Report to the President:
Japanese-American Internment Sites Preservation
Background: The Granada Relocation Center is located in Southeastern Colorado, approximately one mile from the Town of Granada in Prowers County. The legal description of the site is: Section 14, T23S, R44W, Sixth P.M. The center, also called Camp Amache, housed Japanese-Americans during World War II following their removal from the West Coast by military authorities. Governor Ralph L. Carr volunteered Colorado as a place for relocation, and the Granada Relocation Center officially opened August 27, 1942, with the arrival of the first evacuees from the Merced Assembly Center in California. It was the smallest of the relocation centers and the only one in Colorado. The project area totaled approximately 10,500 acres around Granada and extended eastward toward the Kansas border. The instant city soon became the tenth largest in the state. Camp Amache was constructed at a cost $4.2 million. It provided a self-contained community with more than 550 buildings for living quarters, administration buildings, businesses, a hospital, warehouses, etc., clustered on 640 acres of prairie southwest of the town of Granada. Although at its peak in October 1942, Amache housed 7,597 people, more than 10,000 persons passed through the camp, nearly two-thirds of whom were United States citizens. The camp population had a definite rural/urban split with the majority of the evacuees from the agricultural sections of California's central valleys. Agriculture was the main industry. The site produced significant amounts of agricultural products during the 1943 and 1944 growing seasons. Major crops included potatoes, onions, corn, alfalfa and wheat.
Current Status/Interpretation: Most or all of the land within the site is owned by the town of Granada. It is being maintained by the Town apparently with assistance from various volunteer groups including the Denver Central Optimist Club, made up of Japanese-Americans, the local Amache Preservation Society, students from the local school, and other individuals.
More than 10 percent of the camp population served in the military during the war as soldiers in the highly decorated 442nd Regimental Combat Team and other units, in the Women's Army Corps, and as nurses and instructors. Thirty-one members of the camp were killed in the war. A small fenced cemetery is located in the south western portion of the site which includes a small brick structure, a granite memorial and a 10-foot high white stone monument.
The Granada Relocation Center officially closed on January 27, 1946. Many of the evacuees returned to California, but nearly 2,000 remained in Colorado. Following the closure, the agricultural lands reverted to private farming and ranching, while the camp buildings were demolished or removed. Some of the buildings were sold to school districts and moved from the site. Today, aside from a small brick structure, the cemetery, a reservoir, and a water well and tank, all that remains are concrete building foundations and roads. The site is on the National Register of Historic Places and the Colorado State Register of Historic Properties.
Management: The Granada site is currently managed by the town of Granada. Maintenance activities are directed toward maintenance of the cemetery, clean up, and prevention of vandalism. Some improvements and interpretive work are in place through the help of the local school and volunteers.
Regional Context: The site is more than 150 miles from the nearest BLM office (Canon City); the few small, scattered parcels of public land in the area are planned for eventual transfer out of federal ownership.
Approximately 313 acres of the site covering most of the improved area is included in the area designated in the National Register. The site contains a well and water tank which is the town's water supply and a very important consideration for the town. An abandoned land fill is located outside of the National Register designated area.
The NPS manages two sites within 50 miles of the Granada site; the Bents Fort National Historic Site near Las Animas, and the recently designated Sand Creek Massacre Site near Chivington.
Interested Parties/Stakeholders and Opinions: BLM has initiated contacts with town officials and local interest groups (See contact list below). John Hopper, a teacher in Granada, is the local coordinator for maintenance and planning for Camp Amache. The entire school, K through 12, has participated in various projects on the site, including the planting of 165 trees this past fall. Mr. Hopper has a class of eight to 10 students each year who participate in presentations at other schools throughout the State. Financial support has come from the Denver Central Optimist Club and the Amache Historic Society of California, and projects and maintenance accomplished with the help of Prowers County, Town of Granada, the county historical society, and local volunteers including Lamar, the largest town in the area. The town water supply, located on the site, is an important consideration to the Granada. Various grants have been applied for without success, but long range planning is ongoing. Two of the original barracks have been offered for donation, but funds are not available to pay the estimated $10,000 cost of moving the barracks to the site. Plans for the area would include moving the two barracks back to the site, restoration of the barracks, development of a visitor center and possibly moving the Amache Museum, now located on the school campus, to the site. Additional interpretive structures would be constructed and seasonal guided tours would be available. The site is located one-half mile south of U.S. Highway 50 and is readily accessible to the public.
Interested Parties/Stakeholders and Opinions:
John Hopper, Granada High School Teacher,
James Hada (303) 237-2159
Minorai "Min" Tonai, President
Thomas Shigekuni, Board Member, Amache H.S.
Other potential cooperators in the interpretation and management of the site include the Colorado State Office of Historic Preservation, National Park Service, and other historical societies.
Town of Granada, Colorado State Office of Historic Preservation, National Park Service, and other civic and historical societies.
The NPS will proceed with the Special Resource Study for Grenada as described in the main body of this report. The special resource study process would most likely focus on potential for partnerships between the NPS and other interested parties including Federal, State, and local entities. These studies are expected to start early in early 2001, and be completed within two years.