Salinas (detention facility)


US Gov Name Salinas Assembly Center, California
Facility Type Temporary Assembly Center
Administrative Agency Wartime Civil Control Administration
Location Salinas, California (36.6667 lat, -121.6500 lng)
Date Opened April 27, 1942
Date Closed July 4, 1942
Population Description Held people from the Monterey Bay area of California.
General Description Located at the north end of the town of Salinas, California.
Peak Population 3,586 (1942-06-23)
Exit Destination Poston and Tule Lake
National Park Service Info

The Salinas 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

The Salinas Assembly Center was built on a fairgrounds at the north end of Salinas, a part of California's coastal Monterey Bay area. The detention facility was populated from April 27 to July 4, a total of 69 days. The camp was made up of 165 buildings, with barracks located north and east of the racetrack and with six buildings within the racetrack.

After the detention facility closed, the site was used as satellite troop housing for Fort Ord. The site now houses the California Rodeo Grounds, a small neighborhood park, and the Salinas Community Center.

Population

The population of the Salinas Assembly Center came almost entirely from the Monterey Bay area. The total population was 3,608, with a maximum of 3,594.

Upon the closing of the camp, nearly all of the inmates were transferred to the Poston, Arizona camp for long-term confinement, with a handful being sent to Tule Lake, California.

Camp Life

• The Monterey County Library opened a branch at the detention center, which was directed by Fusako Kodani.

• The camp director was E. A. Rose, who presided over a staff of fourteen.

• The Center Council, made up of fourteen inmates, was formed in mid-May, representing at least at effort at self-governnance.

• Eight weekly issues of the Village Crier newspaper were issued from May 11 to June 28.[1]

Remembrance

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

On February 19, 1984, a historical marker and Japanese garden were dedicated. It is located at the Salinas Community Center at 940 North Main Street in Salinas. A new plaque was dedicated in 2010 identifying the site as the "Day of Remembrance Memorial Garden." The site has been used as the site of annual Days of Remembrance since the 1980s.[2]

For More Information

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 Salinas section of 2000 version accessible online at http://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/online_books/anthropology74/ce16j.htm.

The Historical Marker Database. "Salinas Temporary Detention Center."

Lydon, Sandy. The Japanese in the Monterey Bay Area: A Brief History. Capitola, Calif.: Capitola Book Company, 1997.

Pederson, Rechs Ann. "Salinas Assembly Center and Poston Relocation Center." Santa Cruz Public Libraries.

"Remembrance at Assembly Center Site." Rafu Shimpo, Mar. 12, 2012. http://rafu.com/news/2012/03/remembrance-at-assembly-center-site/.

Waymarking.com. "Salinas Assembly Center—Salinas, CA."

Footnotes

  1. "Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers," Library of Congress. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn95063136/.
  2. Wyatt, Barbara, ed., Japanese Americans in World War II: National Historic Landmarks Theme Study (Washington, DC: National Historical Landmarks Program, National Park Service, 2012), 119–20.