The Granada Relocation Center was one of ten camps built by the wartime War Relocation Authority to house Japanese Americans relocated from the West Coast of the United States under the terms of Executive Order 9066. The Executive Order authorized the military to create restricted zones from which any and all people could be excluded based on “military necessity,” but it was applied only to Japanese Americans and only on the West Coast of the United States. Granada was occupied from August 1942 to October 1945. It housed at its peak more than 7,000 Japanese Americans, both long-term resident aliens and native-born citizens, in tar-paper-covered barracks surrounded by guard towers and barbed wire fences.
In April, 1942, Colorado governor Ralph L. Carr, a Republican, was the only Western governor to indicate that Japanese American evacuees were welcome in his state. Because Granada’s project director was unusually sensitive to the difficulties facing the evacuees, Granada avoided the conflict and occasional violence that occurred at some of the other relocation centers. Although all of the major buildings are gone, the system of roadways and most of the barracks foundations survive in good condition. Driving the miles of roads, it is easy to get a sense of the extent of the residential area of the camp (the relocation center was the third largest city in Colorado during the war) and of its original layout. One of only three surviving relocation center cemeteries is located at Granada. In 1945 evacuees placed a memorial to those who had died at the camp inside a small building at the cemetery. This relocation center was designated a National Historic Landmark in February, 2006 for its national importance in the historic context of Japanese Americans in World War II.
Images for top banner from NPS Historic Photograph Collection (Rainbow over Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, by Thomas C. Gray, [HPC-001345]) and the Palau Historic Preservation Office.