July 1935 – The Opening of the Restored Phoenix Pavilion and Japanese Garden

Post By: Robert W. Karr, Jr.
Nov 01, 2013

On July 14, 1935, the Chicago Park District and the Japanese Consul at Chicago conducted its final inspection of the restored Phoenix Pavilion and newly constructed Japanese garden. Present were George T. Donohue, General Superintendent of the Chicago Park District, and Kaora Hayashi, acting Consul at Chicago. Also present at the July 15 final inspection, among other invited guests, where Mr. Shoji Osata, concessioner for the new Japanese garden complex, and three young women in kimono: H. Yamaji, Martha Shintani, and Kiyomi Shintani. 

“Our people will always feel gratitude for what Chicago has done for this place.” Mr. Hayashi told Mr. Donohue and park officials at a private gathering in the garden. “We revere this ground as a bit of our home land transplanted in the heart of a great and friendly nation.”

The official public opening occurred on July 27, 1935, which was selected to coincide with the arrival of the newly appointed Consul, Sadao Iguchi. Mr. Iguchi and his wife made their first visit on September 11, 1935. Also in attendance was Mr. Donohue and C. H. Chandler, President of the Japan America Society of Chicago.

According to the Chicago Daily Tribune, Mr. Iguchi and his wife arrived as scheduled at the La Salle street train station on the Twentieth Century Limited from New York, where he had served as the Consul for the preceding two years. In the 1930’s, the offices of the Japanese Consulate at Chicago was located in the Tribune Tower completed in 1925.

Mr. and Mrs. Isato made their home at the Edgewater Beach Hotel in far-north neighborhood community of Edgewater in Chicago, Illinois. Built in 1916, the hotel complex had a private beach (prior to the build-out of north Lake Shore Drive) and offered seaplane service to downtown Chicago.

  • Phoenix Pavilion and Japanese Garden, c. 1935 (Courtesy of the Chicago Park District, Special Collections)
  • “Renewed Japan Gardens to be Opened July 27,” Chicago Daily Tribune, July 28, 1935, p. 10.
  • “New Japanese Consul Arrives: Comes from New York,” Chicago Daily Tribune, July 28, 1935, p. 17.
  • “Japanese Consul Views Jackson Park Gardens,” Chicago Daily Tribune, Sept. 12, 1935, p. 5.


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