Heart Mountain Japanese Internment Camp

honor rollBefore heading south, we decided to get up early and drive to the Heart Mountain Relocation Camp. From 1942 to 1945, 127,000 Japanese Americans from western states were sent to live in concentration camps.


Under Roosevelt's Executive Order 9066, people of Japanese decent were sent to 16 assembly centers, 10 justice department camps, 6 citizen isolation centers, or 10 internment camps. Over 14,000 passed through Heart Mountain.

Heart Mountain

heart mountain trailAs you approach the historic site, your eyes are drawn to a flag and large sign called the honor roll (above). This board contains the names of people from the camp that gave their lives during WWII. Although their families were imprisoned, many Japanese Americans were drafted or volunteered for the service.

Most of the camp buildings no longer exist, however the railroad tracks and few buildings remain with Heart Mountain looming in the background (photo below). Well-designed interpretive signs along a short walk containing maps and photographs provide excellent orientation to the area.

As we looked at the remaining buildings, we tried to imagine what it was like sixty years ago when this area was filled with buildings and more than 10,000 people.

Heart Mountain

The photo below shows what remains of a huge underground storage area for fruits and vegetables.

Heart Mountain

heart mountain

Before our visit, Annette read a new book about the camp called Heart Mountain by Mike Mackey. This gave her some insight into daily life at the camp. One of the striking things was a quote from one of the signs focusing on issues facing teachers at the high school. A camp teacher asked, "How do you teach democracy to students looking out at guard towers and barbed wire fields?"

The interpretive signs warned people to remember this tragedy and practice tolerance.
Heart Mountain

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Created by Annette Lamb, 8/05.