Table of Contents
DoJ and US Army Facilities
Confinement and Ethnicity:
An Overview of World War II
Japanese American Relocation Sites
by J. Burton, M. Farrell, F. Lord, and R. Lord
Chapter 16 (continued)
Merced Assembly Center, California
The Merced Assembly Center, in the central San Joaquin Valley, was
within the town of Merced at the county fairgrounds. Occupied from May 6
to September 15, it housed a total of 4,669 people (with a maximum of
4,508 at one time) from the northern California coast, west Sacramento
Valley, and the northern San Joaquin Valley. Historical photographs show
about 200 buildings at the assembly center, most located south of the
fairgrounds proper (Figure 16.12).
Figure 16.12. Oblique aerial view of the Merced Assembly Center.
(from DeWitt 1943)
A State of California historical marker is located at
the main pedestrian entrance to the fairgrounds (Figure 16.13). Some
fair buildings visible on the 1942 aerial photograph may remain, but
there have been extensive changes at the site. Behind (south of) the
fairgrounds the former barracks area is now a gravel parking lot. Eleven
concrete foundations there may be from the assembly center: the slabs
are in poor condition, but most measure approximately 20 ft by 100 ft,
the standard barracks size (Figures 16.14 and 16.15). Concrete floors
for temporary barracks were unusual, if not unique, given the assembly
centers' hasty construction. The only relocation center with concrete
barracks floors was Granada, where, coincidentally, the internees at
Merced were transferred.
Figure 16.14. Concrete slabs at the Merced County Fairgrounds.
Figure 16.15. Concrete slab at the Merced County Fairgrounds.
Figure 16.13. Monument at the Merced County Fairgrounds.