Mary Adams Urashima

Mary Adams Urashima is an author, government affairs consultant and freelance writer living in Huntington Beach. She created HistoricWintersburg.blogspot.com to generate more awareness about the history of the Japanese in Orange County, including stories of an area in north Huntington Beach once known as the Wintersburg Village. Urashima is chairing a community effort to preserve the century-old Furuta farm and Wintersburg Japanese Presbyterian Mission complex, named to the “America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places” list in 2014 and designated a “National Treasure” in 2015 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Her book, Historic Wintersburg in Huntington Beach, was released by History Press in March 2014.


Updated April 2016

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The Japanese Mission Trail: Lost and at-risk history along the Pacific Coast - Part 2 of 2

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Wintersburg Village

By 1902, seventeen years after the first Japanese Presbyterian Mission was established in northern California, the Presbyterian and Methodist Evangelical churches in nearby Westminster had taken note of Orange County’s growing Japanese community. Rev. Inazawa was sent to investigate. By 1904, Rev. Inazawa and Rev. John Junzo Nakamura met with Rev. Terasawa, leading to the founding of the Wintersburg Mission.

At that time, there was no Presbytery established in Orange County. The Los Angeles Presbytery had no funds, leaving the Wintersburg Mission support to the local community. In an interfaith effort, nearby Presbyterian and ...

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The Japanese Mission Trail: Lost and at-risk history along the Pacific Coast - Part 1 of 2

The California State Parks describes the California Missions Trail’s importance as “humble, thatch-roofed beginnings to the stately adobes we see today, the missions represent a dynamic chapter of California’s past. By the time the last mission was built in 1823, the Golden State had grown from an untamed wilderness to a thriving agricultural frontier on the verge of American statehood.”

The history represented by the Spanish missions trail is of European settlement, but it is not the only mission trail in California. There is a missing chapter, pages torn out and forgotten, as the State transitioned from an ...

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Why Orange County's Japanese community built a church in Wintersburg

The century-old document below is held in the archive of the present-day Wintersburg Presbyterian Church (the former Wintersburg Japanese Presbyterian Mission and Church). It is a compelling document, placing the Mission and Church site in the context of the historic struggle for civil liberties and the desire to become American. The Mission is the oldest Japanese church in Southern California.

Faced with the need to raise funds for the first Mission building, Orange County’s Japanese community circulated the prospectus to explain the need for donations. The document first acknowledges the anti-Asian sentiment of early 1900s California and the fact ...

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Women in Wintersburg

Yukiko Furuta was not a picture bride and she did not remember meeting any picture brides in the area. Her marriage was arranged by family and friends.

C.M. Furuta—who had been living in America since 1900—traveled to Japan to meet his prospective bride. “…One day this lady asked her to go to a public bath house with her,” explains the translator for Yukiko Furuta’s 1982 oral history interview with CSU Fullerton history professor Arthur Hansen.

When they finished taking the bath, this lady told Mrs. Furuta, ‘Go home before me and if some guests come to ...

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Goldfish on Wintersburg Avenue Part 2 - The Living Jewels of the Furuta Gold Fish Farm

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Did you ever wonder why goldfish and koi ponds have been a long tradition in landscapes around Orange County? Most likely, the trend owes its roots to Wintersburg.

One of Wintersburg’s most unique business enterprises were the goldfish farms, all owned by Issei (Japanese immigrants). While there was a long history of goldfish farming in Asia, this was a fairly new enterprise for America. The glittering fish delighted the American public and ignited a trend that remains popular today.

By the 1920s, Charles M. Furuta had established goldfish ponds on his property in Wintersburg, with help ...

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