Nagasaki City is pushing ahead with the demolition of a historic brick warehouse in Matsugaemachi. According to city archives, the Lake & Co. Warehouse was built sometime in the mid-Meiji period (1868-1912) by merchant brothers George and Edward Lake to store goods for their general store.
The city acquired the property in 1995 from a private individual and planned to convert it into public use. However, the costs to restore and reinforce the 3-storey brick building were too high and it has sat empty for the past 23 years. Since then, the internal floors on the 2nd and 3rd floor had largely collapsed, while the beams had severely deteriorated. The city set aside 34 million Yen (approx. 300,000 USD) to demolish the building.
Demolition began on October 23 and is expected to be completed by January 2019. The city has no plans for the vacant lot.
Lake and Co. was founded by American George W. Lake in 1860 as a general store providing supplies and provisions to ships. George’s brother Edward, aged 17 at the time, moved to Nagasaki from Massachusetts in 1862, joining him at the firm. Between 1860 and 1864, George served as Marshall to the U.S. Consulate. After some tumultuous years and many run-ins with the law, George was deported back to the US in 1871, with Edward, then aged 26, staying on to run the business. George later moved to Korea where he was murdered by an employee in 1898. Edward operated the business until his death in 1918, with a nephew taking over the business until its closure in 1921.
Oura-Sagarimatsu Biographies http://www.nfs.nias.ac.jp/page030.html
The Nagasaki Shimbun, October 25, 2018.