HANFORD — Fundraising efforts to preserve the Kings Hand Laundry building have a good foundation so far, but a helping hand is needed to reach the goal.
China Alley Preservation Society organizers are seeking donations to meet its goal in raising enough cash to give the historic building a good leg to stand.
The building, over a century old, wasn't built with a foundation and organizers have raised about $25,000 so far to give it one. The project will serve as phase one in an effort to preserve the building, eventually transforming it into a museum to honor the culture and history of the area's Japanese-American community.
About $15,000 more is needed to begin the “first step” of the first phase of the project. The first step is to brace and lift the building to put in a foundation. The whole phase includes repairing the porch, balcony and interior, which will cost about $40,000 in total.
For decades, the Kings Hand Laundry Building was operated by 99-year-old Naomi Tagawa. The business was originally opened by her father in the early 1900s. The laundry business ultimately closed its doors in 2015 when Tagawa retired.
The building still is still full of old irons, garments and laundry equipment, waiting to be preserved as part of the museum. Poles hold original coat hangers that advertise the business' original phone number — simply a three-digit "502."
In the corner of the front room is a small pile of clean garments still waiting to be picked up — one dated from the late '90s.
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Organizers are hoping to meet the goal by Tagawa's 100th birthday in February.
Collectible cards featuring art created by Tagawa, either autographed or unsigned, are available for a donation either at the L.T. Sue Co. Tea Room, 402 E. 7th St., Hanford, or during open house hours in the gift shop of the Taoist Temple Museum. The museum is open on the first Saturday of every month.
Also available are ornaments in the shape of the building commemorating the building's role in Hanford history.
Donations can also be made at https://www.chinaalley.com/.
For more information, call (559) 583-8379.
Editor's Note: This story originally reported the incorrect dollar amount of the renovations. This version corrects that.