Monday, November 11, 2019

Veterans camp at Arbamar in Huntington Beach

Rows of tents for a Chautauqua at Arbamar in Huntington Beach, Calif. with a car parked in the distance. Arbamar, meaning "the Grove by the Sea," was named for the sheltering eucalyptus trees. The campground extended from 11th to 13th Street, between Orange and Acacia streets, and closed after the 1920 oil boom. (Photo, Santa Monica Public Library Image Archives)
   A century ago, veterans from the Civil War were joined by veterans from World War I for the first time at Arbamar, the tent city in Huntington Beach.   It was the thirty-second annual encampment of the Southern California Veterans Association and they expected a crowd of around 2,500.

   The Santa Ana Register reported the two-week encampment at the end of July through early August was "the time for the assembling of the defenders of the Union flag of '61" and noted "with the ranks of the Grand Army of the Republic being depleted year by year at a rapid rate, many who were there last year will not be with their comrades this year."

   The annual encampment would be "enhanced this year by the presence of many young veterans of the war with Germany". The first Armistice Day in the United States was held on November 11, 1919, marking the first anniversary of the end of World War I and the armistice signed between the allies of World War I and Germany at Compi├Ęgne, France.

All rights reserved.  No part of the Historic Huntington Beach blog may be reproduced or duplicated without prior written permission from the author and publisher, M. Adams Urashima.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Huntington Beach Cherry Blossom Festival 2018

The annual Huntington Beach Cherry Blossom Festival is Sunday, March 18, 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., behind the Central Library at 7111 Talbert Avenue and Goldenwest Street.  The event includes live entertainment and music, Japanese cuisine, cultural exhibits and performances. Early arrival is recommended for free parking in the Central Library parking lot and nearby lots. This event celebrates Huntington Beach's multi-decade Sister City relationship with Anjo, Japan, and supports the student ambassador program. (Photo, M. Urashima, 2015) © All rights reserved.

  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.

LEFT:  In Japan, the face of the moon is a rabbit mochi-tsuki: rabbits pounding cooked rice in a mortar to make mochi, the confection enjoyed at special holidays and festivals. Dango, or mochi, is often shaped like a rabbit at the time of the fall moon festival and like cherry blossoms during hanami, or "flower viewing" season. (Image, National Diet Library, Japan)

   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 for Alaska and was the first woman to write for National Geographic. Scidmore wrote about her experiences traveling in Asia and lived in Japan. She would write about Asia for decades, introducing American readers to the Japanese moon festival, and explaining that, while Americans saw a "man in the moon", in Japan the image on the moon's face was seen as "rabbits making mochi." 

RIGHT: Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore, described as a writer of "sparkling travel sketches" by the Minneapolis Journal, March 16, 1901. She was the first to advocate for the planting of cherry trees in Washington, D.C. Washington Post writer Michael Ruane wrote in 2012 about Scidmore's appearance at a Capitol society bal in the winter of 1894, "she wore a gown of green under a black silk robe embroidered with gold and silver  Japanese characters. And when the young woman walked into the Dupont Circle mansion that night, she turned every head...She was 37, an author, journalist, traveler and collector of the lore and artifacts of far-off lands." (Photo, Wisconsin Historical Society)

   While she wrote about cultural traditions and flower festivals--such as the festival in Japan for asagao, or the morning glory flower--Scidmore also was acknowledged as an insightful observer of the social and political environment in Asia, publishing works like, Java: The Garden of the East in 1987, and China: The Long Lived Empire in 1900.

   The U.S. National Park Service credits Scidmore as the first to advocae for cherry blossom trees in 1885.

LEFT: Cherry trees in bloom in Aakasaka, an area of Tokyo, in the 1890s. (Photograph, The New York Public Library. ID 109995. Photography Collection, Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs)

   "Upon returning to Washington from her first visit to Japan," reports the National Park Service, Scidmore "approached the U.S. Army Superintendent of the Office of Public Buildings and Grounds, with the proposal that cherry trees be planted one day along the reclaimed Potomac waterfront. Her request fell on deaf ears. Over the next twenty-four years, Mrs. Scidmore approached every new superintendent, but her idea met with no success." 

   In 1909, Scidmore made the request of the wife of President William Howard Taft, First Lady Hellon Herron Taft, suggesting she would fund raise to buy the cherry trees and donate them to the Capitol. The National Park Service explains that the First Lady had lived in Japan and was familiar with the sight of the cherry trees in bloom.

RIGHT: Tanabata Festival, or Star Festival, kazari on display in Huntington Beach Central Park during the 2017 Cherry Blossom Festival. (Photo, M. Urashima, 2015) © All rights reserved.     

    Hellen Herrron Taft responded to Scidmore in two days, writing, "Thank you very much for your suggestion about the cherry trees. I have taken the matter up and am promised the trees, but I thought perhaps it would be best to make an avenue of them, extending down to the turn in the road, as the other part is still too rough to do any planting. Of course, they would not reflect in the water, but the effect would be very lovely of the long avenue. Let me know what you think about this."  

   The Washington Post continues the history, explaining that the day after Scidmore received the letter from the First Lady, "she told two Japanese acquaintances who were in Washington on business: Jokichi Takamine, the New York chemist, and Kikichi Mizumo, Japan's consul general in New York. The two men immediately suggested a donation of 2,000 trees from Japan, specifically from its capitol, Tokyo, as a gesture of friendship" and asked Scidmore to find out if the First Lady would find the gift acceptable. She did. 

LEFT: A program for the 1949 Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C. 

   With First Lady Taft's support, things moved quickly. Although the first batch of cherry trees could not be planted, the second  group arrived from Japan just in time for Valentine's Day, February 14, 1912. Over three thousand trees were shipped from Yokohama to Seattle, then in insulated freight cars went on to Washington, D.C. And, on March 27, 1912, the First Lady and the Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese Ambassador, planted two Yoshino cherry trees on the northern bank of the Tidal Basin. 

ABOVE: Cherry blossom trees burst with color in Huntington Beach Central Park. Most of the trees are gifts from Sister City Anjo, Japan. Each year, a new tree is planted with a delegation from Anjo and with the Consulate General of Japan, near the Secret Garden. (Photo, M. Urashima, March 2017) © All rights reserved.

   That year, the Washington Star reported a "Washington woman who has been decorated is Miss Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore, whose home is at 1837 M Street northwest, and who in 1908 was given the cross of the Order of the Eastern Rising Sun by the Emperor of Japan in recognition of her writings in Japan." (Editor's note: Scidmore's home remains standing at the address reported in 1912, a stately, restored Victorian, now living a new life as a restaurant.)  

LEFT: The United States has long been fascinated by the traditi9on of hanami, or "flower viewing" of the sakura (cherry blossoms) in Japan. (It's Cherry Blossom Time In Japan, San Francisco Call, April 21, 1907) 

   The National Cherry Blossom Festival reports that several years later in 1915, the United States reciprocated with a gift of flowering dogwood trees to the people of Japan. In 2012--a century after the planting of Japan's gift of cherry blossom trees in Washington D.C.--the United States sent 3,000 flowering dogwood trees to Japan as an anniversary gift. The dogwood trees were planted in the Tohoku region of northern Japan and in Yoyhogi Park of Tokyo.  

  To preserve the original genetic lineage of the first cherry trees, the National Park Service reports that "approximately 120 propagates from the surviving 1912 trees around the Tidal Basin were collected by NPS horticulturists and sent back to Japan (in 2011) to the Japan Cherry Blossom Association...Through this cycle of giving, the cherry trees continue to fulfill their role as a symbol and as an agent of friendship."

RIGHT: Look for the large stone among the cherry blossom trees in Central Park, commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Sister City friendship with Anjo, Japan, dedicated in 2002. The stone reads, "Each spring in Japan, cherry blossoms are enjoyed as a symbol of renewed live and vitality. In this spirit, Anjo, Japan, has given fifty cherry trees to the City of Huntington Beach to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Sister City relationship between Anjo and Huntington Beach. (Photo, M. Urashima, March 2017) © All rights reserved.

   This year in Huntington Beach, we will again plant new cherry trees in Central Park--and celebrate an international relationship that began with the first Japanese pioneers in Orange County in 1900 and with a Sister City bond beginning 36 years ago. Come join us for good food, music, cultural performances, good friends, and the simple art of viewing flowers.

All rights reserved.  No part of the Historic Huntington Beach blog may be reproduced or duplicated without prior written permission from the author and publisher, M. Adams Urashima.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Prohibition and booze under the cornerstone

ABOVE: The First Baptist Church, circa 1913, with a beautiful bell tower and canopy trees along 6th Street and Orange Avenue. The Church, constructed in 1913, received approval from the Huntington Beach city council in March, 1959, "for removal of trees from around the church and permission to cement from the sidewalk to the curb in front of the church on both Sixth and Orange streets".  The church structure--with some alternations--remains standing today and is now the Community Bible Church of Huntington Beach. (Photograph, City of Huntington Beach archives)

   If you have seen the initials "J.E.B." marked on a curb in the historic downtown, then you have seen the work of James E. Brunton. He was a contractor for the city in the early 1900s as the Huntington Beach Township grew, gradually adding sidewalks and paving streets.  Brunton's name shows up regularly on the board of trustees minutes (the early city council) for approval of payment for his work. He also worked as a private contractor on major projects, such as the construction of the Holly Sugar Company factory.

ABOVE: Not much of the original sidewalk and curbing is left in the original Huntington Beach Township area. The initials J.E.B. mark the work of James E. Brunton, who was a longtime resident, local contractor, and civic leader. He served on the election board determining whether or not a bond issue to rebuild the pier would go on the ballot in 1912. (Photograph, M. Urashima, 2014) © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

   Brunton is a figure in a rumor published 92 years ago on this date by the Santa Ana Register, during the thick of the Prohibition years in the United States.  The Eighteenth Amendment mandating national Prohibition law began on January 16, 1920.  The myth of the whiskey-under-the-cornerstone grew legs on January 8, 1925.

ABOVE: Orange County Sheriffs dumping illegal booze in Santa Ana in 1932, with supervision from some determined looking ladies. (Photograph, Courtesy of Orange County Archives, March 31, 1932)

   The Huntington Beach board of trustees (city council) did not enact Ordinance #223 enforcing Prohibition until August, 1921, over a year and a half after the national law went into effect. The discovery of oil in 1920 may have slowed down the local enforcement, but by 1921---with hundreds of oil workers descending on the town---things were getting a bit rowdy.  By late 1921, Huntington Beach was technically dry (doctors could still prescribe whiskey for "medicinal purposes").

   To put it mildly, banning anything has never been too popular in Huntington Beach, from fireworks to plastic bags. Although the city has a history of imposing restrictions on alcohol--with the first ordinance regarding "public drunkedness" enacted in 1911 (#72), and many more in the years that followed--there doesn't appear to have been a fondness for Prohibition

   Private alcohol stockpiling was rampant prior to Prohibition taking effect in January 1920. So was bootlegging alcohol or moonshine after the law was enacted.  By 1925 and five years in, the American public, journalists, and humorists, were fairly certain Prohibition was not working.  People found creative ways around the law and alcohol was still available, leading humorist Will Rogers to remark, "Prohibition is better than no liquor at all."

LEFT: The birth of a myth. The Santa Ana Register published an unverified "story" that cement contractor James E. Brunton "put a full bottle of whisky under the cornerstone of the First Baptist church of this city" when it was constructed in 1913. (Santa Ana Register, January 8, 1925)

   The myth circulated by the Santa Ana Register in 1925 was that Brunton had placed a full bottle of whiskey under the cornerstone of the First Baptist Church when he laid the foundation in 1913, seven years before Prohibition. With tongue-firmly-in-cheek, the Santa Ana Register upped their game by adding that there also was a petition asking "that the Pacific ocean be  dried up".  It was the "wets" versus the "drys".

   There is a more serious back story to the Santa Ana Register poking fun with their whiskey-under-the-cornerstone story.

   The Santa Ana Register was hinting at a heated public feud between the pastor of the First Baptist Church, Rev. Luther A. Arthur, and the Huntington Beach Lions Club of which he had been a member. Rev. Arthur publicly stated he had found empty bottles of "Jamaica Ginger...smelling strongly of booze in vacant lots all over the town" and that he had also found a bottle in the back room of his church.  

RIGHT: Jamaica Ginger, a remedy for stomach ailments and cramps, had an alcohol content as high as 90 percent (Source: "Alcohol as Medicine and Poison", The Mob Museum,

   "When I found a bottle in the back room of this church, you bet I got hot," the Santa Ana Register reported the pastor's remarks on January 5, 1925.  Prior to this, Rev. Arthur had spoken to the Lions Club and, as he put it, had worked "against two of its members politically, because I believe them to be mixed up with booze."  

   In a small meeting, the Lions Club quietly removed him from their membership.  Then, Rev. Arthur made it loud.

LEFT: Rev. Luther A. Arthur delivered a fiery sermon against alcohol and the local Lions Club on the evening of Sunday, January 4, 1925. Angered that he was booted out of the Lions Club, his sermon revealed that he had brought a leader of the Ku Klux Klan to Huntington Beach. While Rev. Arthur denied the Klan's involvement, it was well known that Rev. Myers was the Exalted Cyclops of the Anaheim klavern. Myers had embarked on a series of public meetings at which he made unsubstantiated accusations against various community leaders. Three years later in 1928, Huntington Beach mayor Samuel Bowen would run successfully for office on an anti-Klan slate. ("Sin is centered in booze, asserts Huntington Beach parson in Sunday sermon", Santa Ana Register, January 5, 1925)

   In his January 4, 1925, sermon, Rev. Arthur asserted that Huntington Beach was the veritable capital of alcohol violations in Orange County.  To support his fight against alcohol---prior to being booted out of the Lions Club---Rev. Arthur had brought to town the Reverend Leon Myers, pastor of the First Christian Church of Anaheim 

   Myers had another role: he was the Exalted Cyclops of the Orange County klavern of the Ku Klux Klan. The Klan had taken an active position supporting Prohibition and Myers had been enlisting pastors and bible clubs to spread their message. 

RIGHT: The Santa Ana Register detailed the visit by Rev. Leon Myers, Exalted Cyclops of the Anaheim Ku Klux Klan and noted that ousted Huntington Beach newspaperman Frank Swann was departing to work for the San Jacinto Register, "owned by  Chester M. Kline, state senator and prominent klansman." The Santa Ana Register pointedly ran this article next to a feature, "School work to get Lions Club help", touting the Lions work on the betterment of Huntington Beach elementary schools. ("Ousted Lions glad to get out of club", Santa Ana Register, January 2, 1925)

   In November 1924, raids on suspected bootleggers had been organized by Dr. W.S. Montgomery with the California Anti-Saloon League and William Starbuck, a colleague of Rev. Myers. While not reported, it is inferred there may have been members of the Lions Club caught up in the raid and that Myers had instigated the raid. Hence, the action taken to remove Rev. Arthur from their membership.  

   The Lions Club--along with the Kiwanis, Rotary, Elks and the Anaheim Masonic Lodge--already had taken public positions against the Klan in 1924. 

   In a rather pointed editorial decision, the Santa Ana Register published the story on Rev. Arthur's sermon immediately adjacent to an article reporting "Prohibition made little headway in 1924 if arrests for drunkenness may be taken as an index".  It appears both the Santa Ana Register and the community had enough of this Prohibition nonsense, temperance vigilantes, and, enough of the Klan. It was the beginning of a push against the Klan, which had taken root in Anaheim and was attempting to get a toehold in other cities.

LEFT: The Orange County Grand Jury found in January 1925 that the "charges hurled by Rev. Leon Myers and William Starbuck at various public mass meetings were thus discounted to the vanishing point...merely hearsay and without corroboration." Starbuck was a rancher from Fullerton and its first druggist. ("Charges by leaders of Klan found groundless", Santa Ana Register, January 14, 1925)

   Less than a week after the Santa Ana Register ran its whiskey-under-the-cornerstone story, the Orange County Grand Jury published their findings that the charges made by Klan leaders at public meetings were groundless and had no merit.  The Santa Ana Register published the Grand Jury report to clear the names of those maligned.

   By February 1925, several Orange County newspapers refused to report on any Klan-related subjects, denying them coverage.  Anaheim passed a series of laws to remove the Klan's influence and organizing ability, including prohibiting the distribution of handbills.  But, it would take the rest of the 1920s and 1930s to effectively send the Klan back underground.

   There is no whiskey under the cornerstone of the First Baptist Church building in Huntington Beach. No need to dig that up.

Editor's note: The 18th Amendment was repealed with the ratification of the 21st Amendment on December 5, 1933.

© All rights reserved. No part of the Historic Huntington Beach blog may be reproduced or duplicated without prior written permission from the author and publisher, M. Adams Urashima.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

75 years ago: Armistice Day in Huntington Beach

ABOVE: The Armistice Day parade near the intersection of Olive Avenue and Main Street on November 11, 1942.  An honor roll plaque for the approximately 300 Huntington Beach men then serving in the military was located where Starbucks is today.  The International Surfing Museum at 411 Olive Avenue--then an emergency hospital--is near the top center of the photograph. This photograph matches the Armistice Day events described in the Santa Ana Register and City records from 1942. (Photograph courtesy of City of Huntington Beach archives)

   Seventy-five years ago this week, the impact of the second world war was significant on a coastal communities in California.  In Huntington Beach, the military took positions near the pier, with the Army taking residence in the clubhouse at Lake Park.  Civil defense volunteers took shifts watching the coast from the rooftop of the Memorial Hall.  Young men had left for war and those at home were determined to remember them.

   The Santa Ana Register described the plans for the 1942 Armistice Day parade as a patriotic event to which military from the Los Alamitos Navy Base, the Santa Ana Naval Air Station and the Marine base would be invited.  Armistice Day--now Veterans Day--had been a major event in Huntington Beach prior to 1942, with parades held on Main Street during the first world war.  The 1942 Armistice Day would honor the the Blue Star families with a public honor roll plaque.

LEFT: The Santa Ana Register described the planned events for Armistice Day 1942. (Santa Ana Register, "HB to honor service men Armistice Day", November 4, 1942)

   "Officers and men are to be invited from the Santa Ana Army Base and plans are being formulated to have one of the Army chaplains deliver the main address and the firing squad will be assigned to Huntington Beach by the United States Army," reported the Register. "Approximately 300 men from this city are now serving with the armed forces and their names have been inscribed upon the honor roll."

   "Mayor Thomas B. Talbert, in unveiling the plaque on Armistice day (sic), will present to the families of the men serving from Huntington Beach, the plaque honoring their sons, brothers and husbands," noted the Register

   It's the details of the photographs documenting the 1942 Armistice Day parade that tell a story of the Huntington Beach of 75 years ago, with a few landmarks that remain that help us retrace the steps and remember.

ABOVE: An enlargement of the area near the honor roll of men serving in the military, as of November 1942.  Mayor Thomas B. Talbert (second from right, holding hat) was the keynote speaker, with Chamber of Commerce president George Wheat (far right) acting as master of ceremonies. (Photograph snip courtesy of City of Huntington Beach archives)

ABOVE: The building that today is home to the International Surfing Museum was, in 1942, the Huntington Beach Emergency Hospital, referred to in the City's historic resources survey as the "Dr. Hawes Medical Building", which had been built six years earlier in 1936. (Photograph snip courtesy of City of Huntington Beach archives)

ABOVE: The Huntington Beach High School band, led by Everett Crosby, joined the military for the Armistice Day parade in 1942.  As the band and military units approached the honor roll plaque, they formed a giant "V" for the ceremony. (Photograph snip courtesy of City of Huntington Beach archives)

ABOVE: Just past the Huntington Beach Emergency Hospital, an automobile service station and garage at the corner of 5th Street and Olive Avenue, where Pristine Motorsports is located today. Oil derricks fill the background in the oil field north of the downtown. (Photograph snip courtesy of City of Huntington Beach archives) 

ABOVE: Among the debris in the 5th Street alley near Olive Avenue, a Cole Bros. Circus sign.  The Santa Ana Register reported the semi-annual arrival of the Cole Bros. Circus in October 1942, promising "clowns, sawdust rings, and pink lemonade...The big show will arrive here from Hollywood, a mile-long trainload of bespangled wonders and marvels, with three great herds of elephants, a trio of Asiatic pangurs (big cats), over 250 horses and ponies, a giant chimpanzee and a flock of baby animals in a big double menagerie that circus officials say would make Noah jealous if he were alive to see it." One of the largest circus organizations in the West, the Cole Bros. Circus set up a 26-tent camp at South Main and Pomona in Santa Ana, employed a crew of 650, and provided two performances daily under a "big top" which seated nearly 10,000 people. (Photograph snip courtesy of City of Huntington Beach archives) 

LEFT: Off to the side, a boy runs toward a trio of boys in overalls, a popular and practical article of clothing during World War II, a time when advertisements emphasized frugality and the work ethic needed to win the war. Women also wore overalls or coveralls, as they entered the work force to replace men who had left for the military. (Photograph snip courtesy of City of Huntington Beach archives)

On November 12, 1942, the Santa Ana Register reported "simple but impressive was yesterday's 11 a.m. Armistice Day ceremony dedicating the Victory Plaque at the corner of Main Street and Olive Avenue.  Nearly 1500 people witnessed the colorful, snappy ritual directed by the Huntington Beach chamber of commerce and carried out by a score of top ranking military officials and 300 U.S. Army, Navy and Marine corps in dress uniform." 

   There was a moment of silent tribute, followed by "Retreat" played by an Army bugler. The Huntington Beach High School band then played the Star Spangled Banner, followed by a salute by the Army firing squad.  After the ceremony, the procession continued down Main Street to Ocean Boulevard (Pacific Coast Highway), then up Fifth Street to city hall, which then was located at the Old Civic Center near where Triangle Park and the Main Street Library are today.

   What happened to the honor roll "Victory Plaque" dedicated on Armistice Day in 1942? Was it moved to the Memorial Hall at the Old Civic Center, demolished in 1974? We hope someone out there knows.

ABOVE: The Armistice Day ceremonies dedicating the "Victory Plaque" at the corner of Olive Avenue and Main Street on November 11, 1942, attended by a reported 1,500 residents and 300 military personnel. ("Impressive Ceremonies Mark Dedication of Service Plaque", Santa Ana Register, November 12, 1942)

© All rights reserved. No part of the Historic Huntington Beach blog may be reproduced or duplicated without prior written permission from the author and publisher, M. Adams Urashima.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Newland House: Saving our pioneer history

ABOVE: The Newland House Museum after a rain. Once endangered and in disrepair, it was a decades-long community effort to save and restore the 1898 structure as part of the development agreement with the Newland Shopping Center.  As of 2017, the recent refurbishment of the Newland Shopping Center reflects design elements complementing the National Register of Historic Places-listed house museum. (Photograph, M. Urashima. October 24, 2016) © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED     

   History takes a long time to make. And, a long time to save.  In the case of this local and national historical landmark, it took decades of community volunteer effort--and near loss to neglect, vandalism and disrepair--to save a historic site now considered a treasure.
   It was 1964 when local residents began voicing a concern about the Newland House, calling for it to be saved and restored to its former glory as the headquarters of the 1,000-acre Newland Rancho.  In the fast-paced, mid 20th-Century building boom, the community discussion is reminiscent of most historic preservation efforts: What is historic?  Why did the original owners sell it?  Should the Newland House be demolished to allow for the construction of a new shopping center?  Why should historic preservation be part of community planning?

   The Newland family--no longer farming or ranching--had already sold their property and, in 1964, it was owned by Signal Oil & Gas Company.  The Huntington Beach Chamber of Commerce manager, William Gallienne, advocated moving the house to get it out of the way of progress.   

RIGHT: Mayor Don Shipley with Miss Huntington Beach Rosemary Southward, in front of the Newland House in 1964. Shipley advocated for its historic preservation.  (Los Angeles Times, August 3, 1964)

   Mayor Don Shipley--for whom the Shipley Nature Center is named--advocated working with the property owner and developer to save the Newland House and make it a centerpiece of a public park site.  Shipley acknowledged the challenges of restoration, preservation and ongoing stewardship, but advocated his vision for historic preservation.  

LEFT: The Newland House with its outbuildings and the original Newland barn in 1948.  The outbuildings included a bunk house for ranch labor and a sizable barn that almost dwarfed the house.  The barn on the property today is not original and was constructed to provide event space. (City of Huntington Beach archives, 1948)

   Shipley told the Los Angeles Times in 1964 that the Newland House "would make an excellent historical tie for the City".  Shipley's unflagging advocacy of the elements that are important to retain in community planning--history, open space, natural landscapes--led to him being honored in perpetuity at the Shipley Nature Center in 1974.  

   The Shipley Nature Center--off Goldenwest Street--explains on their website, "Dr. Shipley’s vision was to have a place which reflected what California was 100 years that children would be able to see what Huntington Beach may have been like before intense development began..."  The Shipley Nature Center is today a center for community and school educational programming, and a respite in an increasingly urban environment that has removed most of Huntington Beach's early history.

LEFT: Delbert "Bud" Higgins in front of the Newland House. Behind him, the exterior paint is peeling and windows are either open or boarded up. Higgins advocated for saving the community's pioneer history and the pre-history of California's indigenous people. (Los Angeles Times, April 27, 1976)

   Twelve years after the first article, the Los Angeles Times published another article about the grassroots historic preservation effort to save the Newland House.  It featured a photograph of Delbert "Bud" Higgins, a long-time local and community historian, standing in front of the Newland House again.  The Newland House looked more neglected, but those involved in the preservation effort refused to give up.  By then, community residents had formed the Huntington Beach Historical Society and began holding fundraising events to generate funds and friends.

   Higgins--who, with his brother, Gordie, began making the first redwood surfboards in Huntington Beach after watching Duke Kahanmoku and "the Hawaiians" surf Corona del Mar in the 1920s--had seen radical changes to the Huntington Beach historical and cultural landscape in his lifetime.  He talked about the pre-history of the indigenous people of California and the 19th-Century pioneer settlement history represented by the Newland House.

   "Indians lived on this mesa more than a thousand years ago," Higgins, who was Huntington Beach's first lifeguard and first fire chief, told the Los Angeles Times, after picking up a clam shell in the yard of the Newland House while taking the reporter on a tour. "They'd go down into the tidal basin mud flats below, gather clams and cook them."

RIGHT: An example of the Native Californian basketry that was part of the Newland family collection of Mary Juanita DeLapp Newland.  The majority of the collection is held by the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana.  The Works Progress Administration helped with an archaeological investigation of the Newland House property in the 1930s, resulting in "two wagon loads" of artifacts removed from the mesa and "housed in Santa Ana", according to local historian Bud Higgins.  Some artifacts were reported by the Times as dating to 5,000 B.C. In 1980, another archaeological investigation documented a native American burial on the property. (Image, Los Angeles Times, June 29, 1980) 

  A major breakthrough came to the historic preservation effort in April 1974, when Signal Landmark Homes donated the Newland House and land to the community for a historical public park, as mitigation for their housing development.  The original plans were to encircle the house with a retail center.  After community objections, Signal Landmark changed their plans and lowered an office buildng by ten feet to retain the Newland House's view  of the Pacific Ocean and promised that the retail center's architectural features would complement the historic structure.

LEFT: The Newland House in 1970, missing an exterior wall.  The old wooden garage structure--which no longer exists--can be seen in the yard. (Photograph, City of Huntington Beach archives, circa 1970)

   A dozen years after the historic preservation effort was initiated in 1964, the community was rallying behind the effort.  Students at three local junior high schools holding a bike-a-thon as a fundraiser.  Descendants of the Newland family offered support by donating a few artifacts, historical ephemera, and helping locate furnishings to re-create the dining room as they remembered it.  

   Very little of the original furnishings remained, as family members did not realize their home would be considered historic.  Community members scoured antique markets and asked for donations of period-appropriate items to furnish the house museum.

RIGHT: A table set for pioneer holidays inside the Newland House dining room.  The Huntington Beach Historical Society and Huntington Beach's Historic Wintersburg Preservation Task Force will roll the clock back 100 years again at their fourth annual "Holidays in Huntington Beach" at the Newland House on Friday, December 1.  This year, it will be 1917! (Photograph, M. Urashima, November 30, 2014) © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED    

   Like most historic preservation efforts, the call to save the Newland House was initiated by people other than the family whose history it represents.  Historic preservationists took the larger view that the property's significance was important to the community and region, and that the community would undertake saving it.

   The Newland family had ten children, two of whom were born in the house.  The family had sold the property and had not lived in the home for more than 20 years.  The Los Angeles Times interviewed one of the descendants born in the house, Helen Newland Tarbox, in 1976.

LEFT: The Newland House, as it appeared prior to its stabilization and preservation, with barbed wire security fencing and in disrepair. (Photograph, City of Huntington Beach archives, October 15, 1976)

   Helen Newland Tarbox--then 75 years old and living in Newport Beach--remarked, "More power to the Historical Society! What they are doing is great. They've had a hard time of it with no city money. It's going to take time to do the restoration, but they are going to do it."

   Volunteers from Orange Coast College re-roofed the Newland House, while volunteer carpenters and electricians worked to restore the structure.  A crew from the Huntington Beach Fire Department installed a flagpole on the distinctive cupola.  The second floor of the Main Street Branch Library was used to store historical items, while the Newland House was undergoing stabilization and preservation work.  

   Higgins told the Los Angeles Times that the original estimated cost for the historic preservation effort was far less than projected, due to community volunteers and donations.  Once the historic preservation effort was permitted and the project had site control, everybody became a preservationist.  The effort to save local history brought residents together, rolling up their sleeves to help as a point of community pride and civic contribution.

RIGHT: By 1980, over fifteen years after the historic preservation effort began, the Los Angeles Times recounted the Newland House journey through neglect, blight, vandalism (which cannibalized historic fixtures), and the pressures of urbanization.  Members of the community persisted in their work to save the structure for future generations. (Los Angeles Times, June 29, 1980)

   Huntington Beach City Councilman Ted Bartlett told the Los Angeles Times in 1976, at the height of the country's bicentennial, "I'm 100% behind the society's restoration work.  I'm going to donate my money, just like the others."  

   Like Don Shipley, Ted Bartlett's leadership regarding the retention of historical places and open spaces in the city's planning and development prompted a grateful community to honor him in a permanent manner.  The natural wilderness area behind the Newland House--Bartlett Park--is named after Bartlett, who served five four-year terms on the city council.

LEFT: Alice Jumper, a member of the Huntington Beach Historical Society, inside the Newland dining room in 1980.  She is one of the many volunteers who donated countless hours to save the Newland House, now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. She described seeing the house from Beach Boulevard and stopping to take a closer look.  By 1980, Jumper said she was "up to my ears" in her volunteer efforts to help restore the Newland House.  When asked why she cared so much for a place to which she had no familial connection--a question often asked of historic preservationists--she told the Los Angeles Times, "how do you describe love?"  (Los Angeles Times, June 29, 1980) 

   By 1982, the 19.5-acre Newland Shopping Center had opened and was 75-percent leased.   The City of Huntington Beach committed $400,000 for the stabilization and preservation of the Newland House, including associated infrastructure for water and power to the property.  Community members had contributed more in their volunteer labor and donations.

    In 1985, the then 87-year-old  Newland House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  

LEFT: A new addition to the Newland Shopping Center in 2017, Miguel's Homestyle Mexican Food includes an artful rendering of the National Register-listed Newland House as part of its architectural decor.  The rendering reminds of local residents and visitors of Huntington Beach's agricultural past.  Miguel's is located on ground once occupied by the chile pepper dehydrating warehouses of Masami Sasaki, who was known as the "chile pepper king" and one of the largest chile pepper processors in Southern California prior to World War II. (Photograph, M. Urashima. July 2017)  © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

    The City of Huntington Beach's financial commitment to the preservation effort led to the construction of a new barn on the Newland House property and the restoration of landscape for a cumulative bid of $272,733.  The barn was built to provide public event space to generate revenue to support the Newland House property.  Today, the "Newland Barn" is a popular site for weddings, birthday parties and other events, and is booked months in advance.  

   Currently, the barn--a single, 1,100-square foot structure with a "patio" area of 22 square feet--generates an average of $53,000 annually, per revenue records provided by the City of Huntington Beach for the years 2000 through 2014.  During those years alone--not including revenue for the mid 1980s through 1990s--the Newland Barn generated close to three-quarters of a million dollars for the City.   The City's Community Services department now holds a lottery to determine who gets reservations on available dates.

RIGHT: A view from Bartlett Park of the Newland House and the "Newland Barn", a new structure constructed in 1983 to provide event space a the Newland House Museum.  The 1,100 square-foot Newland Barn has generated well over a million dollars for the City since its opening. (Photograph, City of Huntington Beach, circa 1986) 

   The City of Huntington Beach's investment in the Newland House property has been repaid many times over.  The ongoing maintenance and continual improvement at the Newland House Museum is born by the Huntington Beach Historical Society, who also provide historical tours, train docents and provide events at the Museum.  The Society improved the property with the back yard gazebo and the reconstruction of the historic water tower, as well as restoration of the garden.  Each year, the Huntington Beach Historical Society awards a "Newland Rose" to community members who make contributions to the preservation of local history.

LEFT: The garden on the south side of the Newland House contains bricks rescued from the demolition of the Holly Sugar Factory, a 1911 sugar processing plant near the original Huntington Beach Township, once located off what is now Garfield Avenue and Holly Lane. Local residents had wanted to save the pioneer-era Holly Sugar Factory for adaptive reuse; it was demolished with little warning on a Saturday. (Photograph, Newland House garden, M. Urashima. November 30, 2014) © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
   Eighty-one years after the incorporation of Huntington Beach, the City appointed Michael Mudd as the new cultural affairs director, following a historic resources survey in 1986.  Mudd told the Los Angeles Times that "cultural concerns and historic conservation haven't evolved in Huntington Beach."  He advocated devoting some City investment to organize the various historical organizations and create a long-term plan for preserving local history.  Alas, his position did not last.

   The Newland House rose garden was dedicated in 1987 and grew over the years through the work of volunteers.  The garden's present-day design was developed with input from the Pacific Coast Archaeological Society in order to avoid archaeological sensitivities on the grounds. 

RIGHT: Newland House trustee Virginia Whipple on the brick walkway of the rose garden in 1996. (Los Angeles Times, November 23, 1996) 

   In 1996, the garden was renovated by the Master Gardeners of Orange County as a volunteer contribution.  The garden has been used for master gardening classes and cooking demonstrations, and is in keeping with the 19th-Century intent of Mary Newland to be both useful as a kitchen garden and a beautiful spot to linger.

LEFT: Darrell Rivers, president of the Huntington Beach Historical Society,  in a photo frame at Holidays in Huntington Beach 1916, an annual joint event with the Historic Wintersburg Preservation Task Force.  The event recreates the community's holiday celebrations of 100 years ago.  It will be 1917 at this year's Holidays in Huntington Beach, on Friday, December 1. (Photograph, Darrell Rivers at the Newland House Museum. M. Urashima. December 2, 2016) © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Present day 
   The Huntington Beach Historical Society--in addition to organizing the annual Civil War Days in Central Park, along with other events at the Newland House Museum--continues to provide the stewardship, ongoing maintenance and improvements for the Newland House and garden.  

   The lasting legacy of the Newland family--as well as the efforts of community volunteers who have worked over half a century to save, restore, and maintain this local gem--continue to provide a sense of place and heritage for Huntington Beach, as well as a place for local celebrations.  It is, as Don Shipley predicted in 1964, an "historical tie" that binds our community together.

ABOVE: One of the many cultural events at the Newland House reflecting local heritage, Dia los Muertos, in October 2014.  A group of event-goers, with Huntington Beach Historical Society president Darrell Rivers (far right in top hat) flashed a "W" for Historic Wintersburg, a present day historic preservation effort in Huntington Beach. (Photograph, Dia los Muertos at Newland House Museum. M. Urashima October 2014) © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The Newland House Museum is located at 19820 Beach Boulevard, in Huntington Beach, California, in the Newland Shopping Center, and is open to the public. Call 714-962-5777 for more information and hours.  The Newland House barn rental information through the City of Huntington Beach can be found at

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