Canning Was Major Industry For County
(From "Adams County Crossroads of the West Volume II" by Albin Wagner)
Perhaps the first Japanese organization in Adams County was the "Japanese Association of Brighton, Fort Lupton and Platteville" formed in 1908 to fix land rents. The Japanese Farmers Association of Colorado, formed at a meeting in the town hall at Brighton on March 31, 1909, is probably the same organization as the Brighton Japanese Agricultural Association organized in May 1909 "to promote the welfare, prevent mutual conflict amongst themselves and protect rights of Japanese farmers in the region." In 1914, a "Brighton Branch" of the Japanese Association of Colorado was formed. Finally, the Brighton Japanese Association, the predecessor of the present Brighton Japanese American Association (BJAA), was organized in 1920.
The first meeting of the Brighton Buddhist Kydokai (congregation) was held in the home of Zentaro Goto in Henderson on February 10, 1924. When a Buddhist Sunday School was started in Brighton in 1925, the children had to be escorted under armed guard because of threats credited to the Ku Klux Klan. The Buddhists met in Japanese Hall (the former Brighton Pavillion, a dance hall and roller skating rink, which was purchased in 1927 by the Japanese Association for a Japanese Language School) until the present Brighton Buddhist Church was completed in February, 1940. Many Japanese also belong to the Methodist Church, due to the missionaries in Japan and work among the Japanese immigrants in America.
Japanese language meetings, schools and religious services were curtailed during World War Il and the Japanese Association turned its property over to the Nisei (second generation, American born) Japanese. The war also brought a new influx of Japanese population to this area after the U.S. government moved all 110,000 Japanese on the West Coast into "relocation camps." Many Adams County Japanese served in the 442nd "Go For Broke" Combat Team in Italy and as interpreters in the Pacific. Fourteen lost their lives in the Service. The local Japanese community emerged from the war stronger than ever.
In 1948 the Nisei Women's Club was formed in Brighton by the younger women and on February 3, 1950, the Brighton Japanese American Association (BJAA) was organized by the younger men. In 1951, the BJAA sold the Japanese Hall (now apartments west of Strode Motors) and bought the land at 12th and Longs Peak Sts. that was donated to the City of Brighton in 1973 for BJAA Park.