Granada War Relocation Center

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Granada Relocation Center
Granada Relocation Center, Amache, Colorado. A general all over view of a section of the emergency . . . - NARA - 539071.jpg
A general view of a section of the site looking north and west.
Granada War Relocation Center is located in Colorado
Granada War Relocation Center
Location 23900 County Road FF, Granada, Colorado
Coordinates 38°2′58″N 102°19′43″W / 38.04944°N 102.32861°W / 38.04944; -102.32861Coordinates: 38°2′58″N 102°19′43″W / 38.04944°N 102.32861°W / 38.04944; -102.32861
Built 1942
Architect US Army Corps of Engineers; Lambie, Moss, Litle, and James
Governing body Local
NRHP Reference #


Significant dates
Added to NRHP May 18, 1994[1]
Designated NHL February 10, 2006[2]

The Granada War Relocation Center (also Camp Amache) was a Japanese American internment camp located in southeast Colorado about a mile west of the small farming community of Granada, south of US 50.

The camp was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 18, 1994, and designated a National Historic Landmark on February 10, 2006.[2][3]


The Center was one of ten that were created by the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7, 1941. The camp opened in August 1942 and had a maximum population of 7,318 persons.

Nearly all of those interned at the camp came from the West Coast of the U.S., mostly from the Los Angeles area. Each person was only allowed to bring one bag, therefore, many people were forced to sell what they could or give away their possessions before being forced out. This also included pets.

The camp's unofficial name quickly became Camp Amache, named after a Cheyenne Indian chief's daughter, the wife of John Prowers (the county where Camp Amache is located is named after Prowers).[4] This name change was due to a mail mix-up between the town of Granada and the camp.

The Camp Amache residential area is spread across a low hill, which prevented the flooding and mud problems which plagued other internment camps. It was surrounded by barbed-wire fencing, with eight machine-gun towers located all around the camp. However, all eight towers were rarely manned at one time, and the guns were never used. The camp had a police department which was actually worked by Japanese Americans living at the camp. Colorado Governor Ralph Lawrence Carr was one of the few to welcome the Japanese to Colorado, going against the current anti-Japanese sentiment of the times.

Boy Scout Memorial Day parade at the Granada War Relocation Center, Amache, Colorado, 1943.

Camp leaders, internees themselves, set up a separate Amache District for Boy Scouts at the camp. These Scouts still flew the American flag, notwithstanding the treatment they and their families had received from the government, as seen in the photograph at left of a Boy Scout Memorial Day parade at the camp.

Sources indicate that the high school football team lost one game in three years. One noteworthy event was when the Amache football team played the undefeated football team from Holly, Colorado, which is located just 11 miles (17.7 km) east of Amache on U.S. 50. This game was unique because Holly actually agreed to come up to the camp and play Amache on their home field. One of the Holly team players was Roy Romer, who went on to become Governor of Colorado. The Amache team won this game by a score of 7-0, the only touchdown coming from a trick play, thus the Amache team can claim to be undefeated on their own field.


Today the camp is a lonely, desolate place on the high prairie, covered by scrubby vegetation and small cacti. All but one of the buildings were removed, many having been sold at auction and hauled off. The sole remaining original building is a pumphouse beside the main water tank, both of which are still in use. Cement foundations of most of the buildings remain, and the site is largely undisturbed, though the land was sold at auction (rather than being returned to the original owners). Signs have been posted to show locations of schools, laundries, dining halls, clinics, fire station, etc. The highway signs identify the site only as Camp Amache [1].

In the southwest corner of the camp is a small cemetery and memorial dedicated to the Japanese Americans from there who volunteered to fight in Europe in World War II. Nisei from all the camps were in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the most decorated unit of its size in American military history. A large stone memorial with men's names engraved in it sits in the cemetery in memory of those who died defending the U.S. in the 442nd. The graves at the cemetery are only of children who died while at the camp.

Since 1990, the Amache Preservation Society, a Granada high school group, has worked on preservation of the site and its documents.[3][5] As a school project, Granada Undivided High School students have set up a museum for the Granada War Relocation Center.

On December 21, 2006, President George W. Bush signed H.R. 1492 into law guaranteeing $38,000,000 in federal money to restore the Granada relocation center and nine other former Japanese internment camps. "H.R. 1492". 

Notable internees[edit]

Japanese American evacuees stand or sit with their suitcases and belongings in front of an Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway passenger car on August 30, 1942. The men and women wait for the bus ride to Camp Amache, Granada Relocation Center, southeastern Colorado. U.S. War Relocation Authority photo

In media[edit]

Author Sandra Dallas uses Granada as the basis of her fictional work Tallgrass.[6]

Lily Havey, an internee at Amache, published a memoir of her time in the camp in 2014: "Gasa Gasa Girl Goes to Camp."[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. 
  2. ^ a b "Granada Relocation Center". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2007-10-16. 
  3. ^ a b "National Historic Landmark Nomination: Granada Relocation Center / Camp Amache / Amache/5PW48  PDF (182 KiB)". National Park Service. , 19.  Check date values in: |date= (help) and Accompanying photos, exterior and interior, from 19 and 19. PDF (32 KB)
  4. ^ Valerie J. Matsumoto Farming the Home Place: A Japanese American Community in California, 1919-1982 Page 119, Cornell UNiversity 1993
  5. ^ Wagner, Mary Jo (September 11, 2014) "Capturing Amache's Life Story" The American Surveyor Frederick Maryland
  6. ^ Dallas, Sandra. - Novels: Tallgrass. -
  7. ^
  • Harvey, Robert. Amache: The Story of Japanese Internment in Colorado during World War II. Dallas: Taylor Trade Publishing, 2003.
  • Johnson, Melyn. "At Home in Amache." Colorado Heritage (1989): 2-10.

External links[edit]