The American River Conservancy has purchased a historic ranch near Coloma, Calif., that is considered the site of the first Japanese settlement in North America.
The 272-acre Gold Hill Ranch was purchased for $3.2 million using a combination of grants, private donations and loans. It is the location of the Wakamatsu Colony, settled by Japanese immigrants in 1869 as a hub for tea cultivation, silkworm farming and other traditional Japanese agricultural practices.
The property is also the only community outside Japan that was settled by samurai; the birthplace of the first naturalized Japanese American; and the location of the grave of the first Japanese woman buried on American soil.
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