Jerome County, Idaho
A Pearl Harbor attack intensified hostility towards Japanese Americans. As wartime hysteria mounted, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 making over 120,000 West Coast persons of Japanese ancestry (Nikkei) leave their homes, jobs and lives behind and move to one of 10 concentration camps (referred to as “Relocation Centers”). This single largest forced relocation in US history is Minidoka’s story.
Entrance area with historical commemorative plaques.
Highlights: Today there is a small gravel parking area, paths and interpretative signs about the incarceration located at the stone guard house and waiting room beyond the Hunt Bridge. Also commemorated here are the Japanese Americans from the concentration camp who died serving in the military during World War II. Nearly 1,000 from Minidoka served in the Army; Minidoka had the largest casualty list of the 10 concentration camps.
After the concentration camp was closed a large number of the buildings were removed for various uses, including housing, migrant labor camps, meeting halls or for salvage value. The land was divided into small farms. Forty-three of these small farms were allotted in 1947 to World War II veterans, whose names were drawn in a lottery. In 1949 another 46 small farms were allotted. Each veteran also received two barracks. Therefore not much remains of the camp to help visitors understand the important story that happened there.
In 1979 Minidoka was added to the National Register of Historic Places. In 2001 it became the 385th unit of the National Park Service. Today, visitors can walk through the remains of the entry station, waiting room and rock garden. Currently the Minidoka National Historic Site does not offer any visitor services at the site. There are no facilities or services at the site and the boundaries are not well marked. Many buildings and features that were part of the center are located on private property surrounding the Historic Site.
The Minidoka National Historic Site is managed out of the Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument. There is a Minidoka display located at the Hagerman Visitor Center that includes historic and modern pictures, information, literature and brochures.