Walnut Grove Japanese-American Historic District

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Walnut Grove Japanese-American Historic District
Kawamura Barber Shop on B Street in the Japanese-American Historic District
Kawamura Barber Shop on B Street in the Japanese-American Historic District
Walnut Grove Japanese-American Historic District is located in California
Walnut Grove Japanese-American Historic District
LocationApproximately bounded by Winnie St, Tyler St, C St and River Rd.
Nearest cityWalnut Grove
Coordinates38°14′36″N 121°30′44″W / 38.243202°N 121.512085°W / 38.243202; -121.512085Coordinates: 38°14′36″N 121°30′44″W / 38.243202°N 121.512085°W / 38.243202; -121.512085
Area5 acres (2.0 ha)
Architectural styleCraftsman
NRHP reference No.90000483
CHISL No.1631
Added to NRHPMarch 22, 1990

The Walnut Grove Japanese-American Historic District is a 5-acre (2.0 ha) designated U.S. Historic District in Walnut Grove, California. The bulk of Walnut Grove's Japantown was built in 1915–16 following the 1915 fire which destroyed Walnut Grove's Chinatown. Japantown was depopulated during the forced incarceration of Japanese and Japanese-Americans following the issuance of Executive Order 9066 in 1942, and was re-filled by Filipino and Mexican laborers, who took over work in local orchards and farms during the war. Although the original residents returned to Walnut Grove following the end of World War II, most left within a few years, and the district, with some exceptions, to this day retains the original architecture and style dating back to the 1916 reconstruction.


Following the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882, the pace of immigration from Japan increased rapidly. In Walnut Grove, the first Japanese-owned business (a noodle shop) was started in 1896 to serve local immigrants.[1] The local Japanese immigrants called the area around Walnut Grove Kawashimo ("downriver"), in reference to travel through the Sacramento Delta area.[2] The earliest Japantown in Walnut Grove was established in the northern section of the existing Walnut Grove Chinatown.[1] On October 7, 1915, fire swept through the Chinatown district in Walnut Grove, including Japantown, and shifting winds were credited with confining the damage to the Dye Brothers-owned "Oriental quarter" and not destroying the remainder of the town.[3]

Local residents of Japanese ancestry rebuilt Kawashimo one block north in 1916, on land owned by Alex Brown, a prominent local landowner and banker.[1][2] Unlike other local nihonmachi, Asians were credited with designing and building the new Kawashimo,[1] with some coming from as far away as San Francisco to participate in the rebuilding.[2] Many of the new buildings were two-story structures, with residences on the upper floor for families operating businesses out of the ground floor.[4] During the 1920s, Kawashimo developed into a local hub for Japanese residents in the Sacramento River Delta area, with its commercial district serving over 100 local families by the 1930s.[2]

Nearly 400 American-born children lived in the area by 1920, with some attending a local Japanese language school;[2] California allowed the establishment of segregated schools in 1921,[5] legitimizing the development of "Oriental Schools" in Florin, Courtland, Isleton, and Walnut Grove.[2] Schools were not officially desegregated until 1947.[6][7]

The district was forcibly depopulated in the wake of Executive Order 9066[1][4] and repopulated with Filipino and Mexican laborers during World War II.[1][4] Three buildings were destroyed by fire during the war and not replaced, and some of those sites later hosted community gardens.[4] After the end of the war, many of the original residents returned but most did not remain in Walnut Grove, attracted by opportunities in nearby cities.[4] Several businesses remained under the ownership and operation of their founding families as of 1990, including Kawamura Barber Shop and Hayashi Market.[4] The historic district remains architecturally accurate to period photographs dating from the 1920s.[4]

See also[edit]

  • Locke, California which grew from a Chinese community established in the wake of the 1915 Walnut Grove Chinatown fire


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Walnut Grove Japanese-American Historic District: Walnut Grove, California". National Park Service. 2014. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Historic Japantowns: Walnut Grove". California Japantowns. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
  3. ^ "$100,000 Fire Wipes Out Walnut Grove Chinatown". Sacramento Union. 8 October 1915. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Maniery, Mary L. (13 February 1990). National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: Walnut Grove Japanese/American Historic District or Walnut Grove Japantown (Report). United States Department of the Interior: National Park Service. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
  5. ^ California State Assembly. "An act to amend section one thousand six hundred sixty-two of the Political Code, relating to elementary schools". Forty-fourth Session of the Legislature. Statutes of California. State of California. Ch. 685 p. 1160. Third—The governing body of the school district shall have power to exclude children of filthy or vicious habits, or children suffering from contagious or infectious diseases, and also to establish separate schools for Indian children and for children of Chinese, Japanese or Mongolian parentage. When such separate schools are established, Indian children or children of Chinese, Japanese, or Mongolian parentage must not be admitted into any other school.
  6. ^ Waugh, Isami Arifuku; Yamato, Alex; Okamura, Raymond Y. (December 1988). "Japanese Americans in California: Historic Sites, Segregated Schools". Five Views: An Ethnic Historic Site Survey for California. Sacramento, California: California Department of Parks and Recreation, Office of Historic Preservation. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
  7. ^ California State Assembly. "An act to repeal Sections 8003 and 8004 of the Education Code, relating to the establishment of separate schools for certain races". Fifty-seventh Session of the Legislature. Statutes of California. State of California. Ch. 737 p. 1792.

External links[edit]