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Amache National Historic Site is now Colorado’s newest national park

More than 10,000 people were incarcerated at Amache from 1942-1945, two-thirds of whom were Japanese American citizens
amache national historic site
Camp Amache
Posted at 11:12 AM, Feb 16, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-16 13:15:00-05

DENVER – A former internment camp in southeast Colorado where Japanese Americans were incarcerated during World War II is now home to the state’s newest national park.

“As a nation, we must face the wrongs of our past in order to build a more just and equitable future,” said Secretary Deb Haaland, who visited the Amache site in February 2022, shortly after the U.S. Senate passed the Amache National Historic Site Act via unanimous consent. “Today’s establishment of the Amache National Historic Site will help preserve and honor this important and painful chapter in our nation’s story for future generations.”

The Amache National Historic Site, which currently covers 10,000 acres near Granada in Prowers County, joins other Japanese American internment camp sites protected by the National Park System, including Manzanar and Tule Lake in California, Minidoka in Idaho (and partially Washington), and Hono‘uli‘uli in Hawaii.

Amache, also known as the Granada Relocation Center, was one of 10 internment camps established by the War Relocation Authority during World War II to detain Japanese Americans who were forced from their homes on the West Coast by the U.S. government under the terms of Executive Order 9066, according to the National Park Service.

More than 10,000 people were incarcerated at Amache from 1942-1945, which housed 7,310 people at its speak, two-thirds of whom were U.S. citizens.

Amache closed on Oct. 15, 1945.

American Internment: the fight to preserve Amache

“Amache’s addition to the National Park System is a reminder that a complete account of the nation’s history must include our dark chapters of injustice,” National Park Service director Chuck Sams said. “To heal and grow as a nation we need to reflect on past mistakes, make amends, and strive to form a more perfect union.”   

Amache’s historic building foundations and road alignments are largely intact, preserved through the years by Amache survivors and their descendants, the Town of Granada, the Amache Preservation Society, and other individuals, institutions and organizations, NPS officials said.

Currently, the site consists of a historic cemetery, a monument, concrete building foundations, a road network, and several reconstructed and restored structures from the World War II era including a barrack, recreation hall, guard tower and water tank.

Amache was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on May 18, 1994, and designated a National Historic Landmark on February 10, 2006. It is maintained by the Amache Preservation Society, established by John Hopper, a social studies teacher and principal of Granada High School. He also runs the Amache Museum, where he spends hours each week giving tours of the site.

He told Denver7 in May 2021 that the history of Amache has become deeply personal for him.

“I became emotionally attached to the individuals and families that were here. And listening to their stories overwhelms me. It’s a part of me,” Hopper said.

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