On-line Book
Book Cover
Cover Page


Table of Contents





Brief History

Gila River


Heart Mountain







Tule Lake

Isolation Centers

Add'l Facilities

Assembly Centers

DoJ and US Army Facilities



Appendix A

Appendix B

Appendix C

Confinement and Ethnicity:
Barbed wire divider
An Overview of World War II
Japanese American Relocation Sites

by J. Burton, M. Farrell, F. Lord, and R. Lord

clip art

Chapter 16 (continued)
Assembly Centers

Santa Anita Assembly Center, California

Located at the world-famous Santa Anita Racetrack (Figures 16.46 and 16.47), the Santa Anita Assembly Center was the longest occupied assembly center, used for 215 days, from March 27 to October 27. It was also the largest assembly center, housing a total of 19,348 persons from Los Angeles, San Diego, and Santa Clara counties, with a maximum at one time of 18,719. Those interned lived in hastily constructed barracks and in existing stables, with 8,500 in converted horse stalls (Figures 16.48 and 16.49).

Santa Anita Assembly Center
Figure 16.46. Santa Anita Assembly Center.
(National Archives photograph)
Construction underway at the Santa Anita Assembly Center
Figure 16.47. Construction underway at the Santa Anita Assembly Center.
(National Archives photograph)

The assembly center was divided into seven districts: District 1 had 21 stable buildings converted into barracks, District 2 had 20 stable building, District 3 had 19 stable buildings, District 4 had four stable buildings and 113 freshly-built military barracks, District 5 had 161 barracks, District 6 had 160 barracks, and District 7 had 155 barracks (Lehman 1970). Bachelors were housed in the grandstand building. There were six recreation buildings, six showers, six mess halls (referred to by color; Blue, Red, Green, White, Orange, Yellow), a hospital, and a laundry (Figure 16.50; Santa Anita Pacemaker various issues 1942). There was a large warehouse and an automobile storage yard in the racetrack infield and the grandstand seating area was used for a camouflage net factory which employed the Japanese Americans.

1942 aerial photograph of the Santa Anita Assembly Center
Figure 16.50. 1942 aerial photograph of the Santa Anita Assembly Center; A - automobile storage, G - grandstand (housing), H - hospital, L - laundry, M - mess hall, MP - military police and administration area, R - recreation building, S - showers, W - warehouse, 1-6 - barracks districts.
(adapted from DeWitt 1943)

There is no historical marker at the site. The areas where the assembly center barracks had been (Districts 4-7) are now paved parking lots, and the District 3 and 4 stables and the military police compound are now a large shopping mall (Santa Anita Fashion Park). However, the massive grandstand and other racetrack buildings present in the 1940s remain (Figures 16.51 and 16.52), as do the horse stalls of Districts 1 and 2. The stables, of wood, are the same as in aerial and historical photographs (Figures 16.53 and 16.54). Security personnel at the stables mentioned that Japanese Americans occasionally return to see their former homes. There are presently as many people (stable workers and their families) as horses living in the stall area.

Photo Album

Continued Continue


Last Modified: Fri, Sep 1 2000 07:08:48 pm PDT

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