Hiroshima City plans to relocate and preserve the "Schmoe House"

by Uzaemonnaotsuka Tokai, Staff Writer

The City of Hiroshima has decided to detail a plan to relocate and preserve the "Schmoe House," a meeting place located at Eba Nihonmatsu in Naka Ward. After World War II, the house was built for atomic bomb survivors by the late Floyd Schmoe (1895-2001), an American pacifist. As the house sits at the site of planned construction for the new Hiroshima South Road, the city aims to complete the relocation of the building in fiscal year 2011.

The one-story wooden house, with a floor space of 55 square meters, was built in 1951. During the period from 1949 to 1953, Mr. Schmoe built 21 houses and meeting places for the survivors in the Eba, Minami and Ushita districts as so-called "Hiroshima Houses." The Schmoe House, the only surviving structure, is taken care of by the local neighborhood association, and used by the area's residents.

The City of Hiroshima has appropriated 1.2 million yen from its 2010 general budget for the transfer and related expenses. In 2011 the building will be separated from its foundation, lifted and transferred to a new location.

The city plans to relocate it to nationally-owned land adjacent to Eba Sarayama Park, 50 to 60 meters north of the present site. Talks will be held with the Chugoku Regional Finance Bureau about whether to rent or purchase the land.

Mr. Schmoe was a forestry scientist and a pacifist Quaker. He came to Hiroshima carrying a donation of 4,000 dollars which had been collected throughout the United States as a gesture of atonement for the atomic bombing. The city honored him with the title of Honorable Citizen of Hiroshima in 1983.

Akiharu Kawamura, 69, head of the neighborhood association which takes care of the house, said, "The house is imbued with Mr. Schmoe's philosophy. We plan to use the house with great care indefinitely."

A staff member of the city's Peace Promotion Section explained, "We want to make it a place where people can learn about the dedication demonstrated by Mr. Schmoe, who personally understood the devastation of Hiroshima and helped with the reconstruction of the city."

(Originally published on February 20, 2010)

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