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Official name: Gila River Relocation Center
Location: 45 miles southeast of Phoenix, in Pinal County, Arizona, near Sacaton; the Superstition Mountains loomed in the distance
Land: Leased from the Pima Indian Reservation
Size: 17,000 acres; the center was divided into two camps: Canal (209.5 acres) and Butte (789.25 acres)
Climate: Desert; summer temperatures reached 125 degrees. The average daily high temperatures for July, August and September 1942 were 109.6, 104.0, and 99.7 degrees, respectively. Though not as bad as some other camps, duststorms were also a problem here
Origin of camp population: Mostly from Los Angeles (4,952), Fresno (1,972), Santa Barbara (1,797), San Joaquin (815), Solano (695), Contra Costa and Ventura Counties (583)
Via "assembly centers": Most came via Turlock (3,566), Tulare (4,951) and Santa Anita (1,294) "Assembly Centers"; nearly 3,000 came directly to Gila and another 2,000 came from Jerome upon its closing
Rural/Urban: Roughly equal split Peak population: 13,348
Date of peak: December 30, 1942
Opening date: July 20, 1942
Closing date: Canal Camp: September 28, 1945 Butte Camp: November 10, 1945
Project director(s): Lewis J. Korn, Eastburn Smith, Robert B. Cozzens, L. H. Bennett and Douglas M. Todd
Community analysts: James H. Barnett and G. Gordon Brown
JERS fieldworkers: Shotaro Hikida, Inoue (first name not listed), Charles Kikuchi, Y. Okuno, Joe Omachi, and Earle T. Yusa
Newspaper(s): Gila News-Courier (September 12, 1942 September 5, 1945); Gila Bulletin (September 8-28, 1945)
Percent who answered question 28 of the loyalty questionnaire positively: 90.5
Number and percentage of eligible male citizens inducted directly into armed forces: 487 (5.0%)
Industry: A camouflage net factory operated from fall 1942 to May 1943; a model warship factory produced 800 models for the navy
Miscellaneous characteristics: Like Poston, Gila was on Indian Reservation land. Unlike Poston, however, WRA director Milton Eisenhower refused to relinquish administrative control of the camp to the Office of Indian Affairs, probably because of the potential for profitable agricultural enterprise here. Much of the administrative staff at Gila came from Office of Indian Affairs personnel.
Image credit: Gift of George Teruo Esaki, Japanese American National Museum (96.25.8A)

Camp Related Materials from the Japanese American National Museum

America's Concentration Concentration Camps sites on the Internet

Bibliography of Japanese Americans and America's Concentration Camps


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