By Andrew Shortall
5:22 PM PST, November 20, 2012
The Historic Wintersburg Preservation Task Force raised between $2,500 and $3,000 over the weekend with a benefit reception and four screenings of the film "Lil Tokyo Reporter."
The short film told the story of Japanese-American civil-rights activist Sei Fujii and was shown Saturday and Sunday at the Charter Centre Cinemas. The meet-and-greet reception with the directors and cast was held Saturday evening at the Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort in Huntington Beach.
"We are very pleased with this, as our goal in this very first event of our first few months as a committee was both friend-raising and fundraising," said Task Force Chair Mary Urashima, adding that money may still be coming as a result of the event. "We met so many wonderful people who I think will help us going forward, and who genuinely care about our historic preservation goals."
The task force, which was formed by the Huntington Beach City Council, is dedicated to preserving Historic Wintersburg, which dates back to 1909. The site includes the home and farm of Charles Mitsuji Furuta. It also is home to the former Wintersburg Japanese Presbyterian Church, which was constructed in 1934.
The property, located at the corner of Warner Avenue and Nichols Lane, is owned by Rainbow Environmental Services, which has filed an application to demolish structures there and rezone the land from residential to commercial and industrial use.
It is one of two known Huntington Beach properties purchased by Japanese people prior to the Alien Land Law of 1913, which was intended to keep primarily Asian immigrant farmers from owning land.
The task force hopes to keep Historic Wintersburg in place but is also researching moving the site to another location in the city.