AMACHE

Granada Relocation Center, Colorado

MAP OF WORLD WAR II JAPANESE/JAPANESE AMERICAN INTERNMENT SITES

The first internment camp in operation was Manzanar, located in southern California. Between 1942 and 1945 a total of 10 camps were opened by the War Relocation Authority, holding approximately 120,000 Japanese Americans for varying periods of time in California, Arizona, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and Arkansas. (www.britannica.com/event/Japanese-American-internment)

  •  “Assembly Center” was the name the government gave to the temporary housing that those of Japanese ancestry were held before the more permanent “Relocation Centers” were complete.
  • These makeshift centers were often built in fairgrounds and race tracks with inmates living in horse stables or hastily constructed barracks. (www.jampilgrimages.com/assembly-centers)
  •  Other sites included Department of Justice Camps, U.S. Army sites, and federal Prisons.

CONFINEMENT/ CONCENTRATION/INTERNMENT/RELOCATION CAMP: AMACHE 

Amache Preservation Society:  https://amache.org

Executive Order 9066, signed by President Roosevelt on February 19, 1942, led to the forced removal of all persons of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast to one of 10 incarceration sites administered by the War Relocation Authority within 7 states.  The government’s validation for the imprisonment was “insufficient assimilation,” but was viewed by many as looking like the enemy. Granada, in southeastern Colorado, became home to over 7,000 persons from 1942 – 1945, making it the 10th largest city in Colorado. It was renamed Amache by General Prowers in honor of his Native American wife.

“Construction of the evacuee buildings at Granada differed from the other relocation centers. Instead of post-and-pier foundations, barracks had slab foundations, or concrete perimeter foundations with brick floors. The evacuee buildings also had fibre board or asbestos shingle siding, rather than the tarpaper common at most of the other relocation centers.”1 p. 106

Granada/Amache also had “one of the largest and most diversified agricultural enterprises of the ten relocation centers. The farm program included the raising of vegetable crops, feed crops, beef and dairy cattle, poultry, and hogs.” 1 p. 110-11  

The aforementioned conditions allowed Amache, located only halfway across the country, to be a “showcase” camp for politicians desiring to check on the status of the camps.

In 1983, a 10’ tall monument inscribed with “Amache Remembered” was placed at the cemetery by The Denver Central Optimists Club.  Granada High School teacher, John Hopper, began researching Amache with his experience-based classes.  The project has grown from a scale model of the camp to the Amache Preservation Society which also houses a museum. 

The state of Colorado provided funds to improve access and refurbish some of the site in 1994 and the Denver Optimist Club received a grant from the Civil Liberties Public Education Fund to develop the site for visitors. In 2006, it was recognized as a National Historic Landmark. In 2020, the National Parks Service began the study of its potential inclusion within the national park system.

1 Confinement and Ethnicity, An Overview of World War II Japanese American Relocation Sites by Jeffrey F. Burton, Mary M. Farrell, Florence B. Lord, Richard W. Lord; Western Archeological and Conservation Center, National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1999, p. 10

LEARN MORE:  

DVDs: 

Camp Amache: The Story of an American Tragedy; A Don Dexter Documentary, Wolf River Productions, 2006, Running time 57 min.

The Untold Story of Ralph Carr and the Japanese, Fate of 3 Japanese-Americans and the Internment; Fujisankei Communications International, Inc; 2011; Sponsored by Nitto Tire, U.S.A.
If you would like a free copy, contact info@jarcc-den.org

LINKS:

Amache – Japanese-American Relocation Center exhibits & resources at Colorado History Museum 
https://www.historycolorado.org/search/amache

National Park Service, Amache Special Resource Study
Current study to evaluate the potential inclusion of Amache in the national park system.
https://parkplanning.nps.gov/projectHome.cfm?projectId=92521

Denver University Amache Research Project and Connecting the Pieces Exhibits:   https://portfolio.du.edu/amache

I AM DENVER documentary A Thousand Paper Cranes: How Denver’s Japanese American Community Emerged from Internment
https://www.denvergov.org/content/denvergov/en/i-am-denver/documentaries/denver-japanese-americans-internment.html

National Parks Conservation Association
https://www.npca.org/articles/2468-amache-an-american-story-that-must-be-told

Colorado Experience : Amache Sneak Peek
https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=mcafee&p=amache#id=3&vid=c6844a7e7d0f344868d21dcb890e54a2&action=click

PRINT MEDIA:

Colorado Life; November/December 2020: Coloradolifemag.com /November-December-2020-cl.html

Article about experiences of Japanese Americans during WW II
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/pbs-gives-you-a-virtual-experience-of-being-japanese-american-during-wwii/ar-BB18AMso?ocid=msedgntp

BOOKS:

The Principled Politician, Governor Ralph Carr and the Fight against Japanese American Internment by Adam Schrager; Fulcrum Publishing, Golden, CO; 2008                                                                                                     

Colorado’s Japanese Americans from 1886 to the Present by Bill Hosokawa; University Press of Colorado, 2005 
Chronicles Japanese Americans’ struggles, achievements and influences on Colorado history

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