintersburg on Week 2

   Join the Tadaima! A Community Virtual Pilgrimage this weekend for the opening ceremony, 2 pm Pacific Time, Saturday, June 13. The opening program is hosted by KABC news anchor David Ono and actress Tamlyn Tomita (Karate Kid II, Come See the Paradise, The Joy Luck Club).
   In the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, each of the annual pilgrimages to sites of wartime Japanese American incarceration have been canceled. These pilgrimages provide important educational and community-building opportunities for both descendants of the camps and the wider public. Recognizing the ongoing and multi-generational significance of these pilgrimages, Tadaima! A Community Virtual Pilgrimage, is hosted by Japanese American Memorial Pilgrimages (JAMP) over the course of nine themed weeks, bringing the pilgrimage experience online.

   JAMP explains, "Tadaima! A Community Virtual Pilgrimage is a collaborative undertaking, involving representatives from many different contingents of the Nikkei community, as well as scholars, artists, and educators committed to actively memorializing the history of Japanese American incarceration during World War II. Tadaima! means “I’m home!” in Japanese - it is our way of acknowledging that we are all home and the important reasons for why that is, while also celebrating the history, diversity, strength, and vibrancy of the Nikkei community."

    Historic Wintersburg is among the many partner organizations included in the 2020 virtual pilgrimages, which include the National Park Service, Japanese American National Museum, Densho, the Manzanar Committee, Tuna Canyon Detention Station, Friends of Minidoka, Heart Mountain, Angel Island, Go For Broke National Education Center, the University of Queensland Australia, and the Smithsonian Center for Folklife & Cultural Heritage, among many more historical institutions and organizations.

The pilgrimage with Historic Wintersburg is scheduled for June 21, which will be archived on the JAMP YouTube channel.   We invite you to join us as we journey in virtual pilgrimage. Register for free to receive updates and the nine-week pilgrimage schedule on the Japanese American Memorial Pilgrimages website.

© All rights reserved. No part of the Historic Wintersburg blog may be reproduced or duplicated without prior written permission from the author and publisher, Mary Adams Urashima. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Orange County West Justice Center to be renamed after Justice Stephen K. Tamura

ABOVE: Stephen Kosaku Tamura grew up attending the Wintersburg Japanese Mission and was involved when it was officially recognized as a church in 1930, twenty-six years after its founding as a mission. Tamura was Orange County's first Japanese American attorney. He was the first Japanese American and first Asian American to sit on the Orange County Superior Court in 1961, the California Court of Appeal in 1966, and also served as Justice Pro Tem on the California Supreme Court until his retirement. (Image, Santa Ana Register, May 19, 1930)

   On April 16, 2020, in the middle of statewide stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19, the California Judicial Council approved the re-naming of the West Justice Center of the Orange County Superior Court in Westminster, California, for Stephen K. Tamura. An effort led by Presiding Judge Kirk H. Nakamura, Central Justice Center, County of Orange, Superior Court of California, a supporting document in the package requesting the name change is a 2012 feature about Stephen K. Tamura from the Historic Wintersburg blog, The Honorable Stephen K. Tamura: Lawyer, Judge, Wintersburg Mission congregant

   Tamura is an alumnus of Huntington Beach High School class of 1928 and served with the “Go For Broke” 442nd Regimental Combat Team. He was posthumously was awarded in 2011 the Congressional Gold Medal along with the 100th Infantry Battalion and Military Intelligence Service.

   "It was a real privilege to submit the application to name West Justice Center in honor of the late judge,” said Superior Court Presiding Judge Kirk Nakamura, about the application submitted by Orange County community members to the Judicial Council of California, which owns and oversees all Court facilities throughout the state. He was a man of many ‘firsts’ and I am very proud to have followed his footsteps to the Bench".

ABOVE: An excerpt from a letter included in the re-naming application from Stephen Tamura's daughter, Susan Tamura Kawaichi, referencing the support her father had to pursue law from Reverend Kenji Kikuchi, M.Th. of the Wintersburg Japanese Church. In his 1981 oral history, Reverend Kikuchi referred to Stephen Tamura as one of "my Sunday school boys." 

   Pastor for the Wintersburg Japanese Mission from 1926 to 1936, Rev. Kikuchi had witnessed Tamura's path from youth to young adult. In 1930, Rev. Kikuchi penned a brief history of the Wintersburg Japanese Mission at a time when there were about 150 Japanese American families in the immediate vicinity of Wintersburg Village.

LEFT: From a 1982 tribute for Justice Tamura in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles. The signatures include his brother, Noburu, and fellow justice, John Aiso, who married, Sumi, the daughter of goldfish farmers Henry and Masako Akiyama, who were related to Charles and Yukiko Furuta of the Furuta farm at Historic Wintersburg. (Photo, M. Urashima) © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

   "... Most of them are dry chili pepper farmers-they raise half million dollars a year production from peppers," wrote Rev. Kikuchi, " Also there are fish farms owned by our church members."  These would have been the gold fish farms of C.M. Furuta--who donated the land for the Mission--and the Asari and Akiyama families

   Tamura's father, Hisamatsu Tamura, arrived in California in 1901 and was a prominent farmer in Smeltzer, north of Wintersburg Village. He was president of the school board in Smeltzer, a member of the board of directors of the vegetable marketing division of the Orange County Farm Bureau, and a director of the Japanese Farming and Growers' AssociationHisamatsu Tamura was remembered by another Wintersburg Japanese Mission congregant, Clarence Nishizu, in his 1982 oral history interview* as one of "the original Talbert (Fountain Valley) pioneer Issei who first moved into this area to farm various vegetable crops and they were the ones who, with the future in mind, purchased the land in Talbert to build the Japanese language school."   

RIGHT: The building that was home to the original law office of Stephen Tamura still stands on East 4th Street, Calle Cuatro, in Santa Ana, California. (Image, Google Earth)

   Hisamatsu Tamura--along with fellow farmer Isojiro Oka and others--purchased "an old Standard Oil Company wooden building" to serve as the school and an old house to serve as the teacher's residence, moving both buildings to the school site in Talbert (off Bushard Avenue).  By 1935, they had 100 students. These pioneers are honored for their many efforts supporting education in Orange County with the Isojiro Oka Elementary School in Huntington Beach and the Hisamatsu Tamura Elementary School in Fountain Valley. Hisamatsu Tamura passed in 1936, not knowing his son, Stephen, would become one of California's legal icons.

   In 1949, Tamura became Deputy Counsel for the Orange County Counsel’s Office, before elevated to County Counsel in 1960. He served the County of Orange for 12 years before his appointment to the Superior Court in 1961 by Governor Pat Brown. He was the first Japanese American and first Asian American to sit on the California Court of Appeal in 1965. After his appointment as a Superior Court judge, he was elected presiding judge of the Orange County Superior Court.  In 1966, Governor Brown elevated him to the Fourth District, Division Two, and in 1979, Tamura was appointed to the State Judicial Council.

LEFT: Tamura was a founding board member of the Orange County Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) in 1935, which held its first meeting in the Wintersburg Japanese Church. In December 1941, the Orange County JACL chapter denounced the attack by Japan. As an attorney, Tamura was assisting those documenting U.S. birth up until days before the forced removal of Japanese Americans from Orange County in May 1942. Incarcerated at Poston, the Colorado River Relocation Center near Parker, Arizona, Tamura was permitted to leave to attend Harvard Law School in 1943. He enlisted in the Army in 1945, serving with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, for which he was awarded posthumously a Congressional Gold Medal in 2011. (Image, Santa Ana Register, December 11, 1941)

   In addition to his 43 years in law, Tamura was a founding board member in 1935 of the Orange County Japanese American Citizens League and the Japanese American Cultural and CommunityCenter in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles. He was serving as a justice with the Court of Appeals when asked to serve as chairman for Disneyland's Community Service Awards in 1966.

Among his recognition and awards:
Orange County Press Club, 1965
Disneyland Community Service Awards, 1966
Orange County Bar Association Franklin G. West Award, 1972
Pomona College Honorary Doctor of Civil Laws, 1976 
California Trial Lawyers Association Appellate Justice of the Year, 1977
Japanese American Citizens League, 1981
Orange County Board of Supervisors, 1981
California State Assembly Resolution, 1982
California State Senate Resolution, 1982
Congressional Gold Medal, 2011

LEFT: Recognition as Appellate Justice of the Year for 1977 presented to Justice Stephen K. Tamura by the California Trial Lawyers Association. One of the cases that attracted media interest when he was the presiding Superior Court judge was a complaint in February 1962 filed by NASA astronaut John Glenn regarding a San Clemente apartment development investment. This was at the same time Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth. (Photo, M. Urashima) © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

   We're grateful to Superior Court Presiding Judge Kirk Nakamura leading this effort and for the opportunity to support the re-naming of the West Justice Center for Stephen K. Tamura with historical research.

* The California State University Fullerton Center for Oral History collection of oral histories with Orange County's Japanese American community is named after Stephen Tamura, the "Honorable Stephen K. Tamura Orange County Japanese American Oral History Project".

BELOW: Office nameplates and a law book belonging to Stephen K. Tamura are among the artifacts collected in 2018 by historian and Historic Wintersburg in Huntington Beach author Mary Adams Urashima. These and other items are safeguarded for a future exhibit in the Stephen K. Tamura West Justice Center. (Photo, M. Urashima) © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 © All rights reserved. No part of the Historic Wintersburg blog may be reproduced or duplicated without prior written permission from the author and publisher, Mary Adams Urashima.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

George Freeth, the village of Maikura, and the 1918-1920 pandemic

   In December 1908, at the age of 25, the "father of surfing" George Freeth saved the lives of nine Japanese American and two Russian American fishermen off Venice beach when a violent Pacific storm lashed the coast. For his heroic actions, Freeth was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for bravery.

   In April 1919,  at the age of 35, the Hawaiian-born Freeth--noted for his physical fitness and still in his prime--died after a long battle with the flu virus spreading across the globe.  He was the first person to surf the Huntington Beach pier at its re-dedication in 1914.

LEFT: George Freeth in 1909, a year after he rescued fishermen off of Venice beach after the "sudden appearance by a heavy northwester."  He was 25 at the time and was reported to have "made a spectacular dive from the wharf," swimming through the boiling water to pilot the fishing boats to safety. (Image, Los Angeles Times, October 9, 1909)

  Freeth was a remarkably skilled surfer, the one Jack London described during his 1907 visit to Hawaii as "his heels are winged, and in them is the swiftness of the sea." But, he isn't remembered just because he was a surfer. In Southern California, he was a local hero who dedicated his life to saving others.

   On December 16, 1908, the "heavy northwester" hit the Southern California coast, catching local fishermen by surprise. Boats were floundering and being pushed toward the rocky breakwater. As a powerhouse alarm sounded, Freeth "made a spectacular dive from the wharf" into the water and swam to the most endangered boat first. The ocean water temperature off the coast of Los Angeles County in December averages a chilly 60°F (16°C).

   The Los Angeles Times reported the next day that Freeth "successfully piloted the craft, which contained two Japanese fishermen, around the pier to a safe landing." Freeth dove into the water repeatedly until he had helped eleven fishermen safely to shore. He crawled onto one of the Japanese American fishing boats and "by a trick known only to himself, piloted the craft through the surf at railroad speed and made a safe landing on the beach." Freeth was a surfer and followed his instincts, surfing the boat to shore.

   One Japanese American fishing boat capsized as they tried to make their way to shore, with three men falling overboard and too far ashore to be thrown a life buoy. Freeth again dove off the pier carrying a life belt for each of the three men so they could stay afloat until his volunteer lifeguards arrived by rescue boat. All were saved.

RIGHT: George Freeth with a life-saving buoy he designed, described as a "hollow, air-tight, copper torpedo forty-two inches by eight, which will hold up a dead weight of five-hundred pounds." (Image, Recreation, Volumes 52-53, 1915)

   A few of the fishermen caught up in the storm were identified by the Los Angeles Times as T.O. Shiro, T. Caneshira, I. Igi, T. Yamauchi, Y. Kato, and T. Tokushima.* The majority of the fishermen are identified as being from the small fishing village off present-day Pacific Palisades, in a beach area near the "Long Wharf" known as Maikura.

   The day after Freeth's heroic rescue of the Maikura fishermen, they returned to see him, bearing gifts.  In addition to a cash gift of $50---an equivalent of about $940 today---they presented Freeth with a gold watch (average price of a gold watch in 1918 was $12.93, an equivalent of about $240 today). They donated an additional $37 to the volunteer lifeguard benefit fund. The fishermen reportedly announced to Freeth that they were renaming Maikura as "Port Freeth" (Our L.A. County Lifeguard Family, LACoFD, Lifeguard Operations) A 1910 Los Angeles Times article about a Yamato Association picnic on the beach near the fishing village north of Port Los Angeles noted "which by some is called Freeth--so named in honor of George Freeth, the Hawaiian life-saver, who rescued a number of Japanese fishermen who were caught at sea during the storm of two years ago."

ABOVE RIGHT: Local media reported on the daring rescue and on the gestures of appreciation from the fishermen the following day. ("Japanese fishermen thank life saving crew," Los Angeles Times, December 18, 1908)

  Fast forward to 1918, a decade after his nationally-reported heroics rescuing the Japanese American fishermen, Freeth was working a lifeguard job at Ocean Beach in San Diego. He continued to demonstrate his surfing skills for awestruck beach crowds, including one stunt where he "suddenly leaped clearing the board by at least three feet, turned a sumersault, regained his balance on the board again, then completed his stunt with a dive. The trick was a thriller, and evoked a storm of applause."

LEFT: A stone plaque for George Freeth embedded in the Huntington Beach Surfing Walk of Fame on Main Street in 2014, one hundred years after he first surfed the Huntington Beach pier. (Photo, M. Urashima, 2014) © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

   Months later in January 1919, Freeth was overtaken by the flu virus. The pandemic had taken root in the military bases in San Diego and, despite flu masks and a citywide quarantine in December 1918, the virus continued to spread in the surrounding community. 

   Freeth recovered, then relapsed, and was hospitalized again. He would not fully recover. On the evening of April 7, 1919, he passed. The Honolulu Star Bulletin reported on April 8, 1919, that "George Douglas Freeth, well known local athlete and swimmer, died at Ocean Beach, California, last night of pneumonia, according to a cablegram received by Honolulu relatives today. In December 1908, Freeth rescued nine Japanese fishermen during a storm at Venice, Cal., for which he was awarded the Congressional medal for heroism."

RIGHT: The Japanese American fishing village of Maikura (aka Port Freeth) as it appeared the year Freeth died in 1919. The Los Angeles Times described Maikura as "one of the most picturesque spots on the coast and a large number of the houses are built after Japanese plans. The customs of the settlement are entirely Japanese." Both Maikura and George Freeth met their demise in 1919. This photograph was taken before the 2,000 residents of Maikura were displaced by the Pacific Electric Railway. Japanese American fishing villages were targeted by those fomenting anti-Japanese politics in California. Cornelius Vanderbilt Jr. campaigned against the villages in the San Francisco Examiner in 1923, characterizing the communities as "aliens" monopolizing an industry. Forced to move from Maikura in 1919, the residents relocated to the fishing village on Terminal Island, where they would lose their community again in 1942. ("Old Japanese fishing village at Port Los Angeles to disappear," Los Angeles Times, September 16, 1919)

   During the 1918-1920 pandemic, the mortality was a "W" curve. The virus hit hardest those younger than five, 20-40 years old, and those sixty-five and older. Many who succumbed were fit and healthy before the virus, like George Freeth.
LEFT: George Freeth, of Hawaiian-British descent (ethnically Hawaiian-Irish), with his Congressional Gold Medal and U.S. Volunteer Life-Saving medal for Valor pinned on his lifeguard uniform. (Photo, Los Angeles County Lifeguard Trust Fund)

   The number of lives lost during the 1918-1920 pandemic is estimated to be at least 50 million worldwide with about 675,000 occurring in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The CDC also notes, "with no vaccine to protect against influenza infection and no antibiotics to treat secondary bacterial infections that can be associated with influenza infections, control efforts worldwide were limited to non-pharmaceutical interventions such as isolation, quarantine, good personal hygiene, use of disinfectants, and limitations of public gatherings, which were applied unevenly." (1918 Pandemic - H1N1 Virus, Centers for Disease Control)

   George Freeth, the son of Elizabeth Kailikapuolono Green Freeth was laid to rest in the O'ahu Cemetery in Honolulu County, Hawaii after friends in California sent his ashes home to his mother. Freeth's legacy in Southern California is not just as the "father of surfing", but also the lives he saved during his short time on earth. His story is one out of the millions of souls lost to the 1918-1920 virus. 

   At the time of this writing, the Huntington Beach pier that George Freeth famously surfed in 1914 is closed to limit public gatherings due to the global pandemic coronavirus, COVID-19. For those reading this in the present day, stay home. Flatten the curve.

*Names of the Japanese American fishermen as spelled by the Los Angeles Times in 1908.

© All rights reserved. No part of the Historic Wintersburg blog may be reproduced or duplicated without prior written permission from the author and publisher, Mary Adams Urashima.