Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Alfred "Al" Miyagishima Interview
Narrator: Alfred "Al" Miyagishima
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Denver, Colorado
Date: May 13, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-malfred-01-0017

AM: There wasn't that much to do, you know. If you went around, I suppose that lot of, lot of 'em went around trying to pilfer pieces of lumber to build things, but that was because they had lumber scraps here and there. And I don't know whether they just allowed anybody to go in there, but they used to go in there at nighttime and take some pieces of lumber to built porches and stuff for their little barracks, maybe build a, a swamp cooler, you'd be surprised at the ingenuity. They'd take a piece of wood and make it into something, they'd find piece here and a piece there and build things with it.

TI: So explain what a swamp cooler is. What's a swamp cooler?

AM: Well, a swamp cooler is, you know, it got to 110, 120 degrees there in the summertime in Arizona. And a swamp cooler is nothing more than a box built on the outside, maybe the box would be a cubic yard lined with excelsior, and they would run water down through the excelsior with a, with an electric motor and a fan inside so that it'd blow the water cooled air through the excelsior into the barracks, and it'd cool you off. And in this dry climate, what you do is cool air with water, liquid, and it dries right, it dries when it comes in.

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