Roadside History, Inyo County
Owens Valley, Sierra Nevada Mountains, California

Manzanar War Relocation Camp
WWII Internment Camp in the High Desert

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If you're in the vicinity of Big Pine, you might be interested to know of a rather unique historical place to visit.  The Manzanar War Relocation Center is located 31 miles south of Big Pine just off Highway 395, and 12 miles north of Lone Pine. The site is directly beside Hwy 395 so very easy to check out, even for a few minutes. If you're riding along on Hwy 395, and spot this guard tower pictured below, you're there.
Japanese-Americans were interned here for the duration of WWII, spanning 1942 to 1945.  All that remains are the remnants of the internment camp and plans are underway to provide facilities to visitors.  The Manzanar National Historic Site contains 550 acres and was only recently recognized by Congress in 1992.  During the early 1940's, the site spanned 6000 acres and held around 10,000 people. 

A self-supporting facility was built up in the desert that ranged from an airport, reservoir, nearby agriculture areas, and the detention area.  The primary 550 acre detention center was ringed in barbed wire fences with overlooking guard towers. 

Little remains of the camp, although there are several buildings to check out.  Out of the ten such camps built during that time, Manzanar is regarded as one of the best preserved to view.  

Beginning in 2006, the site is undergoing an expansion and build up by state funds. A new replica of a guard tower has been constructed beside Hwy 395, and in for gymnasium, there is now a museum to visit. There is a self-guided driving tour, and primarily what you'll find is the foundations of the camp buildings, not much else. The historical value alone though is worth the stop though.

To view additional artifacts from the Manzanar War Relocation Center such as photos, paintings, and drawings- check out the Eastern California Museum located five miles north in Independence. 

The museum is 3 blocks west of the courthouse and is closed Tuesdays, New Years, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Admission is by donation.

More Info:  Manzanar Information, c/o Superintendent; Death Valley National Monument; Death Valley, CA 92328

Click for additional information about the 
New Denver Internment Camp
, British Columbia.

Click for additional information about 
Canadian interment of Japanese-Canadians in WWII


Click on Hybrid, you can still see the original streets of the camp

Related Pages:

National Park Service - Manazanar

Manzanar - Wikipedia

Owens Valley History - Manzanar

California Ghost Towns - Manzanar

Nearby Roads:

Highway 375 - Extraterrestrial Highway

Highway 120 - Tioga Pass

Highway 168 - Westgard Pass

White Mountain Ranger District
798 North Main Street
Bishop, California 93514