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1000 Japs Arrive at Manzanar Colony

By United Press

MANZANAR, Cal., March 24.—Alien Japanese and Japanese-Americans began working in their Owens Valley resettlement community today as a reception center for 60,000 Pacific Coast Japanese to be moved inland for the duration of the war.

One thousand of them, the first large contingent to evacuate Southern California coastal defense areas, arrived at the reception center last night by train, bus and automobile accompanied by a military escort. They will prepare facilities for the thousands more to come.

After their arrival they were registered by Army officers and assigned to houses and barracks provided by the Government. They were told they could not leave the 5000-acre tract set aside as a reception center.

All Volunteers

One hundred Japanese, who preceded the newcomers Saturday, had erected prefabricated houses and gave the evacuees a rousing welcome. All Japanese here now left the coastal areas voluntarily.

David Hayashi, 23, who drove a produce truck loaded with baggage up here Saturday and again yesterday, expressed surprise at the growth of the reception center over the two days he was gone.

“When we arrived Saturday,” he said, “there was only one barrack completed and the siding up on another. Now there are 28 built and ready to move into and another dozen will be ready tomorrow.”

Supper was served Army fashion. It consisted of mulligan [stew] and rice, beans and bread. Officials then distributed bedding.

Work began today on various projects around the settlement. Unskilled workers will be paid $50 a month and skilled workmen will get $94, with $15 a month deducted for subsistence.

Self-Supporting Plan

Authorities expect that the community eventually will be self-supporting. The rich lands of the Owens Valley, below the east slope of the high Sierra Nevadas, will produce more than enough foodstuffs. Skilled craftsmen among the evacuees will fabricate some of the simpler mechanical necessities... .

Manzanar is the former site of a fruit-growing community of the era preceding acquisition of most of Owens Valley by Los Angeles in the twenties. The reception center administration building occupies the site of the Manzanar apple packing plant which flourished before Los Angeles reached into the high Sierra for its water supply.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has started cleaning out old irrigation ditches west of the center to provide water for farms and gardens. The diversion from the aqueduct, at least for the moment, is incidental. A complete sewage disposal plan also is under way.

To guard the military reservation in which the center is located, there will be a battalion of 500 military police.

Residents Co-operate

Owens Valley residents, at first fearful and resentful of the economic and social implications of the concentration program, are becoming reconciled to the project and are co-operating to their utmost.

The Manzanar reception center will be a self-sufficient community, with a 150-bed hospital staffed by Japanese doctors and nurses, community kitchens, a library, motion-picture theater and houses of worship for all denominations, including Buddhism.

Prefabricated houses of various sizes will carry out the Army’s assurance that families will not be separated.

From this elevation of 3700 feet the Japanese evacuees will enjoy, if they feel that way, some of the most magnificent scenery in the United States.

Near Mt. Whitney

The camp is at the base of Mt. Whitney Range, whose topmost pinnacle, 14,496 feet above sea level—greatest elevation in the continental United States—glitters white and inspiring only 15 airline miles away.

Off to the southeast is Death Valley’s Badwater, 273 feet below sea level—America’s lowest elevation. Owens Valley, 120 miles long, lies between the high Sierra on the east and the Inyo Range on the west. The climate is bracing and it considered as healthful as can be desired.

The San Francisco News
March 24, 1942

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