Mary Urashima started writing a blog this year about the Japanese American Church in Orange County after she learned it was slated for demolition. City Council members formed a committee to look at saving the church after learning about it through Urashima’s blog.
“I would like to see as many buildings as possible preserved,” Mayor Connie Boardman said. “That’s where we need the help of the greater community. We need money, and we need volunteers, ” the mayor told NBC
“For a long time, Japanese Americans didn’t feel they were worthy. They did not consider their land to be historic,” Urashima said. “This history right here is older than Huntington Beach.”
The church first opened as the Winterburg Japanese Presbyterian Mission in 1904 and was dedicated as the Japanese Presbyterian church in 1934 before being closed down when Japanese Americans were sent to incarceration camps in World War II.
It reopened in 1945 and was identified as an historic cultural landmark in 1973.