Saturday, August 23, 2008

Manzanar Relocation Center

On the way to Mammoth Mountain just before the City of Independence there is a place called Manzanar.  My father was born there and my Grandpa, Grandma, Uncles and Aunts spent 3 years of their lives there.  This was because in the Spring of 1942 during WWII the American Government forced all Japanese living on the west coast and other areas to relocate to these "prison" camps.  It was done so fast that most families had to sell everything they had and for very cheap upon entering these camps.  So most families had nothing  when they were released. My dad's family were one of the "lucky" ones in that their neighbors watched and took care of their home while they were detained.  I took a few photos of Manzanar while we were up there last week.  We used to stop there all the time with my dad and  he would tell us about the place.  Back then they had it all closed off and you couldn't go on the grounds and see things.  They have since opened it up and have restored and marked the place with signs giving you a sense of where things were.  There is a museum next door but we were to late to visit it so we just drove around inside and looked around.  I will post more photos later in the week on Manzanar.
Original photo shot by Ansel Adams during the time the camp was occupied. Circa 1943
My photo of the sign they have restored to it's original state.
The original Military Sentry Police Post.  You originally were only able to go a little past this post before.  It was also in it's original state and could walk inside the post. They have refurbished the post and now have locked doors on it.

Picture of the entry way.  When they first open the whole place to the public years ago now, my aunts and uncles went back to visit the place and went to the area where they lived.  When they got to the spot they found marbles still in the dirt where one of my uncles used to play.


Unknown said...

Thanks for posting this. I'm glad to see that the camp is being restored. It's amazing to me that most high schools don't even mention the relocation camps.

Mark said...

I have more shots that I'll post. If you haven't been there lately (the last time I was there was about 9 or 10 years ago) they got each area marked as to where a hospital was or post office, etc. They even cleaned up the remains of the ponds there. Thanks for the comment.

By Hand and By Brain said...

Good post Mark. I used to travel during the summer with my dad on summer vacation-after his arm was smashed by a hydrolic cylinder he became a salesman. He stopped there on a overcast october day and told me as much as he knew about it. I remember feeling really confused and upset. the guard was still at the gate.this is an important place.