Schmoe House in Hiroshima adds 27 items to exhibition

(by Kyoko Niiyama, Staff Writer)

Schmoe House (located in Eba, part of Naka Ward), a facility to convey the achievements of the late Floyd Schmoe, has partially revamped its exhibition. Mr. Schmoe, a peace activist from the United States, built houses for people who had lost their homes in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Twenty-seven items, including photos showing scenes of people working and architectural drawings, have been added. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, which oversees the facility, plans to exhibit more items by the end of this month.

It is believed that 12 color photos were taken by Mr. Schmoe. They show people setting up wooden pillars for the foundation of the brick construction and roof, and children gathering around a house that is nearing completion. The lives of the people back then can be imagined from the four architectural drawings, which show the floor plans for a house.

Mr. Schmoe built “Hiroshima Houses” for 21 families in the city of Hiroshima from 1949 to 1953. Schmoe House was constructed as a community center in 1951, and it is the only building among them that still survives.

In recent years, former residents and others involved in the construction have been donating items closely connected to this house-building effort to the Peace Memorial Museum, which led to the renewal of the exhibition. Earlier this month, Toyoko Uchiyama, 81, who had lived in a house located in Eba, also donated some items, including an envelope with “Schmoe House” on it within the address, written in English. These items will be added to the exhibition, too, by the end of March.

Ms. Uchiyama said that the people living in the area were very fond of Mr. Schmoe and she hopes that visitors to Schmoe House will turn their thoughts to that time.

(Originally published on March 8, 2019)