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September 13, 2009
EIR Available on Miraflores Housing Development,
June 20, 2009
SF Chronicle Profiles Miraflores Site, November 25,
Richmond Seeks Developer for Miraflores, November 8,
Reminder of Miraflores Scoping, September 25, 2007
Our Neighbors: West County
Japanese flower-industry gets its due
By Chris Treadway
Contra Costa Times
Posted: 09/25/2009 09:38:05 PM PDT
Updated: 09/25/2009 09:38:06 PM PDT
AN OVERLOOKED ASPECT of
local history will get its due Saturday when the El
Cerrito Historical Society hosts a program and
exhibition honoring the pioneer Japanese families who
settled in West County and built a flower-growing
industry that thrived through most of the 20th century.
The exhibit is "Remembering
Our Local Japanese Heritage," which opens with a
reception and program at 5 p.m. at the Open House Senior
Center, 6500 Stockton Ave., behind the El Cerrito
There are only remnants of the nursery-greenhouse
complexes along San Pablo Avenue on the Richmond-El
Cerrito border representing one of the earliest large
settlements and commercial concerns in the area.
The nurseries were established by Japanese families
who began settling in the sparsely populated area as
early as 1905 and built a thriving trade growing roses,
carnations and other plants.
"It's certainly true there were many Japanese towns
around California and across the west," said Tom Panas
of the historical society. "But ours has been completely
ignored. There's a lot of story to be told there."
The community in El Cerrito-Richmond grew over time
to include 17 nurseries, as well as a Japanese school
A second group of nurseries flourished in what is now
North Richmond and San Pablo, led by the arrival of the
Nabeta family, who began growing roses near Brookside
Drive in 1900.
The flower trade prospered and even weathered well
the Great Depression, but the businesses were closed or
taken over by others when Japanese families on the west
coast were interned during World War II. Most but not
all of the families resumed their nursery trade after
Many of the families have stayed in the area even
after foreign competition forced their nurseries to
close in later decades, but as time takes its toll on
the oldest family members the historical society felt
some urgency in giving them recognition, Panas said.
The exhibit is being presented by the society with
support from El Cerrito Senior Services, the National
Japanese American Historical Society, the National Park
Service and the Sakura Kai program.
Saturday's program will include taiko drumming and
song and dance by students in the Japanese-language
class at El Cerrito High School. Members of the
pioneering families have been invited, and each family
will be presented with a commemorative book of
photographs the historical society has created.
The exhibit will continue through Nov. 20 and is open
to the public during the senior center's regular hours.
For hours, call the center at 510-599-7677.
WEST COUNTY NOTES: St.
Jerome Catholic Church invites everyone to its Festival
and Street Fair from noon to 5 p.m. today at Carmel and
Curry avenues in El Cerrito. The event includes dancing,
singing, music, food and drink, games, arts and crafts,
wine tasting, silent auction, cakes and baked goods,
raffles, a roulette wheel and more.
If you haven't been already, today is the final
performance of "Rivets," the musical about the World War
II Richmond shipyards being performed in the hull of the
SS Red Oak Victory. Showtime is 3 p.m. and tickets are
$20 general, $15 students and seniors.
Congratulations to the students at Richmond High School,
who came through with 44 pints of blood during an
American Red Cross donation event on campus Sept. 4. The
Red Cross says that each pint of blood could help save
the lives of up to three people.
During the 2008-09 school year
there were three blood drives at Richmond High that
brought in more than 180 pints of blood.
Reach Chris Treadway at 510-262-2784