LOS ANGELES — The Manzanar Committee, sponsor of the annual Manzanar Pilgrimage since 1969, along with the Manzanar At Dusk program, for the last 21 years, calls on the City Council of the City of Huntington Beach to act to preserve and protect the site of Historic Wintersburg, which is currently threatened by the proposed sale of the land by Republic Services, Inc. to Public Storage.
Historic Wintersburg is the former site of a late 1800’s Japanese American farming community which was named as one of America’s Most Endangered Places in 2014, and as a National Treasure in 2015. Both designations were made by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
The Manzanar Committee first announced its support for the protection and preservation of Historic Wintersburg in July 2013.
“The Manzanar Committee is shocked and dismayed that, despite previous assurances, Republic Services has moved to sell Historic Wintersburg, a site of conscience and important landmarks, to Public Storage,” said Manzanar Committee Co-Chair Bruce Embrey. “Despite its significance to the local community, the Japanese American community, and our nation, it appears these companies have placed their narrow interests above all else.”
“We call on the Huntington Beach City Council to listen to its constituents, and concerned parties from around the state, and work to preserve the site,” added Embrey. “Preserving the site, rather than building a public storage facility, should be an easy choice, with the site being right next to a school—the educational value for the entire community alone outweighs the alleged need for a storage facility.”
“The City of Huntington Beach should intervene to promote the public good above the narrow interests of two corporations.”
Embrey also noted that preserving Historic Wintersburg would likely have positive impacts for Huntington Beach that have not been considered.
“Our experience with establishing the Manzanar National Historic Site demonstrates the overwhelming positive impact preserving our nations’ history can have,” he said. “The economic, social, and cultural benefits to the Owens Valley are tremendously positive, bringing economic development and jobs.”
“The Manzanar Committee urges everyone to continue to support Historic Wintersburg, and work to ensure that this historic landmark is preserved and protected. The Huntington Beach City Council should act accordingly, and without delay.”
The Manzanar Committee is dedicated to educating and raising public awareness about the incarceration and violation of civil rights of persons of Japanese ancestry during World War II and to the continuing struggle of all peoples when Constitutional rights are in danger. A non-profit organization that has sponsored the annual Manzanar Pilgrimage since 1969, along with other educational programs, the Manzanar Committee has also played a key role in the establishment and continued development of the Manzanar National Historic Site. For more information, check out our web site at https://manzanarcommittee.org, call us at (323) 662-5102, and e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow the Manzanar Commitee on Facebook, on Twitter at @manzanarcomm, on Instagram at @manzanarcommittee, on Pinterest and on YouTube.
LEAD PHOTO: The congregation of the Wintersburg Presbyterian Church, March 8, 1910. Photo courtesy Wintersburg Presbyterian Church
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This is currently the most important property in Orange County.
Thank you for your support, Manzanar Committee. We have so little left that tells the story of Japanese pioneers and of Japanese American settlement of the American West. That this farm and mission property survived more than a century, intact, is a miracle. It may take another miracle to save this National Treasure for future generations.