(click to enlarge photos)
On the recent sunny Saturday afternoon of June 1, about 200 enthusiasts gathered beside – but not on – Vashon Island’s landmark Mukai farm and garden for a “This Place Matters” celebration and, it turned out, protest.
The enterprising Mukai family built this family home in 1926, and began then the artful labor of fitting the grounds with an elegant Japanese landscape, winding waterways about carefully set rocks, appointed with appropriate plants. The garden was supported by the success of B.D, Mukai’s strawberries, his nearby cold pressing process that packed the iced berries in barrels of his own making for shipment to distant markets. It was an enterprise that in season hired four to five hundred workers.
The builder and keeper of this traditional Japanese landscape was not so traditional. She was B.D.’s second wife, Kuni. First studying the Japanese art of landscaping, Kuni then designed the garden and continued to develop and nurture it from the late 1920s until World War Two, which on the West Coast upset the lives of nearly everyone of Japanese descent including the Mukais.
By now our Jean Sherrard may be considered something of a seasoned group photographer. On this occasion he was, however, surprised. “I arrived at the Mukai farm to find several hundred people assembling on a country road that runs in front of the farm. A black plastic fence posted with No Trespassing signs and two sheriffs’ squad cars kept preservationists off the land, squeezed onto the pavement. Mounting a 12′ ladder, I used a wide angle lens to capture both the home behind the fence and the protesters squeezed in front of it.”
With an investigative spirit Pacific readers may wish to use the links below to study the explanations of those on either side of the fence. On this side follow the Friends of Mukai webpage at http://www.friendsofmukai.org/ For the other side of the fence visit http://mukaifarmandgarden.com/. A third study of these Mukai matters was covered earlier this year with a KOMO TV report. The link for that story is http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Wealthy-Texas-couple-taking-advantage-of-Washington-taxpayers-191772911.html
Paul, I like to add in a few photos taken by my able assistant (and pupil at Hillside Student Community) Nick Anderson who, at 15, is not only a fine photographer, but an excellent actor and videographer as well. Here’s a few from Nick taken on that day:
A wide selection of speakers encouraged the crowd:
Anything to add, Paul? How about something on First Hill – its history. I have been asked (long ago) to write an introductory chapter for the Historic Seattle produced history of First Hill. In this line I became so fascinated with what is not known of that hill’s early life that I am woefully behind in producing my contribution. But now at last I have my motifs lined up and am writing. And so for the additions here I’ll begin with a First Hill scene, but then quickly follow with a few random Vashon snapshots.