Posted by: notsofancynancy | January 5, 2013

The Gateway to Manzanar Relocation Center

The Guard Shack at the Entrance to Manzanar

The Guard Shack at the Entrance to Manzanar

(To learn more about Manzanar click here)

I have always loved to stop at Manzanar when driving up the 395 through Owens Valley. When we first started stopping it was thick with a forest of trees. We would stop and it would provide some shade for a nice picnic. Walking around the area was like being on a treasure hunt. There was remnants of life and peoples homes. There was not much but hidden among the landscape was rock work of a time long past. With my interest peaked on day we stopped in Independence at the museum there and I got my first taste of what a Relocation Center was. I bought a book written by a girl who grew to age in the camp. I was shocked at the life they endured. It has been many years since our picnic days. They now are trying to breathe new life into Manzanar. The forest of trees have been cut down and they are trying to restore the place back to what it was in the 1940’s. It is now a museum and they are preserving the history of what really happened there. We must never forget.

A Monument in the Graveyard

A Monument in the Graveyard



  1. You’re correct – we should never forget. Beautiful scenery.

  2. Very impressed that they’re restoring this place to its original state – so important to remember what people went through here.

  3. I hope your plan is to update us occasionally about what is happening at Manzanar. My father spent quite a bit of time at Santa Anita, CA, a camp that had been a relocation center before the Army took it over. I doubt there is much left on that site.

    • I have been going to Santa Anita for quite awhile and did not know about the relocation center they until I started on this journey. I did find a newspaper clipping in my grandmother’s letters about their being German Prisoners there. Here is a link to that post.

  4. We visited Manzanar when traveling the Sierras. Wish there was more of the original relocation camp there but the musuem was very well done, and we should never forgot what life was like for those sent here.

    • It has come a long way since I first started going there. Back then there was nothing there but an overgrown forest with hidden rock work. So to me it has come a long way.

      • If that was how it once was, then yes, it has come a long way. We thoroughly enjoyed the museum and the cemetery.

  5. I know the book and I think I read it. It is certainly not a proud moment in American History.
    With that being said, the nature is certainly beautiful there.

    • It does have beautiful views. The book was certainly eye opening.

  6. They have fixed the place up recently. It used to be so neglected. Gorgeous Mountain photos!

  7. A man by the name of Toyo Miyatake took secret photos behind the barbed wire while imprisoned there. His grandson Alan Miyatake will be shooting my daughter’s wedding photos next Sunday.

    • First of all congrats on the wedding. What awesome trivia about Mr. Miyatake and neat how the son will be taking the pictures.

      Also wanted to thank you for identifying things in Dad’s Pictures! You are certainly a gem Mustang Koji!

      • You are too, kiddo! The letters are just fantastic… 🙂

  8. Interesting Nancy, thanks for posting. Why have they cut down the forests?

    • The place was overgrown with trees that were probably not there when the camp was operating. They hid a lot of secrets and secret places among the camp. One of my favorite was a koi pond lined with rock work. The first time I found the pond I could feel what a sacred place it was. Every time after I always took time to visit the waterless pond.

      • Sounds like it’s really made an impact on you, thanks for the followup. There was also a camp like this in Banff Alberta during and shortly after WWI, up until 1920 Ukrainian immigrants were rounded up, their meager belongings confiscated and put to work…we have tracked back to a past relation there….very sad indeed…they were labeled as “enemy aliens” and had to report to the police even after release.

  9. Those are such moving photographs. There is nothing there now, but so much in memory.

    • You can feel what a scared place it is. When we use to go I felt like I should talk in whispers. That was before I knew the history. Now I stop to pay my respects to those who’s lives were changed by the place.

  10. I’ve nominated you for the Blog on Fire Award! Congrats =) I hope you accept. You can check out the nomination here:

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