Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Manzanar National Historic Site
Imagine being notified that in a few days you must leave your home and report to a evacuation point. Imagine leaving your business, your pets, your friends, your whole life behind, taking only what you can carry, and boarding a train that stops in the middle of a barren desert with rows and rows of tar papered buildings surrounded by barb wire fences and guard towers. This is your home for an undetermined amount of time. Hard to believe that this could happen in the US.
But it did. After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 paranoia from both the government and US citizens lead to the rounding up and relocation of 127,000 Japanese who lived along the west coast. 2/3 were US citizens, born in the US. The rest were immigrants barred from becoming citizens due to anti –Japanese laws. 10,000 of them ended up a Manzanar and were held in the camp for three years until the war ended.
The museum describes the whole ordeal, from the initial round up to the day that the last people left the camp, using personal stories, artifacts, photographs and news articles –very well done. Several barracks have been rebuilt and furnished. A three mile driving tour circles the perimeter of the camp. It also possible to walk the grounds.
The museum and theater are accessible. A paved path leads to the barracks. There’s also an accessible parking spot at the barracks. The two barracks buildings have ramps and are accessible. We did not realize that the mess hall was opened so we didn’t visit it. The path to the mess hall is sandy so it may be difficult to access. The mess hall building has a ramp.
The parking lot is large enough for any RVs. RVs may be driven along the tour route.
Museum 36.7283, -118.14696