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 18 (continued)
Federal Bureau of Prisons
Catalina Federal Honor Camp, Arizona
The Catalina Federal Honor Camp is located in the
Santa Catalina Mountains, northeast of Tucson, Arizona. The camp was
established in 1939 within the Coronado National Forest to provide
prison labor to build a highway that would allow Tucson residents easier
access to the cooler elevations of the mountain. In the 1940s the Honor
Camp included four barracks, a mess hall, a laundry, a powerhouse, a
storeroom, a garage, a vocational shop, and a classroom. In addition,
there was an administration building, ten masonry and five frame
cottages for the prison personnel, and water supply and sewage disposal
systems (Bureau of Public Roads 1951:22; Figures 18.5 and 18.6). Other
facilities included a chicken and turkey farm and a baseball field
(Figure 18.7). On a 10-acre farm below the mountain the inmates raised
Figure 18.5. Catalina Federal Honor Camp, ca. 1945.
(photograph courtesy of the Coronado National Forest)
Figure 18.6. Catalina Federal Honor Camp, ca. 1945.
(photograph courtesy of the Coronado National Forest)
During World War II many of the prisoners at the
Honor Camp were draft resisters and conscientious objectors. After the
Supreme Court upheld his convictions for disobeying curfew and
relocation orders, Gordon Hirabayashi completed his sentence there. Some
45 Japanese American draft resisters were also sent to the Honor
Camp to serve their sentences. The majority of the resisters were from
the Granada Relocation Center in Colorado; others came from Poston and
Topaz. In contrast to Gordon Hirabayashi, who had to hitchhike from
Seattle to Tucson to serve his sentence, the resisters were transferred
to the Honor Camp in leg irons and under armed guard. Ironically,
security at the Honor Camp was far less stringent than it was in the
Relocation Centers: instead of fences and guard towers, the perimeter of
the Honor Camp was marked by white painted boulders. The inmates broke
rocks with sledge hammers, cleared trees, and drilled holes for dynamite
for the road work, as well as worked to maintain the camp and grow food
and cook for the prison population.
Table 18.1. Archeological Features at the Catalina
Federal Honor Camp, Coronado National Forest (keyed to Figure
1. Rock and concrete bridge/ford.
2. Rock work and culvert.
3. Foundation remains and level area.
4. Foundation remains and level area.
5. Concrete slab.
6. Level area with an imbedded pipe.
7. L-shaped concrete trough.
8. Concrete slab.
9. Concrete and rock post foundation.
10. Concrete slab foundation.
11. Concrete box.
12. Concrete slab foundation of house.
14. Concrete valve box.
15. Floor tiles and large segment of concrete foundation.
16. Possible water tank location.
17. Rock bridge or culvert.
18. Large concrete slab.
19. Small cemented rock post (?) with iron pipe.
20. Concrete slab with pipes.
21. Concrete basketball court.
22. Volleyball or tennis court.
23. Small concrete slab.
24. Bleachers and dugout area, with inscriptions in
concrete wall cap "1957," "ETO," "IGM," "MANUEL FLOREZ," "ER."
25. Subterranean structures.
26. Subterranean structures.
27. Concrete slab foundation of mess hall and kitchen.
28. Shuffleboard courts.
29. Concrete work, possibly for miniature golf.
30. Rock and concrete retaining wall.
31. Stone and concrete foundation.
32. Retaining wall with inscription "1962."
33. Concrete slabs and rock retaining wall.
34. Water pipe support posts.
35. Concrete slab.
36. Concrete and rock retaining walls.
37. Bridge support with inscription: "8-3-51."
38. Concrete slab and concrete retaining wall.
39. Concrete slab.
40. Level area/slope cut.
41. Rock-lined drainage ditch.
42. Concrete and rock foundation.
43. Concrete slab, scratched in floor: "Kidds AUG.
17, 1971 MONDAY NITE."
44. Post or tower foundation, with inscription: "May 1950."
45. Rock and concrete patio area.
46. Terraces and steps.
47. Rock work and stone tree planter in patio area.
48. Concrete slab foundation of house.
49. Concrete slab foundation of house.
50. Concrete slab foundation of house.
51. Stairway with elaborate terraced retaining walls
and non-native trees. Graffiti spray painted on wall "KEITH M.
52. Main gate, rock and concrete walls.
53. Concrete slab foundation of house.
54. Concrete slab foundation of house.
55. Rock and concrete retaining walls.
56. Rock and concrete power pole support.
57. Rock and concrete power pole support.
58. Concrete slab.
59. Concrete slab.
60. Foot path.
61. Eroded area along footpath showing buried
pipes (two water, one sewer).
62. Flat area with concrete slab.
63. Prehistoric bedrock metates.
64. Prehistoric petroglyphs.
65. Weir box, inscription "FRED DIE."
66. Concrete slab foundation of house.
67. Concrete slab foundation of house.
68. Concrete slab foundation of house.
69. Concrete slab foundation of house.
70. Concrete slab foundation of house.
71. Stone bridge and retaining wall.
72. Leveled area with some concrete.
73. Concrete slab.
74. Concrete slab.
75. Concrete slab.
76. Concrete basement.
77. Bridge supports.
78. Bridge supports and retaining walls, with
inscription: "T.N.R. 5/20/65."
79. Bridge supports.
80. Supports for possible foot bridge or aqueduct.
81. Concrete support for radio tower.
82. Post or tower foundation, with inscription:
83. Concrete supports.
84. Concrete base.
85. Manhole and collection box.
86. Baseball field location (borrow pit).
87. Concrete slab.
88. Leveled area and rock berm.
89. Rock and concrete water storage structure with
90. Concrete box.
91. Rock and concrete walls with overflow pipe.
92. Valve and rock work and pipe, "MILWAUKEE
VALVE CO., INC./1148-1158/125 S.W.P. 200 W.O.G."
93. Pipeline bridge.
94. Pipeline bridge.
95. Foot bridge supports and pipeline along
96. Concrete slabs and level area.
97. Bridge supports.
98. Concrete block.
99. Concrete slab.
100. Concrete slab and rocks.
101. Culvert and rock walls.
102. Rock and concrete work at Bug Springs.
103. Water tank remains.
104. Trash scatter in disturbed area.
105. Masonry dam on Sycamore Creek.
107. Pipeline supports.
108. Leveled area on hillside.
Figure 18.16. Sign at the site of the Catalina Federal Honor Camp.
After the highway was completed in 1951, the camp was used for juvenile
offenders; inmates ran a logging and sawmill operation and a sign shop.
In 1967 the camp was turned over to the state of Arizona, which used the
camp as a youth rehabilitation center until 1973. All of the buildings
were razed in the mid-1970s, but over 100 features, including concrete
foundation slabs and rock walls, remain (Figures 18.8-18.13; Table 18.1;
Farrell 1986). The Coronado National Forest is developing the old prison
site into the "Gordon Hirabayashi Recreation Site" named in honor of its
most famous prisoner (Figures 18.14-18.16). The site serves as a
campground and trail head, and will include interpretive signs which
will focus on prisoners' experiences and the Constitutional issues
raised by the internment during World War II.