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 Post subject: Topaz Internment Camp
PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 5:30 am 
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Aldrig nogen sinde Kvitte
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Location: Northern Utah Misty Mountains
I'm going to post this here since it seems to fit. If not, please move. I just want to share an experience I had recently with images. About 2 weeks ago my wife's uncle died at 82. He lives down in a town called Delta, Utah. During WWII about 15 miles outside of town an internment camp was built to house Japanese Americans from the West Coast (most in this camp were from the S.F. Bay Area) in compliance with Executive Order 9066. So that evening after the funeral, we had to stay in a motel because my mother-in-law could not handle a 3 hour trip south and a 3 hour trip back after all day at the funeral.

So my son, my wife and my father-in-law and me decided to drive out to the camp. There are no buildings left there, simply a flagpole with the flag of the United States flying. There are two large (10 foot long) slabs with images and information on them. Here are what they look like. I hope the size is okay.

Image

Image

more on the next post.

_________________
1. " . . . (we are ) too engrossed in thinking of everything as a preparation or training or making one fit -- for what? At any minute it is what we are and are doing, not what we plan to be and do that counts."

J.R.R. Tolkien in his 6 October 1940 letter to his son Michael Tolkien.

2. We have many ways using technology to be in touch, yet the larger question is are we really connected or are we simply more in touch? There is a difference.


Last edited by ArathornJax on Wed Oct 20, 2010 6:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 5:36 am 
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Aldrig nogen sinde Kvitte
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A Boy Scout to earn his Eagle made and posted signs throughout the remains of the camp so visitors know what was located where. This helped. It is a National Historical Site and souvenirs are to be left where they are found. Most of the good ones are long gone but some are still found from time to time.

Here is the entrance to the camp with both signs.

Image


There are some very wonderful paintings done by famous Japanese American artists but to give you a feel for how desolate this place is (it is in what we call the West Desert). On that fence is spelled out in barb wire from the original fence the words Topaz.



Image



This is Topaz Mountain the background on the far right (where they got the name for the camp). It is the taller of the peeks. Today that area is where Wild Mustangs roam free. It was called the Utah Relocation Center but was changed to Topaz after the mountain when the citizens of Delta complained about the name.


Image

_________________
1. " . . . (we are ) too engrossed in thinking of everything as a preparation or training or making one fit -- for what? At any minute it is what we are and are doing, not what we plan to be and do that counts."

J.R.R. Tolkien in his 6 October 1940 letter to his son Michael Tolkien.

2. We have many ways using technology to be in touch, yet the larger question is are we really connected or are we simply more in touch? There is a difference.


Last edited by ArathornJax on Wed Oct 20, 2010 6:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 5:47 am 
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Aldrig nogen sinde Kvitte
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This is one of the stubs of a guardhouse.


Image



Here is a concrete slab where one of the barracks stood that housed about 25 people per barrack in a space of 16ft x 20ft to 20ft x 25ft, 4-6 persons per room. Note those are nails from when the locals after WWII tore down the barracks and used the materials on their farms.



Image


This shows more the length of the barrack:


Image

_________________
1. " . . . (we are ) too engrossed in thinking of everything as a preparation or training or making one fit -- for what? At any minute it is what we are and are doing, not what we plan to be and do that counts."

J.R.R. Tolkien in his 6 October 1940 letter to his son Michael Tolkien.

2. We have many ways using technology to be in touch, yet the larger question is are we really connected or are we simply more in touch? There is a difference.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 5:51 am 
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Aldrig nogen sinde Kvitte
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Here is an image of one of two entrances to the barracks.

Image


Here was one of my finds, the remains of a bottle that had 1942 still marked on it in the glass and it was clearly visible. It remains where I took the picture of it.



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The bottom of a bottle.


Image

_________________
1. " . . . (we are ) too engrossed in thinking of everything as a preparation or training or making one fit -- for what? At any minute it is what we are and are doing, not what we plan to be and do that counts."

J.R.R. Tolkien in his 6 October 1940 letter to his son Michael Tolkien.

2. We have many ways using technology to be in touch, yet the larger question is are we really connected or are we simply more in touch? There is a difference.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 6:27 am 
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Aldrig nogen sinde Kvitte
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There was no sign here and I need to do some research (not hard) but this is either a warehouse or a office.


Image


Finally, last one I'll share so I don't take up too much space. This is my son standing on the slab that was one of two elementary schools.


Image



Almost 9000 Japanese Americans were housed here (some were from Japan and had immigrated) during WWII and most in Topaz came from the Bay Area (San Francisco for non-natives). Imagine living in the Bay Area and then being moved to Tran Fran Race Track and housed in stalls and then to be put on a train to Delta, Utah and bused out to Topaz Internment Camp. The temperature range out there is around 0 in the winter (can get down to -30 below) and up to 106 F in the summer, but usually in the 90's. Good news, its a dry heat and not a humid heat.
Many young men went in and signed up to serve in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team that served in the European Theater and was one of the most highly decorated units in WWII.

This describes what the barracks were built of:



Quote:
Furniture for the apartments included only army cots, mattresses, and blankets. Some residents constructed rough tables and shelves out of scrap lumber left lying around the camp. The barracks, crudely constructed of pine planks covered with tarpaper as the only insulation, and sheetrock on the inside, provided little protection against the extreme weather of the semi-arid climate.



A few links if your interested in learning more:


Topaz Official Site

Look around and look at the images, you'll see more and at the museum you can see a colored picture of a restored barrack.


In this case Wikipedia offers some solid info and is a starting point:

WikiTopaz


YouTubeQuickMovieonTopaz.

Turn your sound off, I didn't like the song but the images from mainly Topaz and some of the other camps is striking and haunting. I find it tragic how American they are.

I'm not one to bear my beliefs on the wall, and as a trained historian first and foremost, I had an excellent understanding of the situation and knowledge of why this happened. Going there made me connect and feel on a human level with this gross violation of civil rights. The country has formally apologized and $20,000 was offered to each survivor back in 1990 or so, but I hope we all remember the sacrifices that these citizens and their parents and grand-parents made during a time of crisis. More importantly I think we should all commit to honor them by vowing not to let the civil rights of any group go on being violated. Just my two cents. A very moving experience. [/url]

_________________
1. " . . . (we are ) too engrossed in thinking of everything as a preparation or training or making one fit -- for what? At any minute it is what we are and are doing, not what we plan to be and do that counts."

J.R.R. Tolkien in his 6 October 1940 letter to his son Michael Tolkien.

2. We have many ways using technology to be in touch, yet the larger question is are we really connected or are we simply more in touch? There is a difference.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 12:49 pm 
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Fascinating on several levels. I recall finding a old Nike missile base near St. Louis, bunkers and pads and chain link fences (one presumes fuel contamination of the soil). Not so tragic an episode in history, but still, a look into another time. Perhaps I should take pictures of it...but the desert setting beats the hills of southern Illinois hands down in terms of impact.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 1:43 pm 
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It is fascinating...and haunting. Thanks for sharing it, AJ.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 2:26 pm 
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Canada interned people, too:

At New Denver in the Slocan Valley among other sites.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 4:00 pm 
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I did not know that. :shock:

You're usually more sensible than we are on things like this.

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 4:11 pm 
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Primula Baggins wrote:
I did not know that. :shock:

You're usually more sensible than we are on things like this.


"We" being Canadians? Nah. :( We're all stupid and paranoid when it comes to stuff like this.

There are several wonderful novels and plays by the children of the internees. One of them is often done at schools, but I can't think of the name.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 5:02 pm 
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Journey to Topaz is one such book. George Takei, a.k.a. Sulu from Star Trek spent 3 years at the Tule Lake Camp during the war.

Another site that has good info is located here. Near the bottom is one on newspaper articles from the San Francisco region that show the prejudice that was shown toward the Japanese Americans. Reading those articles remind me of articles I've read in the last several years. For all our progress, I wonder how far we truly have progressed in this country.

_________________
1. " . . . (we are ) too engrossed in thinking of everything as a preparation or training or making one fit -- for what? At any minute it is what we are and are doing, not what we plan to be and do that counts."

J.R.R. Tolkien in his 6 October 1940 letter to his son Michael Tolkien.

2. We have many ways using technology to be in touch, yet the larger question is are we really connected or are we simply more in touch? There is a difference.


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