Cottage #34 – The Cultural Center

During the 1920s and 30s, Japanese sharecroppers farmed the Crystal Cove land that once belonged to the Irvine Ranch.  Looking to introduce their children to the same cultural traditions that they experienced growing up, the families came together to build a schoolhouse for their children to attend on Saturdays. Community parties, kendo demonstrations and Buddhist services were some of the immersive events that parents wanted to expose their children to.

When World War II broke out, everything changed. The Japanese families were sent to internment camps and never again returned to Crystal Cove. The schoolhouse sat empty and gathered dust until 1947, when the Kuechel family relocated the cottage to where it stands today on the bluffs of the Historic District. The cottage passed from family to family over the years until the land was eventually sold to the State of California in 1979.

Today, Cottage #34 pays homage to Crystal Cove’s diverse past with its most recent incarnation as the Cultural Center. With historic panels spread throughout, the Cultural Center serves as a reminder to what once was and the people who have helped shape Crystal Cove.

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