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Bromley Farm - Koizuma Hishinuma Farm

Brighton, CO


[photo]
Bromley Farm -- Koizuma-Hishinuma Farm
Photograph by Allison Lockwood, courtesy of the Colorado Historical Society

Emmet Ayers Bromley was an early settler who came to Colorado in 1877. Becoming one of the largest sheep and livestock owners in Colorado, he purchased a farm of 299 acres. The existing main house and outbuildings are located in the center of the acreage. Emmet Bromley established a long and distinguished career of public service, becoming a director and president of the First National Bank of Brighton and was president of the Gibraltar Oil Company. He served two terms in the Colorado House of Representatives and two consecutive terms in the Colorado Senate before a final two-year term in the House. He fell into debt towards the end of his life. After the Bromleys, the land of the present Bromley-Hishinuma farm was owned by the William O. Roberts family. The family consisted of William, his wife Myrtle, and three children, Irene, Marge and Frank. William Roberts retired in 1947 and sold the farm property to the Koizuma family.

The first Japanese in America helped to build railroads, dams and irrigation canals. They worked in the mines, performed domestic service, found employment in heavy industry and labored in the sugar beet fields. Between 1900 and 1910, Colorado’s Japanese population increased from 48 to more than 2000. Tightened federal immigration policies after 1908 stemmed immigration, and only a few hundred Japanese arrived in the state from 1910 to 1920. It is likely that O.E. Frink, who built the 1905 Canning Factory in Brighton at 220 N. Main, was responsible for bringing the Hishinumas family to the area. Yachi Hishinuma (a first generation Japanese immigrant of Issei), his wife Sen, and their children, George, Roy, Fred, James, Aki Ushiyana, Sumi Gilliand, Ellen Terrasi, Jane Shimizu, Grace Hitomi and Mary, first appeared in Ft. Lupton in 1924. It was Frink’s idea to arrange to lease land to Japanese families to grow produce for his cannery. Frink not only helped the families to settle in Brighton and Ft. Lupton, but he also provided them with seed and farm machinery.

[photo]
Bromley Farm -- Koizuma-Hishinuma Farm
Photograph by Allison Lockwood, courtesy of the Colorado Historical Society


The beginning of World War II caused confusion in the Japanese American community and often spurred suspicion, anger, and racism on the part of other Americans against those of Japanese ancestry. Most of the Japanese Americans living on the west coast were rounded up and forced into relocation camps, including the Granada Relocation Camp (Camp Amache) in southeast Colorado. German immigrants and Germans from Russia in the Brighton area often empathized with the Japanese Americans as they had faced suspicion and persecution during World War I. Colorado governor Ralph M. Carr took a courageous stand and was the only western governor to proclaim that under his administration, no American citizen, regardless of ancestry, would be denied their constitutional rights to reside unmolested in the state of Colorado. Governor Carr agreed to grant evacuees to Colorado from other states the full and equal protection of the laws. With anti-Japanese hysteria easing, in 1944 Colorado voters rejected a state constitutional amendment that would have barred Japanese aliens from owning land.

James Hishinuma, the youngest of the family, felt it was his duty to fight in the war for the United States. He joined the army and was assigned to the 442nd Infantry Regimental Combat Team. Shortly after Pearl Harbor, Japanese American men were categorized “4C” or non-draftable. However, on February 1, 1943, the government reversed its decision on Japanese Americans serving in the armed forces and announced the formation of the 442nd Infantry Regimental Combat team. The 442nd initially consisted of Japanese American volunteers from the mainland United States and the Hawaiian Islands. For its performance, the 442nd has been recognized as the most decorated unit in the United States military history.


[photo]
Bromley Farm -- Koizuma-Hishinuma Farm
Photograph by Allison Lockwood, courtesy of the Colorado Historical Society

The Hishinumas farmed in Ft. Lupton and Barr Lake before occupying the Bromley land with the Koizuma family in 1947. Mitsuye and Sumi Koizuma were related as sister and brother-in-law to Yachi & Sen Hishinuma. The Koizuma family provided the money to purchase the farm. The Koizuma family were unable to have children, but they raised two of the Hishnuma children, June and Grace. This was not an unusual practice among relatives to allow children to have a better life. The Hishinuma family lived in the main house on the Bromley Farm because of their large family. The Hishinuma boys occupied all three bedrooms upstairs. One bedroom downstairs was for the parents. Another bedroom held the girls, who sometimes slept in the dining room. The Koizumi family with their new daughters lived in the migrant worker house. The families worked together raising sugar beets, cabbage, alfalfa, and corn. Vegetables grown for the family included tomatoes, cucumbers, pickles and lettuce. The Great Western Sugar Company and Kuner-Empson and other canneries played a major role in the economic well being of Brighton. The Japanese Americans played a big part in the production of crops for each of these industries. The schools during this period released students who were required to work in the fields during harvest. All of the children attended school in Brighton. When the sugar industry closed, the Hishinuma family changes their crops to alfalfa and corn.

Yachi Hishinuma died in 1958. In 1963, the Koizuma family moved to New York and transferred the farm property to George, Roy, Fred, Harry, and James Hishinuma. In 1974 51 percent of the property was transferred to James Hishinuma, which allowed him to make all decisions involved in maintaining the property. James was the last family member to occupy the land. The property remained in the Hishinuma family until it was sold to Bromley Farms; LLC. The City of Brighton recognized the historic worthiness of the property and purchased 9.6 acres with all the farm buildings. The house is 1 1/2 –stories with a generally rectangular plan, 51’ x 36’, rising from a sandstone foundation. The wood-frame building has clapboard sided walls and a steep cross-gabled wood shingled roof pierced by two brick chimneys on the north side. A one-story extension with a half-hipped roof wraps around the rear of the building. The migrant worker house is located to the southwest and is a rare surviving example of migrant working housing. The one-story L shaped plan wood-framed building is sided with clapboards and has a cross-gabled wood-shingled roof with a single brick chimney. The construction date of 1929 is based on the County Assessor’s records. The Bromley Farm/ Koizuma-Hishinuma Farm was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on June 22, 2007.

Condensed from the National Register Of Historic Places Registration Form by Patricia Reither, Historian for the Brighton Historical Preservation Commission.

Likinlulem | Bromley Farm -- Koizuma Hishinuma Farm
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