On-line Book
Book Cover
Cover Page


Table of Contents





Brief History

Gila River


Heart Mountain







Tule Lake

Isolation Centers

Add'l Facilities

Assembly Centers

DoJ and US Army Facilities



Appendix A

Appendix B

Appendix C

Confinement and Ethnicity:
Barbed wire divider
An Overview of World War II
Japanese American Relocation Sites

by J. Burton, M. Farrell, F. Lord, and R. Lord

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Chapter 4 (continued)
Gila River Relocation Center

The larger of the two camps at the Gila River Relocation Center, Butte Camp, covered 790 acres at the base of Sacaton Butte 3-1/2 miles west of Canal Camp (Figure 4.9). At Butte Camp east-west streets were numbered, 1st on the south to 14th on the north; north-south streets were lettered "A" Street on the east to "G" Street on the west. The main entrance to the camp was along the east side, at 9th street. The blocks were numbered from 28 to 81, beginning at the southeast corner and wrapping west, then east, row by row to the north. There were two narrow east-west firebreaks, one just south of 9th Street and one between 4th and 5th Streets.

Butte Camp, Gila River Relocation Center
Figure 4.9. Butte Camp, Gila River Relocation Center.
(National Archives)
(click image for larger size (~150K) )

Staff housing, Butte Camp
Figure 4.10. Staff housing at Butte Camp.
(National Archives photograph)
There were 821 buildings in all at Butte Camp. Administration offices, warehouses, and staff housing were in the northeastern quarter of the developed area. The 22 buildings in the administration area (Blocks 69 and 70) included five office buildings, the post office, two ten-car garages, mimeograph buildings, nine warehouses, a police office, a court, and the staff canteen. Staff housing in Block 75 included a mess hall, recreation building, 5 dormitories, and a laundry. To the east and north, in Blocks 76 and 81, were 12 staff apartments, a water filtration plant, a refrigerated warehouse, a laundry, and a gas station; all but the gas station and four of the apartments were built by the evacuees (Figure 4.10).

The warehouse area (Blocks 67 and 68) included 22 warehouses, two of which were built by evacuees. North of the warehouse blocks, in areas designated Blocks 77 and 78, were two carpenter shops, a warehouse, a planer shed, a plumbing and electrical shop, an ice house, and a 37-by-108-foot machine shop, the latter two buildings built by evacuees.

Camouflage net factory, Butte Camp
Figure 4.11. Camouflage net factory at Butte Camp.
(National Archives photograph)
The motor pool and a camouflage net factory were located west of Blocks 61 and 72 in the northwestern portion of the camp. There were four buildings for the net factory, one 60 feet by 400 feet in size, two 26 feet by 250 feet, and one 25 feet by 200 feet (Figure 4.11). The net factory was enclosed by a fence and had an 8-foot-by-10-foot guard house at the entrance. From the net factory one could access the motor pool, located to the west. The motor pool buildings included a 22-foot-by-60-foot office, a 22-foot-by-82-foot shop, and three 26-foot-by-250- foot repair and supply buildings.

The Butte Camp hospital, which served both Butte and Canal Camp, was located north of the administration area. In addition to the hospital's 18 interconnected buildings, there was a dental clinic in Block 73 and a convalescent hostel in Block 74.

water tank and outdoor stage, Butte Camp
Figure 4.12. Water tank and outdoor stage at Butte Camp.
(National Archives photograph)
The evacuee residential area, comprising 36 developed blocks, was located to the south and west of the administration area. The evacuee residential area wrapped around two small knolls. On the higher knoll there was a 300,000-gallon water tank supplied by a deep water well. On the other knoll the evacuees built a servicemen's memorial. On the slope below the memorial they built an outdoor stage and amphitheater (Figure 4.12). A fire station was located east of the knolls at the west end of 6th Street (west of Blocks 46 and 51).

The WRA map lists 627 evacuee residential buildings, 46 of which were used as schools, 6 for churches, and 29 for other community services. All of Block 41 was an elementary school. Block 42 was used for community services including offices, churches, a shoe repair shop, a sewing shop, a laundry and dry cleaning, a barber shop, a beauty shop, a canteen, a store, and a "diet kitchen." Four buildings in Block 42 were used for staff apartments. Block 43 was used for a high school. To the north of Block 43 the evacuees built an auditorium and three classroom buildings for science, home economics, and vocational arts (shop/crafts).

Vacant blocks (35, 37, 38, 50, 53, 62, and 71) were used for athletic fields, playgrounds, and other facilities. Butte Camp also featured what has been called the WRA's finest baseball diamond (Hansen 1997). Designed by professional baseball player Kenichi Zenimura it included dugouts, bleachers, and other features and could accommodate up to 6,000 spectators.

Continued Continue


Last Modified: Fri, Sep 1 2000 07:08:48 pm PDT

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