LOS ANGELES — The Manzanar Committee 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 to Public Storage.
Historic Wintersburg, the former site of a late 1800s Japanese American farming community, was named as one of America’s Most Endangered Places in 2014 and 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,” Embrey continued. “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 nation’s history can have,” he said. “The economic, social and cultural benefits to the Owens Valley (site of the Manzanar National Historic Site) 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,” Embrey concluded. “The Huntington Beach City Council should act accordingly and without delay.”