Posts Tagged ‘Heart Mountain WY’

Heart Mountain: coyotes and wandering cattle

June 2, 2009

Frank Inouye was shocked and saddened in 1942 when his family was sent to a relocation center in the barren landscape of northwestern Wyoming. This was not the beauty of Yellowstone National Park 60 miles to the west, this was hardscrabble land between Cody and Powell, Wyoming. Frank wrote of the place:

Who would have thought, a year ago, that I, a proud yet slightly bewildered citizen of a great Metropolis — Los Angeles — would one day leave … for this!! And yet, here I am, companion to the wolves and coyotes and jackrabbits and ticks and wandering cattle, together with ten thousands other people who are equally amazed at finding themselves thousands of miles from home…. Somehow, however, we take it in stride and live our lives as peacefully and comfortably as possible.



Article explores historic status of Heart Mountain

May 26, 2009

An article today in the Powell [WY] Tribune examines the possibility of the National Park Service managing the former WWII-era Heart Mountain Relocation Camp. The site has been preserved and documented for years by the private, non-profit Heart Mountain, Wyoming Foundation.

Powell_HM historic

The foundation is asking Wyoming’s Congressional delegation to authorize a special resource study that would recommend whether the site should become a National Historic Site managed by the National Park Service.

Foundation president Dave Reetz said the group isn’t necessarily advocating Park Service management; they just want to examine all the options.

A special resource study, he said, asks for a great deal of public input — from interested community members, to former internees, to present-day adjoining land owners.

“We would be remiss as an organization in not having this done,” he said….

The relocation camp was built on some 20,000 acres, 4,600 of that Bureau of Reclamation acreage. After the camp was dissolved in 1945, the majority of the property was transferred to private ownership.

Today, only 124 acres of the camp remain — 74 belonging to the Bureau of Reclamation. The remaining 50 acres — where [a] learning center (currently under construction) sits — are owned by the Heart Mountain, Wyoming Foundation.

Frank and his time at Heart Mountain camp

May 26, 2009

A year and a half ago, I started a blog about the Lincoln Highway, the first coast-to-coast road across the U.S. I really enjoy keeping others informed about people and places along the Lincoln, and I probably learn more than anyone every day. So I’m very excited to begin blogging about a subject I’ve been working on at times for a decade, the story of Frank T. Inouye.

Frank grew up in Los Angeles, an all-American boy of Japanese parents on the eve of World War II. He did lots of interesting things but what left the greatest impact on him was his internment at Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Wyoming during World War II. He likewise made an impact at Heart Mountain, speaking out when the U.S. Army came looking for recruits. If you think he was bewildered and angry, you’d be right.


I’ll be writing regularly about Frank and my efforts, along with his family, to publish his story. It can be termed a memoir or an autobiography, but whatever you call it, it’s a moving, funny, insightful look at growing up in America in the 1930s and ’40s, all while looking — to many — like the enemy.