Sakai-Kozawa Residence/Tokio Florist and Pole Sign
This property is significant for its association with the Sakai-Kozawa family and their longtime floral business, Tokio Florist, which operated at this location from 1960 to 2006.
In November 2019, the property was listed as Historic-Cultural Monument #1198. Under new ownership, the property is being rehabilitated for office and commercial uses.
Los Angeles, California 90027
The Sakai-Kozawa Residence/Tokio Florist and Pole Sign is a two-story Tudor Craftsman and landscaped grounds located at 2718 Hyperion Avenue in Silver Lake. The property is significant for its association with the Sakai-Kozawa family and their longtime floral business, Tokio Florist, which operated at this location from 1960 to 2006.
In December 2018, the Sakai-Kozawa family listed the property for sale, leaving its future uncertain. In June 2019, the Little Tokyo Historical Society nominated the property as a local landmark. The Conservancy helped prepare and supported the nomination.
About This Place
About This Place
The Sakai-Kozawa Residence/Tokio Florist and Pole Sign, Historic-Cultural Monument #1198, is representative of the agricultural and horticultural sectors of Los Angeles’s commercial and early industrial development. As the longtime location of Tokio Florist and former residence of proprietors Yuki Sakai, her daughter Sumi (Sakai) Kozawa and son-in-law Frank Kozawa, the residence, landscaped grounds, buildings, and signage, uniquely narrate emblematic themes of Los Angeles and Japanese American history and culture.
The Sakai-Kozawa family operated Tokio Florist at this site from 1960 through 2006, which is the period of significance for the property. The buildings are extant and components of the site related to flower growing remain intact in a neighborhood of northeastern Los Angeles where flower farms, stands, and nurseries once dominated the landscape. Together, the components of this site are historically significant for representing the ways in which Japanese Americans contributed in shaping Southern California’s cultural, economic, and physical landscapes.
The longevity and resilience of the Sakai-Kozawa family’s Tokio Florist business is significant for the many historical shifts it endured. The Sakai-Kozawa family maintained the business despite multiple challenges, including: legal prohibitions to lease and own land, the Great Depression, the forced removal and subsequent incarceration during World War II, the process of reestablishing their lives and livelihoods during the post-incarceration period also known as resettlement, threats from waves of residential and commercial development in the neighborhood, economic downturns and competition from the increasingly globalized cut-flower industry. The Sakai-Kozawa business persisted for over half of the business’s life in Silver Lake as it weathered the continuous reshaping of the built environment and community life that has characterized the historic neighborhood.
The property is also significant as an excellent example of a Tudor Craftsman residence and for its association with John B. Althouse and Daniel T. Althouse (Althouse Brothers hereafter), active designer/builders in the City and County of Los Angeles in the early 20th century and founding members of the Los Angeles Board of Realtors.
The two-story Tudor Craftsman residence was originally located at 326 South Normandie Avenue. The residence was built in 1911 by the Althouse Brothers for a cost of $9850. City directories indicate that businessman and major Southern California landowner Ortus B. Fuller resided in the home from 1912 to 1922. In 1929, the property was purchased by Dr. Harry Brigham, who moved the residence and its detached garage to 2718 Hyperion Boulevard.
UPDATE: In November 2023, we were alerted by community members that the Sakai-Kozawa Residence/Tokio Florist and Pole Sign HCM #1198 was for sale by Industry Partners. We are gathering more information and will share it with you as it becomes available.
Among the last remaining material and contextual markers of the flower farms and flower shops and stands that dotted the Silver Lake, Los Feliz, and Atwater neighborhoods, the Sakai-Kozawa Residence/Tokio Florist and Pole Sign became HCM #1198 in 2019. The property narrates a history of Japanese immigrants and Japanese Americans in Silver Lake and Los Angeles that has rare representation.
In 2019, real estate developer Redcar purchased the property. Plans to reuse and expand upon the property were made public in April 2022. Plans included converting the single-family residence into office space and adding another roughly 9,000 square feet of office and retail space, including a 6,736-square-foot, three-story office building. The project would also entail converting a garage building into a 499-square-foot office building and developing a 980-square-foot retail building along Hyperion Avenue.
Following the landmarking of the property, the Conservancy provided recommendations to RedCar for retaining important character-defining features of this local landmark and adding interpretative signage telling the history of the Sakai-Kozawa family and their longtime florist shop in the new project. In March and August 2021, designs were reviewed by a subcommittee of the Cultural Heritage Committee.