Fifth Annual Preservation Celebration 2004
We honored Japantown neighborhood activists for preserving the culture and architecture of San Joseís Nihonmachi, one of only three remaining Japantowns in the US. It has survived due to the deep commitment and hard work of community activists who we will be recognizing on this evening. As we do every year, we also marked Founder's Day, when San Jose was incorporated as the oldest civilian settlement in California.
San Joseís Japantown is bounded roughly by First St., Jackson St., Seventh St. and Empire St., and originated in the late 19th century as a home for Japanese and Chinese immigrant bachelors who had come to the Santa Clara Valley for agricultural work. It expanded greatly during the agricultural boom of the early twentieth century. Most Japantowns collapsed during the forced internment of their residents during World War II, but in San Jose, local residents returning from Heart Mountain, Wyoming, began a rebuilding program that rededicated their nihonmachi as the center of Japanese-American community life in the South Bay. Its businesses continue to serve the Japanese-American community and the broader people of San Jose today.
There were Japanese food, drinks, decorations and historical exhibits. We raised $32,000 for PAC*SJís work.
The food was provided at a generous discount by Catered Too, run by PAC*SJ Lifetime Member Greg Casella. It was served by caterers in Japanese traditional dress, and the whole room was decorated with white lanterns provided by Patt Curia. There were 200 guests at this 5th Founderís Day Celebration. It was a wonderful chance for preservationists, historians and community members to meet and talk about the past year, and about future preservation challenges.
The dedicated Celebration Committee, including Joe Melehan, Patt Curia, Ellen Garboske, Bonnie Montgomery, Shaun Welch and many others, put together an exciting selection of high-quality auction items, including the best-selling German Dinner and Downtown Tour with Alan Hess (both purchased by Mike Reandeau), and tours of Japantown and Hakone Gardens (both bought by Bonnie Montgomery). Antiques and collectibles, like the chandelier below were also available at bargain prices.
Some of the honorees for the Preservation Hall of Fame. The honorees, not all of whom could attend, were: P. J. & Roy Hirabayashi, the Honorable Michael Honda, Dr. Tokio Ishikawa & Mrs. Keiko Ishikawa (posthumous), I. K. Ishimatsu (posthumous), Leslie Masunaga, Ken Matsumoto, the Honorable Norm Mineta, the Peckham family, Eiichi Sakauye, Dave Tatsuno, Katsumi Tokunaga, Yoshihiro Uchida, Senator John Vasconcellos, Jimi Yamaichi and Dr. Joe Yasutake.
JAMsj donated an exhibit on the history of Japanese Americans in the Santa Clara Valley
The menu included sushi and other Japanese specialities.
The live auction included gorgeous antique furniture, like this hutch donated by Gloria Sciara.
All photographs by Shaun Welch.