Table of Contents
DoJ and US Army Facilities
Confinement and Ethnicity:
An Overview of World War II
Japanese American Relocation Sites
by J. Burton, M. Farrell, F. Lord, and R. Lord
Minidoka Relocation Center
The Minidoka Relocation Center was located in Jerome County, Idaho, 15
miles east of Jerome and 15 miles north of Twin Falls. The relocation
center was also known as Hunt, after the official Post Office
designation for the area, since there was already a town of Minidoka in
Idaho, 50 miles east.
Figure 9.1. North Side Canal.
(Francis Stewart photograph, Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley)
The relocation center lies within the Snake River
Plain at an elevation of 4000 feet. The natural vegetation of this high
desert area is dominated by sagebrush and other shrubs. Dominant
geological features of the area are thin basaltic lava flows and cinder
cones overlying thick rhyolite ash. The most notable topographic feature
at the site is the wide meandering man-made North Side Canal (Figure
9.1). For the most part, the canal formed the southern boundary of the
33,000-acre relocation center reserve (Figure 9.2).
Figure 9.2. Minidoka Relocation Center.
(click image for larger size (~48K) )
Five miles of barbed wire fencing and eight watch
towers surrounded the administrative and residential portions of the
relocation center, which was located on 950 acres in the west-central
portion of the reserve. Built by the Morrison-Knudsen Company,
construction began June 5, 1942, and the relocation center was in
operation from August 10, 1942 to October 28, 1945. The maximum
population was 7,318; evacuees were from Oregon, Washington, and Alaska
(Figure 9.3). In early 1943, all of the Bainbridge Island (Washington)
residents interned at the Manzanar Relocation Center under the authority
of the first Civilian Exclusion Order were moved to Minidoka. The
transfer was at their own request, not only to be closer to their
original home, but also because they were often at odds with their new
neighbors from Terminal Island in Los Angeles.
Figure 9.3. Residents of one barracks block.
(from Minidoka Interlude 1943)