Minidoka Internment National Monument, Jerome, ID


The National Park Service is in charge of governing the Minidoka Internment National Monument in Jerome, Idaho. It is seventeen miles to the north east of Twin Falls, Idaho. The area is high desert and it is north of the Snake River. The internment camp was run from 1942 through 1945 during the Second World War. There were ten camps that held Japanese Americans during this time. They contained both citizens and resident aliens that lived in the United States at this time.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order number 9066 after Pearl Harbor. This order stated that all people that were of Japanese ancestry couldn't live on the West Coast of the United States. During the time it was open more than nine thousand Japanese Americans were placed there. Most of the people were from Washington, Oregon and Alaska.

Although the internment camp was in the Jerome area they didn't want it to be confused with a Relocation Center that was in Jerome, Arkansas at the same time. Minidoka County was the next county over so they used it as the name of the internment camp instead.

The Minidoka Internment National Monument became part of the National Register of Historic Places in July of 1979. It finally became established as part of the National Park System in 2001. There are no facilities at the site for visitors nor are there any services.

There are remains at the site of the entry guard station and a waiting room. There is also a rock garden. A relocation display is at the Jerome County Museum in Jerome. South east of town they have restored barracks at the Idaho Farm and Ranch Museum.

A small marker is adjacent to the remains of the guard station. A large sign has been erected at Highway 25 and Hunt Road. This marker tells some of the history of the internment camp.

The Friends of Minidoka have an annual event in June. They sponsor a many day pilgrimage with camp survivors and the general public.

In December of 2006, President Bush signed a bill guaranteeing a large amount of money to restore the Minidoka Internment camp as well as nine other former Japanese internment camps. The President also signed the bill "Wild Sky Wilderness Act'' in May of 2008 that made the Minidoka Internment a National Historic Site instead of a U.S. National Monument.

After visiting the Minidoka Internment National Monument guests can get something to eat in Jerome. They have an assortment of fast food restaurants like McDonald's, Wendy's, Sonic Drive In, and Burger King. There are also some home cooking establishments for a home cooked meal.

Visitors can find lodgings in Jerome and Twin Falls, Idaho. Jerome has a Best Western, Days Inn and a local motel to choose from. Twin Falls has more major hotel chains to stay in.

There are local festivals, concerts, a farmer's market and sporting events in Jerome. Visitors can also find more outdoor recreation at the many State and National Parks in Idaho.

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