On December 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. That event, 76 years ago today, marked the United States’ entry into World War II and touched off events that led to tens of thousands of Japanese-American citizens and long-term residents being removed from their homes on the West Coast and shipped to internment camps in the nation’s interior.
The Heart Mountain Relocation Center, located between Powell and Cody, Wyoming, was one of these confinement camps. The site marked its 75th anniversary in 2017. Heart Mountain’s facilities were constructed in the summer of 1942, with the first incarcerees arriving by train on August 12 of that year.
The Wyoming State Library invites you to explore this piece of the state’s history in our new online exhibit, “Heart Mountain Japanese-American Internment Camp.” The exhibit begins with the story of the forced relocation and delves into the life of the camp — farming, education, medical services, and recreation. Of particular note were Japanese-Americans who enlisted or were drafted from the internment camps and fought in the military.
After the war, incarcerees were left to try to rebuild their lives. Many had lost homes, businesses, savings, and more. It was not until the 1990s that survivors received redress payments and an apology from the government.