Sacramento (detention facility)


US Gov Name Sacramento Assembly Center, California
Facility Type Temporary Assembly Center
Administrative Agency Wartime Civil Control Administration
Location Sacramento, California (38.5667 lat, -121.4833 lng)
Date Opened May 6, 1942
Date Closed June 26, 1942
Population Description Held people from Sacramento and San Joaquin Counties, California.
General Description Located 15 miles northeast of downtown Sacramento, California.
Peak Population 4,739 (1942-05-30)
Exit Destination Tule Lake
National Park Service Info

The Sacramento Assembly Center (also known as the Walerga 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 Sacramento Assembly Center was built on a former migrant labor camp site fifteen miles northeast of downtown Sacramento. Consisting of eleven blocks and 225 buildings, it was populated from May 6 to June 26, a total of 52 days.

On December 1, 1942, Camp Kohler was dedicated at the same site as a Signal Corps Replacement Center and later served as a transit depot for the air force. Ironically, Japanese Americans would once again populate the barracks at this site starting in November 1945, when Camp Kohler was made available to those returning to the area from inland concentration camps. Facing severe housing shortage at the time, some 234 families ended up staying at Camp Kohler.[1] The camp was destroyed by fire in June of 1947. The area is now part of the Foothill Farms-North Highlands residential subdivision in Sacramento.

Population[edit]

The population of the Sacramento Assembly Center came mostly from nearby Sacramento and San Joaquin Counties. The total population of the camp was 4770, with maximum of 4,739. Upon the closing of the camp, its inmates were transferred for more permanent confinement to the Tule Lake, California camp.

Remembrance[edit]

Sacramento Assembly Center was one of the twelve California temporary detention centers to share California Historical Landmark #934, so named in 1980. A historic marker consisting of historic plaque mounted on a 6,000 pound boulder was dedicated on February 28, 1987 in Walerga Park, at the northwest corner of Palm Avenue and College Oak Drive in Sacramento. An inscription titled "Lest We Forget" is is inscribed in the plaque and outlines the history of the site.[2]

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. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2002. The Sacramento section of 2000 version accessible online at http://www.nps.gov/history/history/online_books/anthropology74/ce16i.htm.

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

Footnotes[edit]

  1. Cheryl L. Cole, A History of the Japanese Community in Sacramento, 1883-1972: Organizations, Businesses and Generational Response to Majority Domination and Stereotypes (San Francisco: R & E Research Associates, 1975), 66.
  2. Pacific Citizen, Mar. 27, 1987, 1, 3; "Temporary Detention Camps for Japanese Americans—Sacramento Assembly Center", Waymarking.com. http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM4FMY.