Pinedale (detention facility)


US Gov Name Pinedale Assembly Center, California
Facility Type Temporary Assembly Center
Administrative Agency Wartime Civil Control Administration
Location Pinedale, California (36.84 lat, -119.80 lng)
Date Opened May 7, 1942
Date Closed July 23, 1942
Population Description Held people from Sacramento and El Dorado Counties in California; also held people from Oregon and Washington.
General Description Located 8 miles north of downtown Fresno, California.
Peak Population 4,792 (1942-06-29)
Exit Destination Tule Lake, Poston
National Park Service Info


The Pinedale Assembly Center was one of fifteen temporary detention centers (euphemistically called "assembly centers") administered by the Wartime Civil Control Administration. Most Japanese Americans forcibly removed from the West Coast were sent to one of these centers during the spring and summer of 1942 while the more permanent concentration camps were being prepared.

Parameters[edit]

The Pinedale Assembly Center was located eight miles north of downtown Fresno and only about twelve miles from the Fresno Assembly Center. It was built on a former mill workers housing area and before that was the site of a lumber yard operated by the Sugar Pine Lumber Company. The detention facility was populated from May 7 to July 23, a total of 78 days.

The camp was made up of ten blocks, each with twenty-six buildings, with a separate block for administration and military police.

The Pinedale staff was headed by Fred P. Hauck, the center's manager. Other staffers included Daniel C. Roberts, work director; William H. Weller, director, mess and lodging; Frank L. Brault, field property accounts section officer; George H. King, service director; Donald H. McQueen, supervisor of supplies; James B. Middleton, chief of fire department; and Al G. Johns, chief of police.[1]

After Japanese Americans left the camp, Camp Pinedale was established on the site on August 1, 1942, to house soldiers training as army air forces signal technicians. In July 1944, it became home of the 840th Army Air Forces Specialized Depot. It was deactivated in February 1947.

Population[edit]

The population of Pinedale Assembly Center was made up largely of Japanese Americans from Washington and Oregon. Because the WCCA was not able to find a third facility in the Pacific Northwest (beside the Puyallup, Washington and Portland, Oregon facilities) and because Pinedale was deemed to have excess capacity due to its proximity to the Fresno site, large numbers of Japanese Americans from the northern states were transported south. The over 4,000 former Pacific Northwest residents thus made up nearly 85% of the population at Pinedale. The remaining population of 700+ mostly came from the Fresno area.

The total of 4,823 inmates were held here, with a peak population of 4,792.

Most of the Pinedale inmates from the Pacific Northwest were transferred to Tule Lake, while those from California mostly were sent to Poston, with a few to Gila River.

Camp Life[edit]

• Pinedale had one of the most extreme climates of temporary detention center sites, with temperatures reaching 110°, with inmates being given salt tablets.

• Nine weekly issues of the Pinedale Logger newspaper were issued between May 23 and July 14.[2]

Remembrance[edit]

Pinedale Assembly Center was one of the twelve California temporary detention centers to share California Historical Landmark #934, so named in 1980.

On February 16, 2009, the Pinedale Remembrance Plaza was dedicated. The 7,000 square foot plaza is located at 625 W. Allvuial Avenue in Fresno and features a water fountain designed by Gerard Tsutakawa surrounded by twelve storyboards that tell the story of Japanese American incarceration and Pinedale.

For More Information[edit]

Burton, Jeffery F., Mary M. Farrell, Florence B. Lord, and Richard W. Lord. Confinement and Ethnicity: An Overview of World War II Japanese American Relocation Sites. Western Archeological and Conservation Center, National Park Service, 1999, 2000. Foreword by Tetsuden Kashima. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2002. The Pinedale section of 2000 version accessible online at http://www.nps.gov/history/history/online_books/anthropology74/ce16e.htm.

The California State Military Museum. "Historic California Posts: Camp Pinedale". http://www.militarymuseum.org/CpPindale.html.

Gruenewald, Mary Matsuda. Looking Like the Enemy: My Story of Imprisonment in Japanese-American Internment Camps. Troutdale, OR: NewSage Press, 2005.

Tamura, Leslie K. "Pinedale Remembrance Plaza Honors the JA Story," Pacific Citizen, Feb. 20, 2009. http://pacificcitizen.org/node/196.

Footnotes[edit]

  1. Pinedale Logger, June 6, 1942, p. 6
  2. "Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers," Library of Congress, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn94052757/.