The Heart Mountain Relocation Center

So…how you doin’?
Last week the husband and I took a vacation to Wyoming. All of last week’s blog posts were written the week before, so I’ve been absent from this space for quite awhile. And now it feels weird. Like I’ve forgotten how to string together rambling garbage nonsense sentences for your enjoyment or something.
Anyway! After 1.5 days of travel (thanks for being hotter than a 2-peckered billy goat, South Dakota! Sheesh.) we arrived in Wyoming. One of the first things we did was revisit the Heart Mountain Relocation Center. 
My husband took me to see it when we lived in Wyoming 834 years ago, but apparently blogging makes you consciously take better photos because the ones from my first visit are terrible.
I wanted to share this on the blog because it’s something a lot of people have either forgotten about or don’t know about at all – the Relocation Center was an internment camp for Japanese Americans during WWII. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, over 100,000 Japanese Americans from the West Coast were forcibly removed from their homes and sent to live in internment camps. The Center is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. While it makes for a somber visit, it’s worth checking out, especially if you’re a history buff.

By 1943, the camp had nearly 11,000 inhabitants. They were kept inside the camp by barbed wire and military police in guard towers.
The internees farmed, ran a sawmill, and did other various jobs inside the camp. Children went to school, and there was even a camp newspaper. 

The photo near the bottom of the sign shows how large the camp was; today only a few buildings remain. The one with the huge chimney was the kitchen/dining hall of the hospital complex. Everything is boarded up and covered with wire to keep people out.

 Some foundations from other buildings are still visible.

The camp was active from 1942-1945. While life was certainly not fantastic in the camp, there were bright spots – a swimming pool, ice skating and hockey in the winter, and more than 500 babies born. To read more about daily life in the camp, check out the Center’s web site here.

That’s my attempt at a before-after shot.
The Relocation Center has a walking trail and there is an interpretive center as well. If you’re ever in Northwestern Wyoming and are a WWII nerd (tricky combination) I strongly recommend stopping by the Center.
See you in a few!

2 thoughts on “The Heart Mountain Relocation Center

  1. What a sad time in our nation's history. Several years ago, I saw an interview with a man who had lived in an internment center when he was a child and he spoke about his parents and not only what their life was like living there, but also the life and home they were forced to leave. I just didn't realize the internment center was in Wyoming.

    1. It was definitely a sad time. There were (I think) 10 different internment camps all over the Western states, so the man in the interview you watched may not have been at Heart Mountain specifically. But wherever he was, I'm sure it was not a happy time in his life, regardless.

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