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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Wintersburg’s Okuda family and memories of life on the Bolsa Chica Gun Club

The divide between the “haves” and those with less was never more evident in the peatlands than when the gun clubs arrived. Past the western edge of Wintersburg’s farmland, the Bolsa Chica Gun Club was among the most prominent, boasting a wealthy, eclectic membership.

For the Okuda family, the Bolsa Chica Gun Club was home for over two decades. Harry Okuda maintained the landscaping and kitchen gardens, including the yard of chickens being readied for club members’ dinners. Harry arrived at the Gun Club circa 1910 or 1913—coinciding with his arrival in the United States (note: family memories which …

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Sakura: How Cherry Blossom Festivals took root in America

It took two attempts to bring the first gift of cherry trees to the United States from Japan. The first shipment of 2,000 trees in 1910 were not healthy enough to plant. The second shipment of 3,000 trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to the city of Washington, D.C. in 1912 were a success! It is the recognition of that gift that sparked the National Cherry Blossom Festival along the Tidal Basin.

It was an idea with roots in the late 19th century, with the writer Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore. Scidmore was an aberration. She wrote the first travel book …

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Memorial Day 2015: Kazuo Masuda remembered

Kazuo Masuda and the Nisei who served in the U.S. military were remembered at a Memorial Day ceremony at Westminster Memorial Park. The Masuda family story is important nationally, as this is the family specifically mentioned by President Ronald Reagan when he signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988.

Kazuo Masuda will be one of three Nisei soldiers whose story will be featured in the upcoming Congressional Gold Medal Digital Exhibition by the Smithsonian Institute National Museum of American History.

Congregants of the Wintersburg Mission and farmers in Talbert (Fountain Valley), the Masuda family story can be found at Historic …

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The View From Manzanar

If you don’t want to change your perspective, don’t go to Manzanar.

The road to Manzanar is breathtaking. The foot of the Sierras has the sort of terrain travelers stop to photograph, snow-dusted peaks and painter’s clouds. Highway 395 passes through 19th century California, pioneer mining towns with western false front buildings straight off a movie set. It’s a beautiful drive away from California’s urban coast and into the big empty.

And then, Manzanar. Nine miles past Lone Pine, a wooden watchtower pushes into the blue. My throat closes. The watchtower doesn’t belong here and never should have been here. …

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The McIntosh family of Wintersburg Village

She bought Japanese food from (Tashima market)…there was a meat market owned by a hakujin, MacIntosh Meats. So, she bought meat from them. Those were the only stores around here. There were no other stores.

—Yukiko Yajima Furuta, Issei Experience in Orange County, California,
California State University Fullerton Japanese American Project,
Arthur A. Hansen and Yasko Gama, 1982

Wintersburg Village wasn’t just a farming town. It was also a cow town.

Once part of the Rancho la Bolsa Chica, cattle had grazed the fields and “little pockets” of grass in the wetlands for generations. When French aviator Hubert Latham …

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