Amache, sometimes also called the “Granada Relocation Center” in Colorado, was one of 10 sites used to incarcerate Japanese Americans who had been forcibly removed from the West Coast by the United States during World War II. The site was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1994 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2006.
Now, in an important step taken to “permanently protect the site for future generations and help tell the history of Japanese American incarceration during World War II,” President Joseph Biden has signed the Amache National Historic Site Act into law, which designates Amache as part of the National Park System.
“As a nation, we must face the wrongs of our past to build a more just and equitable future,” Deb Haaland, Secretary of the Interior, said in a statement. “I applaud President Biden and the bipartisan action in Congress that has ensured this important and painful chapter in our nation’s story is preserved and honored for the generations to come. After visiting Amache and meeting with survivors and descendants, I was moved by their resilience and the way in which Colorado communities came together during and after the injustice to support Japanese Americans. May we all be inspired to do the same today for all our fellow citizens.”
Executive Order 9066 And Amache
On February 19, 1942, ten weeks after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. The act authorized the U.S. government to remove and incarcerate “any and all persons” from areas of the country which were considered vulnerable to attack or sabotage. Nearly 75,000 U.S. citizens of Japanese ancestry were taken into custody, as were another 45,000 Japanese nationals who were living in the U.S. but had been denied citizenship due to their ancestry.
More than 10,000 people were incarcerated at Amache from 1942 to 1945. At its peak, 7,310 people — two-thirds of whom were U.S. citizens — were housed there.
Amache, which is open to the public, is currently managed by the Amache Preservation Society and is owned by the Town of Granada, Colorado. It consists of a historic cemetery, a monument, and historic concrete building foundations. There also are reconstructed structures from the World War II camp-era, including a barrack, recreation hall, guard tower, and water tank.
The National Park Service will work closely with the stakeholders — including former incarcerees and their descendants as well as the Amache Preservation Society — to preserve Amache to continue those services, and “to care for the history and memories of those who were once incarcerated at this site.” What’s more, the National Park Service will work with the Town of Granada to acquire the lands, however that process may take more than one year to complete.
“It is our solemn responsibility as caretakers of America’s national treasures to tell the whole story of our nation’s heritage for the benefit of present and future generations,” said Chuck Sams, director of the National Park Service. “The National Park Service will continue working closely with key stakeholders dedicated to the preservation of Amache, and those directly impacted by the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, to preserve and interpret this significant historic site to the public.”
Know Before You Go
The Amache National Historic Site is open during daylight hours. In addition to viewing interpretive panels, visitors can use a self-guided driving and audio tour to learn more about the site.
Located just outside of Granada, the Amache National Historic Site is about a 4-hour drive from Denver. It’s also 17.5 miles from Lamar, which is served by Amtrak.