Preserve Historic Japanese Church

HuntingtonChurch3

Target: Councilwoman Connie Boardman

Goal: Restore the 100-year old buildings that once belonged to a Japanese church prior to World War II

In Huntington Beach, California, there sits a group of abandoned buildings that once belonged to the Wintersburg Presbyterian Church. Some of the buildings, which consist of a mission, church, manse, barn, and farmhouse, date back 100 years and are the roots of the Wintersburg Japanese Presbyterian Mission. The buildings have been sitting abandoned for several years, surrounded by chain link fencing, and now their future is uncertain.

The buildings are one of the few Japanese-owned properties purchased prior to the Alien Land Law of 1913, and are now the property of Rainbow Environmental Services. Originally belonging to the Furuta family, it remained a church for the small community of Japanese immigrants who came to work in Orange County before most of them were sent to internment camps during World War II.  Several members of the church rose to prominence, including one member who became the first Japanese American mayor of a mainland city. The church community has since relocated to Santa Ana, though they have expressed interest in the buildings and in the artifacts that are preserved by members of the Huntington Beach Historic Resources Board.

The two options proposed for the property are to have the buildings demolished or relocated to another property and preserved there. To demolish the buildings would be to destroy an important part of California’s history, and relocating them could result in destruction as well.  A committee, consisting of several Huntington Beach council members, interested community members, and Rainbow representatives, has been formed to debate the future of the property.

By signing the petition below, you are asking the council to restore the buildings, and preserve a part of not only the history of the Wintersburg Presbyterian Church, but a part of our civil liberties history.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Councilwoman Connie Boardman,

You are well aware that the property that once served as the Wintersburg Presbyterian Church in Huntington Beach is an important historical location to both the city and the Japanese community of Orange County. Currently, the future of the property and the buildings that sit on it is in limbo.

I am asking you to seriously consider restoring the buildings as a historical site. Demolishing them would be erasing a part of history for both civil liberties and Huntington Beach, and relocating them may result in the destruction of the buildings as well as be very expensive. This site means a lot of to the history of the Japanese community and to the Wintersburg Presbyterian Church.

Please choose to preserve a piece of history for both the Wintersburg Presbyterian Church and the Orange County community by restoring the buildings and preserving them as a historical site.

Sincerely,
[Your Name Here]

Sign the Petition

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One Comment

  1. As the author of http://www.HistoricWintersburg.blogspot.com, I am surprised to see what may be a play on my name in the signatures below (I did not sign petition and I hope no one is using my name without my permission).

    I was asked to chair the new ad hoc committee re: historic preservation, and our first meeting was Sept. 17, 2012.

    A constructive action you can take is to “like” the committee’s facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Historic-Wintersburg-Preservation-Task-Force/433990979985360?ref=stream. This will help you stay informed re: the current CEQA process and support our fundraising efforts for preservation.

    Interest and support in this unique, historic site is appreciated. Please review the facebook page for the latest facts and news.

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44 Signatures

  • Marianne Oelman
  • Hermann Kastner
  • Eric von Borstel
  • Mal Gaff
  • Terrie Phenicie
  • Holly Hall
  • Jutta Taraniuk
  • Melanie waleski
  • Ricki Newman
  • sundriya grubb
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