The Los Altos Nursery property at 245 Hawthorne Ave., home to the long-standing, family-run business, has been sold to an undisclosed buyer.
The March 18 sale marks the end of an era for the nursery and its owners, the Furuichi family. The family had owned the property for more than 100 years. The nursery, operating for 72 years, closed in September 2019.
The Town Crier has reached out to the family for comment. A Furuichi representative said the family was working on a statement, but it was not ready before the newspaper’s Monday press deadline.
The Furuichi family’s history in the area dates back to 1906, when Frank Furuichi Sr. arrived from Japan to work in California as a migrant laborer. According to Los Altos History Museum documents, Frank Sr. worked throughout the Bay Area for several years before his wife, Sute, and four children, Tom, Sam, Tsuruko and Tomiye, joined him.
According to a 2009 Town Crier article about the Furuichis, the family put down roots in Los Altos between 1915 and 1918. Frank Sr. purchased 5 acres of land on Hawthorne Avenue for $5,000.
In 1947, George Furuichi, his sister Helen and cousin Tom established the Los Altos Nursery on the Hawthorne property. Their family grew with uncles, aunts and cousins, three generations living in their compound of six homes.
Nursery operations withstood Los Altos’ transformation from a rural community to a suburban Silicon Valley hub. Unlike many Japanese Americans who lost everything during World War II internment, the Furuichis retained their land. Close friends maintained and protected the property during the Furuichis’ absence.
The family enjoyed a close relationship with the local community, attracting scores of loyal customers while giving back in a variety of ways. The family donated 48 Chinese pistache trees during the 1954 Street Tree Planting Bee, one of the earliest community projects in Los Altos. Those trees still grace the streets of downtown Los Altos.
A disagreement among third-generation Furuichis nearly resulted in the loss of the business in 1997. In the end, the family compromised, selling approximately 2 acres of property along Valley Street and Gordon Way, where seven homes currently sit. The nursery continued to operate.