Heart Mountain Wyoming Interpretive Learning Center
The Heart Mountain War Relocation Center, named after nearby Heart Mountain and located midway between the towns of Cody and Powell in northwest Wyoming, was one of ten concentration camps used for the internment of Japanese Americans evicted from the West Coast Exclusion Zone during World War II.
This site was managed before the war by the federal Bureau of Reclamation for a major irrigation project. Construction of the 650 military-style barracks and surrounding guard towers began in June 1942, and the camp opened on August 11, when the first Japanese Americans arrived by train from the Pomona, Santa Anita and Portland assembly centers. The camp would hold a total of 13,997 Japanese Americans over the next three years, with a peak population of 10,767, making it the third-largest "town" in Wyoming before it closed on November 10, 1945.
Heart Mountain is best known for many of its younger residents' challenging the controversial draft of Nisei males from camp in order to highlight the loss of their rights through the incarceration. The Heart Mountain Fair Play Committee, led by Frank Emi and several others, was particularly active in this resistance, encouraging internees to refuse military induction until they and their families were released from camp and had their civil rights restored. Heart Mountain had the highest rate of draft resistance of all ten camps, with 85 young men and seven Fair Play Committee leaders ultimately sentenced and imprisoned for Selective Service Act violations. (At the same time, 800 Japanese American men ? volunteers and draftees ? joined the American military from Heart Mountain. In 1944, internees dedicated an Honor Roll listing the names of these soldiers, located near the camp's main gate.)
In 1988 and 1992 Congress passed laws to apologize to Japanese Americans for the injustices during the war and to pay compensation to survivors of the camps and their descendants. The site of the Heart Mountain War Relocation Center is considered to retain the highest integrity of the ten incarceration centers constructed during World War II. The street grid and numerous foundations are still visible. Four of the original barracks survive in place. A number of others sold and moved after the war have been identified in surrounding counties and may one day be returned to their original locations. In early 2007, 124 acres (50.2 ha) of the center were listed as a National Historic Landmark. The Federal Bureau of Reclamation owns 74 acres (29.9 ha) within the landmark boundary and currently administers the site. The remaining 50 acres (20.2 ha) were purchased by the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation, a nonprofit organization established in 1996 to memorialize the center's internees and to interpret the site's historical significance. The Foundation runs the Heart Mountain Interpretive Center, opened in 2011.
-- From Wikipedia