What is: The Heart Mountain Relocation Center and the Heart Mountain Interpretive Center, Park County, Wyoming between Powell and Cody

What was: The Heart Mountain Relocation Center is one of the ten internment camps built to house Japanese people in the United States who were forcibly relocated from the West Coast during World War II. The Heart Mountain Relocation Center is one of the few relocation centers with buildings still standing today. It was the fourth largest relocation center.

Heart Mountain was a self-contained operation with residential and administrative buildings. There were 650 buildings and structures at the Center, housed 10,000 evacuees making it the third largest city in Wyoming at the time. Nine guard towers and barbed wire perimeter surrounded the residential barracks. The buildings were wood framed with black tar paper exteriors. Apartments ranged from 16 feet by 20 feet up to 24 feet by 20 feet divided, the latter designed for a family of six. Each apartment contained army cots, two blankets and a pillow, one light and one burning stove. There were also mess halls, a recreational facility, two toilet and laundry facilities. The center had a hospital, schools, a garment factory, cabinet shop, sawmill, and silk screen shop staffed primarily by internees.

385 residents of Heart Mountain served in the military, many becoming members of the famed all-Japanese 442nd Regimental Combat Team, one of the most decorated units in the U.S. military. Eleven of the soldiers from Heart Mountain were killed, 52 were wounded in combat, and two received the nation’s highest military award, the Medal of Honor.

Source: National Park Service

Scarred Places: Guard tower. What is: the smoke stack in the background and an old guard tower are among the remains of the Heart Mountain internment camp. What was: From 1942-1945, Heart Mountains was one of ten sites built to confine 120,000 Japanese living in America and relocated from their homes, mostly on the West Coast. Heart Moountain facility housed about 10,000 people in 450 barracks, each containing six apartments. The largest apartments were simply single rooms measuring 24 feet by 20 feet. The units were eventually outfitted with a potbellied stove, none had bathrooms. Internees used shared latrines. None of the apartments had kitchens. The residents ate their meals in mess halls. A highschool was built in 1943 for about 1500 students. (Source: https://www.wyohistory.org/encyclopedia/brief-history-heart-mountain-relocation-center). Local reactions to the internment ran the gamut from people believing this was the wrong thing to do to others believing the barracks and living conditions were too good for those interned. On the highway between Cody and Powell Wyoming is an interpretive center in a building that resembles the long lost barracks. #scarredplacesphotoseries
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