11 Most Endangered Historic Places

Minidoka National Historic Site

Year Listed: 2007
Location: Jerome, Idaho
Threat: Poor Public Policy, Development

Significance

On February 19, 1942 President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 which legally permitted the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.  From 1942 to 1945 the War Relocation Authority removed over 120,000 US residents of Japanese descent to ten internment camps throughout the Western United States. More than two-thirds of internees at the ten Relocation Centers were American citizens by birth. The Minidoka Relocation Center in south central Idaho was one of the largest camps, home to nearly 10,000 detainees throughout the war. The camp was over 33,000 acres and contained more than 600 buildings including administration and warehouse buildings, 44 residential blocks, schools, fire stations, hospital, post office and an assortment of shops and stores, and a cemetery.

Designated a National Monument in 2001 and a National Historic Site (NHS) in 2008, Minidoka stands as a stark reminder of a darker side of our country's history and is an important site in the history of American civil and human rights. Former internees and their descendants still return to Minidoka each year on an annual pilgrimage. Now a unit of the National Park System, the Minidoka National Historic Site is in the process of developing interpretive and visitor services at the site.