Wintersburg Japanese Mission at Historic Wintersburg
The Wintersburg Japanese Mission and manse (parsonage), circa 1910, in Wintersburg Village (Huntington Beach), California.
The Wintersburg Japanese Church building was constructed during the Gread Depression, opening in 1934. The original 1909-1910 Mission and manse buildings are directly behind the 1934 Church building.
Wintersburg Japanese Church building completed, the third of the three structures associated with the Wintersburg Japanese Mission. Source: Santa Ana Register, December 10, 1934.
Congregation of the Wintersburg Japanese Mission, circa 1910. Source: Los Angeles Times, September 2, 1984.
Backstory and Context
The property was purchased by Reverend Barnabus Terasawa and Charles Mitsuji Furuta in 1908, with the first Mission building constructed in 1909. The property was deeded to Charles Mitsuji Furuta in 1912 and he continued to dedicate a portion of his farm to the Wintersburg Japanese Mission. The Mission originally began as an interfaith effort, including founders associated with the Buddhist, Presbyterian, Episcopalian and Methodist faiths.
The Wintersburg Japanese Mission was the center of activity for the early 20th Century Japanese pioneer community in Orange County. It is one of the oldest Japanese missions of any denomination in Southern California. During World War II, the Mission buildings were boarded up and the clergy followed their congregation into confinement. The majority of those associated with the Wintersburg Japanese Mission were incarcerated at the Colorado River Relocation Center, also known as Poston, near Parker, Arizona. In 1945, the clergy and congregation of the Wintersburg Japanese Mission returned to Orange County to rebuild their lives.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation, Washington, D.C., named Historic Wintersburg a National Treasure in October 2015, stating that the Wintersburg Japanese Mission complex on the Furuta farm is "among the only surviving Japanese-American properties acquired before California passed anti-immigrant land laws in 1913 and 1920. Further, as the entire Wintersburg community was incarcerated during World War II, the site is iconic of our nation’s civil rights history and a reminder of the struggle for social justice that many immigrant communities continue to face today."
Preservationists have been working with the current property owner with a goal of historic preservation as a permanent heritage site with public park uses. The property is an endangered historic place and is currently not open to the public.
Urashima, Mary. Historic Wintersburg. . Accessed March 14, 2018. http://historicwintersburg.blogspot.com/.
General Plan Historical Element. City of Huntington Beach, California. . Accessed March 15, 2018. https://www.huntingtonbeachca.gov/government/departments/planning/gp/.
Urashima, Mary Adams. Historic Wintersburg in Huntington Beach. History Press / Arcadia, 2014. ISBN-10: 1626193118 ISBN-13: 978-1626193116
Urashima, Mary Adams. community en The Japanese Mission Trail: Lost and at-risk history along the Pacific Coast - Part 1 of 2. Discover Nikkei, Japanese American National Museum. December 12, 2013. Accessed March 20, 2018. http://www.discovernikkei.org/en/journal/2013/12/12/japanese-mission-1/.
Urashima, Mary Adams. community en The Japanese Mission Trail: Lost and at-risk history along the Pacific Coast - Part 2 of 2. Discover Nikkei, Japanese American National Museum. December 19, 2013. Accessed March 20, 2018. http://www.discovernikkei.org/en/journal/2013/12/19/japanese-mission-2/.
Mellen, Greg. "Owner: Historic Wintersburg buildings in Huntington Beach won’t be demolished." Orange County Register(Santa Ana)May 17, 2016. . https://www.ocregister.com/2016/05/27/owner-historic-wintersburg-buildings-in-huntington-beach-wont-...
Zint, Bradley. "Wintersburg advocates say historic Huntington Beach property is for sale and could become a self-storage facility." Los Angeles Times(Los Angeles)December 12, 0018. . http://www.latimes.com/socal/daily-pilot/news/tn-dpt-me-wintersburg-20180131-story.html
Guerra, Juvenio. Support for Historic Wintersburg builds as site owner considers sale options. National Trust for Historic Preservation. February 27, 2018. Accessed March 25, 2018. https://savingplaces.org/places/historic-wintersburg/updates/support-for-historic-wintersburg-builds....
"Historic Wintersburg Gets Support from City Board." The Rafu Shimpo(Los Angeles)February 17, 2018. . http://www.rafu.com/2018/02/historic-wintersburg-gets-support-from-city-board/
Yamamoto, J.K.. "Remembering Wintersburg." The Rafu Shimpo(Los Angeles)December 10, 2012. . http://www.rafu.com/2012/12/remembering-wintersburg/
"National Trust for Historic Preservation Names Historic Wintersburg to Its 2014 List of America’s 11 Most-Endangered Historic Places." Pacific Citizen(Washington, D.C.)October 23, 2014. . https://www.pacificcitizen.org/national-trust-for-historic-preservation-names-historic-wintersburg-t...
Matsuda, Gann. Manzanar Committee Calls On Huntington Beach City Council To Act To Preserve, Protect Historic Wintersburg. Manzanar Committee. February 15, 2018. Accessed March 25, 2018. https://blog.manzanarcommittee.org/2018/02/15/historic-wintersburg/.
Historic Wintersburg, Huntington Beach. Preserve Orange County. September 21, 2017. Accessed March 25, 2018. https://www.preserveorangecounty.org/endangered-places/2017/9/21/historic-wintersburg.