Granada War Relocation Center; Camp Amache
Aerial view of the internment camp during World War II.
Boy Scout Memorial Day parade at the Granada War Relocation Center, Amache, Colorado, 1943.
Backstory and Context
The Granada War Relocation Center was a Japanese American internment camp located in southeast Colorado. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the forced relocation of Japanese Americans with Executive Order 9066. Over the spring of 1942, some 120,000 Japanese Americans were "evacuated" and placed in isolated "relocation centers" like Granada. Granada was only one of ten such camps and the smallest. Granada opened August 27, 1942, and reached a peak population of 7,318 persons by February 1943. Nearly all of the camp's original internees came from California. Each person was only allowed to bring one bag. Therefore, many people were forced to sell what they could or give away their possessions.
Although relations with the residents of Granada and other nearby communities were largely positive, many Coloradans protested the construction of Amache High School in 1943. The high school was completed in June 1943, but plans to construct two additional schools for elementary and junior high students were abandoned; middle schoolers shared the Amache High building with older students, while elementary school classes continued in a barracks.
Adults in camp had several opportunities for employment, which included the police department, fire department, teaching and the hospital. Most of the work in Granada was directed at agricultural production, however. The land surrounding the residential areas were devoted to farming and raising livestock. The WRA budget restricted the per-inmate food allotment to 45 cents a day; the camp was intended to be mostly self-sufficient in its food production. These efforts proved successful at Granada, where internee laborers produced enough to feed the entire camp population and send the surplus to other camps
Today the camp is a lonely, desolate place on the high prairie, covered by scrubby vegetation and small cacti. All but one of the buildings were removed. The sole remaining structure from the camp is a pumphouse beside the main water tank; both are still in use. Cement foundations of most of the buildings remain.
In the southwest corner of the camp is a small cemetery and memorial dedicated to the Japanese Americans from there who volunteered to fight in Europe in World War II. A large stone memorial with men's names engraved in it sits in the cemetery in memory of those who died defending the U.S. in the 442nd. The graves at the cemetery are only of children who died while at the camp. The camp was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 18, 1994, and designated a National Historic Landmark on February 10, 2006. On December 21, 2006, President George W. Bush signed H.R. 1492 into law guaranteeing $38,000,000 in federal money to restore the Granada relocation center and nine other former internment camps.