C.M. Furuta Gold Fish Farm at Historic Wintersburg
The C.M. Furuta Gold Fish Farm at Historic Wintersburg--the former Wintersburg Village--is a rare, pre-1913 Japanese pioneer-owned property listed as one of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in 2014 and designated as a National Treasure in 2015 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The currently endangered property is noted as eligible for the California Register of Historical Places and the National Register of Historic Places by the City of Huntington Beach.
Backstory and Context
Three generations of Japanese American experience are represented: immigration of the Issei in the late 19th century, exclusion and the prohibition of property ownership with the Alien Land Laws of the early 20th Century, World War II incarceration of Americans of Japanese descent, and the return to California from World War II confinement in 1945.
The property's modern history dates to the land purchase by Japanese immigrant pioneers in 1908, as part of the former land holdings of the Rancho Las Bolsas. The property's pre history includes centuries of occupation by the Tongva, a native people of California.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation, Washington, D.C., named Historic Wintersburg a National Treasure in October 2015, stating that 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.
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
Hansen, Arthur. Yukiko Furuta oral history. Calisphere, University of California. . Accessed March 15, 2018. http://texts.cdlib.org/view?docId=ft7p3006z0&doc.view=entire_text. Honorable Stephen K. Tamura Orange County Japanese American Oral History Project; Historical and Cultural Foundation of Orange County, Japanese American Council, and California State University Fullerton Oral History Program Japanese American Project.