One of the many things that makes this country great is its willingness to remember inglorious moments in its past, such as the internment of 110,000 Japanese-Americans during World War II. Most of the 13,000 Japanese-Americans imprisoned in central Idaho were from Oregon, Alaska, and Washington, including Bainbridge Island where a memorial stands today that is considered part of Minidoka National Historic Site.
Guard tower, film, Honor Roll, barrack, mess hall, baseball field, root cellar
The site in Jerome, Idaho now has a new visitor center that shows an excellent film. From there (or the guard tower) you can access the 1.6-mile interpretive trail. There was a portion of the museum at Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument dedicated to Minidoka National Historic Site, but that may not be there anymore.
A 1.6-mile trail passes historic structures lined with many interpretive signs. Highlights include the root cellar, baseball field, and a tarpaper mess hall.
The guard tower on the North Side Canal stands near the Honor Roll, which was recreated to match one from the 1940s that listed Japanese-Americans serving in the U.S. armed forces.
The main access road is paved, but some of the surrounding farm roads are dirt. Follow driving directions on the park website, and note that the site is about an hour away from the town of Minidoka, Idaho. You can park at the guard tower or just down the road at the new visitor center’s gravel parking lot.
Bruneau Dunes State Park offers camping south of Interstate 90 and is a fun spot to visit with sandboards available for rental.
Manzanar National Historic Site (California)
Tule Lake National Monument (California)
Explore More – Minidoka War Relocation Center was the seventh largest city in Idaho on March 1, 1943; what was its maximum population?