This house is significant due to its association with Fumiko Hayashida, who was the subject of a famous photograph symbolizing the incarceration of Japanese Americans after the issue of Executive Order 9066 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1942. The house also reflects the economic and social success of Japanese Americans after their return from the internment camps.
This single-family residence is located in Beacon Hill, near Jefferson Park. The house was constructed in 1910. From 1934 through 1943, Anton N. and Eva Endress occupied the house. Mr. Endress worked at his family’s business, the Three Brothers Dye Works, located nearby on Beacon Avenue. The 1942 Polk Directory lists William R. Woelke as also residing at this house with the Endresses. After the Endresses left the following year, Mr. Woelke became the primary occupant and remained in the house until the early 1950s. By 1953, Saburo and Fumiko Hayashida lived in the house. Mr. Hayashida was an employee at Boeing during this time period. Fumiko Hayashida remains in the house today.
Fumiko Hayashida was born on Bainbridge Island, Washington, and eventually married Bellevue-born Saburo;together, they lived and worked on a strawberry farm on Bainbridge Island. In 1942, the Hayashidas were incarcerated after the issue of Executive Order 9066 by the Federal Government. As a result, the West Coast commander U.S. Army, Lt. General DeWitt, issued Civilian Exclusion Order No. 1, which ordered the removal of all Japanese Americans from Bainbridge Island, due to their supposed military threat. This was then extended to the entire West Coast. As Fumiko was leaving Bainbridge, a newspaper photographer snapped a shot of her holding her daughter. This photograph came to symbolize the injustice inflicted upon the Japanese Americans that were incarcerated during World War II. The Hayashidas were transported to Manzanar camp in California. When they returned to their land in 1945, their farm was no longer suitable for growing. Saburo applied for a job at Boeing, and they eventually moved to Seattle. Fumiko is the oldest surviving Japanese American taken from Bainbridge Island. In 2006, she testified before a House subcommittee for the National Parks, explaining why Congress should designate a piece of land on Bainbridge Island as a national monument. Fumiko Hayashida still occupies this house today.
Substantial residential and commercial development in Beacon Hill occurred when a transportation corridor connecting the Rainier Valley to Downtown Seattle and Seattle’s industrial district was constructed along Rainier Avenue. Development in the valley was facilitated by logging during the 1880s, the operation of the Rainier Valley Electric Railway in the 1890s, and the Jackson and Dearborn Street re-grades in the 1900s. Milling was the primary commercial industry during the last part of the nineteenth century although some agricultural activity existed. As residential development increased, Rainier Avenue gradually became the principal commercial corridor connecting the residential neighborhoods of South Seattle to downtown, the International District, and Seattle’s industrial districts. World War II brought additional building growth related to the wartime industry, as well as the influx of defense workers to nearby Boeing and the Duwamish shipyards.
Beacon Hill has historically been a more economically and socially diverse neighborhood than Mount Baker to its east. There was less enforcement of residential deed restrictions and a greater availability of smaller, more affordable housing. One of the first land owners of Beacon Hill was George Riley, an African American from Portland, Oregon. George Riley, organizer of the Workingmen’s Joint Stock Association in Portland, arranged the organization’s purchase of property on Beacon Hill, which was platted in 1871 as Riley’s Addition. Furthermore, the northern end of Rainier Valley, which was originally settled by German immigrants, acquired the historical nickname “Garlic Gulch” during the early twentieth century due to the growing strength and predominance of its Italian American community.
In addition to the Italian American community in northern Rainier Valley, the Japanese American community grew and expanded southwards to Beacon Hill during the first two decades of the twentieth century as a result of relatively less restrictive immigration and exclusion laws. While the 1889 Alien Land Laws excluded non-citizens from owning land, they were able to purchase property under the names of their second generation family members. When the Immigration Act of 1924 inhibited further Japanese immigration, they were still able to continue expanding their families and businesses in Seattle. However, as described above, after President Roosevelt issued his Executive Order 9066 in 1942, the Japanese Americans in the Pacific Northwest were sent to internment camps and their properties and businesses were usually confiscated. After World War II, formerly incarcerated Japanese Americans returned to Seattle, successfully rebuilding their social networks and businesses and again emerging as a significant force in Seattle.
Beacon Hill’s diverse beginnings were reinforced by its landscape features, including Jefferson Park located at the center of Beacon Hill. Originally named Beacon Hill Park, Jefferson Park has exerted a profoundly positive influence on the development and social cohesion of the Beacon Hill neighborhood through its sustained use by local residents. Originally acquired by the City of Seattle in 1898, it was integrated into Seattle’s Olmsted system of parks. In 1915, the first public golf course west of the Mississippi opened at Jefferson Park. From 1919 to 1941, the year before many Japanese Americans were interned in the Northwest, the Japanese-American Language School in Seattle used the park for its annual picnics. Japanese Golf Association held annual tournaments beginning in 1931. African Americans, Japanese Americans, and Chinese Americans organized golf clubs during the 1940s and 1950s because they were excluded from white clubs; they used Jefferson Park as their home course.
The Jefferson Park community center and golf course remains open to the public and the Beacon Hill neighborhood continues to be an ethnically diverse, working-class community. Its businesses and public spaces, including Jefferson Park and Dr. Jose Rizal Park, reinforce this diversity.