Amache Internment Camp: Granada

Year Listed: 2001
County: Powers County
Construction Date: 1942
Threat When Listed: Demolition by Neglect 
Status: SAVE for 2016
 

Fear of espionage led the United States government to exile thousands of Japanese American citizens to internment camps during World War II. In 1942, one of a few internment camps in the nation, the Granada Relocation Center, also known as Amache, was built on Colorado’s eastern plains. Surrounded by barbed wire and wood-framed guard towers, the camp at Amache consisted of housing units, a school, a hospital, warehouses, utility buildings, and a military police compound.  Over 7,000 of our fellow citizens were relocated to Amache, where they lived and worked until the camp closed in 1945.

Today the site retains tangible reminders of those years, including foundations of camp facilities, trees planted by former internees, one of only three surviving relocation center cemeteries in the nation, and intact original dirt and gravel roads.  No physical structures remain, however as the camp buildings were dispersed through auction and sale to locations around southeastern Colorado after it closed.

The Friends of Amache, the Amache Preservation Society, the National Park Service, Colorado Preservation, Inc., the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and Colorado’s Congressional Delegation worked together to document and garner support for the preservation of Amache.

In February 2006, Amache was designated a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service.  In 2007 the Friends of Amache and the National Park Service organized a Comprehensive Interpretive Plan and Conceptual Development Plan outlining the interpretive and educational goals of the Amache site. The Plan creates a more interactive, sensory visitor experience at Amache that can be provided by the physical presence of buildings on site grounds. Additionally, in 2011, an inventory of existing building stock related to Amache was completed, which included residential, administrative, institutional, and civic buildings, within the southeastern region of Colorado.

Remarkably, the original water tower tank was found, mostly intact, at a nearby ranch. The owners donated the tank to the Amache Preservation Society to be used for reconstruction. The Friends of Amache and partners developed plans for a barrack block or cluster of buildings on-site that includes a mess hall, barrack building, guard tower, water tower, and a portion of camp fencing. Working in partnership with the Friends of Amache and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Colorado Preservation, Inc. was awarded two grants from the National Park Service’s Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program for reconstruction of a guard tower and water tower, and reconstruction of a barracks building on an original location.  An additional interpretation project created podcasts/driving tours, and installed additional wayfinding signs.

Amache is maintained and stewarded by the Amache Preservation Society, which is directed by Granada High School Social Studies Teacher John Hopper and his students.  Each year, national pilgrimages are made to all former WWII Japanese-American relocation sites.  Amache is open to the public and visitors may learn about the site through an official driving tour with numbered waypoints and narrated podcasts.

 

Click here to learn more about the history/current projects at Amache.

Additional Links:
The Amache Preservation Society
Colorado Preservation, Inc. is working with the Park Service, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Friends of Amache to fund the restoration …
 

Evan and Evi Makovsky Matching Gift Challenge

At the 2013 Dana Crawford Award Celebration, award recipient Evan Makovsky eloquently stated how “we must never forget the internment of the innocent people” at Amache, and how we should educate ourselves and the public about this past event so it is never repeated. As a show of their support for Amache and Colorado Preservation, Inc.’s efforts to preserve it, Evan and Evi Makovsky generously pledged a match for gifts to Amache. Please consider making a tax-deductible gift to Colorado Preservation, Inc. for Amache. Your donation will be used specifically to support efforts to educate the public on the history and significance of Amache through its preservation.

It’s easy: mail a check to Colorado Preservation, Inc., attn: Amache at 1420 Ogden Street, Suite 103, Denver, CO 80218. Or, you may donate online below.

Thank you for your support!!




 

Last Updated:
June 2013

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