On the eastern plains of Colorado, the foundation ruins of a "relocation" camp can be found, a solemn reminder of Colorado history. Located one mile west and one mile south of Granada on County Road 23.5, the site is marked with a stone memorial to those interned in the camp. Perhaps most poignant of all is the tiny cemetery located just south of the site. The remains and memorials, while honoring the people forced onto the site, remind us of a sad moment in U.S. history.
In the mass hysteria following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, many Americans suddenly began to look at friends and neighbors as enemies. At the time, there were a total of 127,000 registered Japanese-Americans living in the United States. In February of 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order #9066 authorizing the U.S. Army to move all people of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast, inland to something called "War Relocation Camps." These were essentially concentration camps. It was an act that many called unconstitutional.
Colorado Governor Ralph Carr let the U.S. Army know the Japanese-Americans would be welcome in Colorado. In 1942 the War Relocation Authority acquired 8,000 acres of land (the site would grow to 12,000 acres) in southeastern Colorado. The camp was named Amache, after the Indian wife of Colorado pioneer John Prowers, for whom the county that now hosted the Amache Relocation Camp was named.
The Amache Relocation Camp was officially closed on October 15, 1945 following the end of World War II. The land was eventually sold and the building dismantled for the lumber. Within a year, Amache became a ghost town.
An impressive memorial was erected at the site in 1983, 42 years after the war. It is an honor of those who gave their lives, both as civilians and in the military, to World War II and the American cause.