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

community en

A Century Ago: Dawning of A New Year in 1914 - Part 2 of 2

Read Part 1 >>

The dawn of a new year, unrest and change

A tremendous social shift was occurring as the world marched toward globalization. In Europe, 1914 would bring the beginning of World War I with the outbreak of conflict and declarations of war. Some from Wintersburg Village and Huntington Beach would later leave the peatlands for military service. Japan would join the allies and later declare war on Germany, invading their settlement in China.

In South Africa in 1914, Mahatma Gandhi would be arrested campaigning for Indian rights. In Latin America, the Panama Canal opened, providing easier steamship …

Read more

community en

A Century Ago: Dawning of A New Year in 1914 - Part 1 of 2

A century ago, the New Year in 1914 brought both promise and uncertainty for Japanese pioneers in California.

[inline:Newyear1.png]

It was a time of global social and technological change—affecting state politics—while at the same time generating excitement about what opportunities lay ahead.

In Wintersburg, Charles Furuta and his new wife, Yukiko, had completed construction on their white-trimmed bungalow and settled in to their life as newlyweds. Photos from 1913 show a clothes line with wooden pins behind the house, a lush tree line surrounding the Furuta farm, a stack of wood nearby for future projects, and the Wintersburg Mission and …

Read more

community en

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

Read Part 1 >>

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 …

Read more

community en

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.”

[inline:mission2.jpg]

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 agricultural …

Read more

community en

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.

[inline:Reasons to build the church_sm.jpg]

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 …

Read more