Group preserves historical building in Walnut Grove


Dear Editor,

In November 2011, the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency finished the Rehabilitation Project on the Walnut Grove Gakuen. The building is on the National Register of Historic Buildings.

The structure was built in 1927 by Issei pioneers to provide a place for their children to learn Japanese language and culture. As Japanese Americans were returning to Walnut Grove from “the camps,” the building housed a few families while they re-established their lives.

Over the past few years the historic gakuen has suffered the ravages of termites, wet weather, and the blazing Central California sun. The building has been protected and maintained by the Delta Japanese Community Association, which is mostly made up of descendants of the original families who built it.

There are few Japanese American families living near the old school now, and financial support to rehabilitate it is scarce. Mr. Steve Hiromoto and Virgil Norman contacted Mr. Kim King, a local community leader. He saw the problem and contacted the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency to see if a grant was available. Sacramento County Supervisor Don Nottoli saw the need and supported the grant request.

The grant was awarded and the old gakuen, so dear to the hearts of Japanese Americans now scattered across America, has been rehabilitated. Thanks to project champion Kim King; Supervisor Don Nottoli; Steve Hiromoto and Virgil Norman; and the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency, the building stands strong and beautiful again. A part of the Japanese American heritage in the Sacramento has been preserved.

Roy Mayhugh
Delta Japanese Community
Walnut Grove, Calif.

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