Exploring the Bay Area

Wing's Chinese Restaurant

Wing’s Chinese Restaurant

Last week I explored San Jose’s Nihonmachi (Japantown). It is one of only three surviving historic Japantowns in California. The district was developed in the late 1800s by Issei (first generation) Japanese immigrants, and here they found the cultural support, employment, shelter, goods, and the social connections that were necessary for their transition to living in the United States.
San Jose Japantown

San Jose Japantown

Walking through the district I was able to experience the workmanship and design of buildings that have been part of the district for many decades. Of most interest to me was the Issei Memorial Building, a colonial building constructed in 1910 and originally named the Kuwabara Hospital after the first resident physician, Dr. Taisuke Kuwabara, who practiced and lived in the building. Many decades later, the building still serves the San Jose community as the home of the San Jose Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), San Jose Taiko offices, and the Contemporary Asian Theater Scene.
Issei Memorial Building

Issei Memorial Building

Midweek, I attended an event hosted by the California Historical Society for the launching of a new Historypin project that honors LGBTQ places in California called California Pride: Mapping LGBTQ Histories. Those that attended were able to share memorable stories about community, friends, and moments that made California LGBTQ history. Once pinned to the website, to the online archive, the pictures, stories, and memories of California Pride will help bring awareness to the many powerful and diverse stories that make up LGBTQ history and spaces throughout the state. Visiting San Jose and attending the launch for the Historypin project has truly informed my ongoing research on properties associated with minority and underrepresented groups that may be eligible for National Historic Landmark. I’m excited to keep the research going!
Historypin Project Launch

Historypin Project Launch

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