Cottage #34 – The Cultural Center

DSC04231During 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 and as the meeting site for CCA’s historic tours, the Cultural Center serves as a reminder to what once was and the people who have helped shape Crystal Cove.

To learn more about Cottage #34, join Crystal Cove Alliance Founder & Director of External Affairs Laura Davick on Sunday, September 20th, at 12p.m. in the Cultural Center, for a two-hour walking tour of the Historic District. For more information, click here for a printable schedule.

Then: View of the Cove from the south with the schoolhouse still in its original position, visible in the upper left corner
Now: The Cultural Center overlooking the ocean from atop the bluff
In-text image: Interior of the Cultural Center modelled after the original schoolhouse design

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