Granada War Relocation Center

Welcome to the Atlas Obscura Community discussion of Granada War Relocation Center in Colorado. Ask questions or share travel tips, experiences, pictures, or general comments with the community. For the story behind this place, check out the Atlas Obscura entry:

My wife and I were through this area a few years ago and just stumbled onto this. We stopped at the little museum in town which was staffed by…two high school kids. We were very surprised by this but upon talking to them, we found out that this is a project through the local school that gave the kids credits for working at the museum during the summer months. While obviously not professional historians, the kids were reasonably knowledgeable about what happened there and gave us a personal tour of the museum.

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It should be noted “Japanese internment” is grammatically and factually incorrect. These were Japanese-American internment camps. The over 2/3rds of these prisoners were American citizens interned by the American government on executive order by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

See the following sources for more information if you are interested in learning more about this dark part of American history:




https://densho.org/american-concentration-camps/

George Takei is a survivor of one of these internment camps and a vocal advocate for remembering this part of US history. In July 2019, he published a graphic memoir of his time as a child in one such Japanese-American internment camp, in They Called Us Enemy. He also produced Allegiance, a Broadway musical based on Japanese-American internment during WWII.
His TED talk on the subject can be found here:


For the graphic memoir: They Called Us Enemy / Top Shelf Productions

Thanks a great deal for all the information, truly appreciated :fist:. The entry has been updated to accurately convey this history. Thanks again.

@saabar - I would go so far as to say that these were concentration camps for Americans - and leave out the prisoner’s ethnic heritage. The whole effort is a stain on our nation’s history.

Of note, the “Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism During World War II” gives a monumental FU to the relocation effort by listing, specifically Exective Order 9066. That, and the efforts of the 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442 Regimental Combat Team.

As one drives by the Memorial, one can see - in really, really big letters - the names of the concentration camps.

When I added this site to the itinerary for the road trip I took with my wife last fall, I had the thought that it could be part of a themed “history of racial intolerance” tour of southeast Colorado (not trying to pick on southeast Colorado–I’m sure that you could do a comparable tour in most areas of this country or other countries). There’s the Sand Creek Massacre site nearby, along with Fort Wise, from which the Sand Creek perpetrators embarked. I also found documentation of a lynching of an African American Pullman porter in La Junta in 1902.

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That does sound like an idea you could apply all over the country, would be interesting if someone could document them. When you mentioned this I thought of a story we had up not long ago about the efforts by the state of Michigan to change the language on their historical markers.

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This all hits very close to home, as my father and his family were all imprisoned at Amache.

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While Colorado’s history has its share of questionable history, there are bright spots where people did the right thing for the right reasons. When it comes to the internment of Japanese-Americans, Ralph Carr, the Governor of Colorado at the time, refused to follow the order. No Coloradoans of Japanese ancestry in the state were displaced or had their lands confiscated. He was vilified and his actions ended his career but he stood his ground. The Japanese-American community honor him at Sakura Square and the State of Colorado have honored him by naming the state justice center after him and naming a highway after him.

Further, while Chivington is a name that should never be uttered, Silas Soule and Joseph Cramer refused to let their companies participate. They held fire. Soule was murdered for his efforts.

Edward Wynkoop, who had provided protection for the Cheyenne at Sand Creek, was instrumental in leading the commission that condemned Chivington’s actions and resulted in history recording it as a massacre instead of a “battle”.

If you want to visit somewhere that the Native Americans got a little payback, Beecher Island is about 110 miles north of Sand Creek. Here, in 1868, a group of 50 volunteers had plans on attacking Native villages (sound familiar) but were caught by Sioux, Arapahoe and Cheyennes on a small island in the middle of the Arikiree River (a creek, really) and besieged for 10 days. 5 of the volunteers were killed including Lt. Fredrick Beecher…nephew to Harriet Beecher-Stowe.