Our house is a fine house

Our house was built in 1953 and is predictably mid-century modern. The large living room windows take advantage of the view of San Francisco Bay and I become transfixed watching the ferries, sailboats, kayakers, and, sometimes, swimmers.  We’ve had a lot of contractors through and each one has commented on how well built it is. While chatting with our next door neighbor, he told us we should obtain the original house plans. He said both our houses were designed by the same architect. “They’re nearly mirror images.”  The architect is no longer alive but a son had given permission to our neighbor to obtain a copy of the plans from the city.

Mary Anne found a pleasant city employee who initiated the search for our house plans and then shared the good news that she had located them. But we could not have a copy unless we obtained permission.  The plans were by a California architect named Harry Y. Nakahara. I was a little surprised that there was an architect with Japanese name that was able to get work so soon after WWII. I looked his name up on-line and learned someone with that name obtained his California license in 1948. I wondered if he had been in school during the war. I kept searching and found a 1938 photo of a Harry Nakahara, a student at Cal.  After that, I learned that the US War Relocation Authority had sent a Harry Nakahara and his family to the Tule Lake internment camp. I cried. Was it him? If it was, I was thankful that after a demoralizing and humiliating experience in internment, he chose to come to the bay area and make a contribution, designing wonderful homes that would be his legacy.

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