JANM Logo

The Project

The Collections

The Camps

Chronology

Resources

Official name: Tule Lake Relocation Center
Location: Klamath Falls Basin in Northern California, just south of the Oregon border. The closest town was Newell, California. Tule Lake is located just across the road from Lava Beds National Monument and the site of the Modoc War of 1872-73 Land: Federal reclamation project land
Size: 26,000 acres
Climate: Relatively mild, for a WAR RELOCATION AUTHORITY (WRA) camp site; the land was a dry lake bed 4,000 feet above sea level covered with sagebrush
Origin of camp population: Mostly from Sacramento (4,984), King, Wash. (2,703), Placer (1,807), Pierce, Wash. (946), Yuba (476), and Hood River, Or. (425) Counties
Via "assembly centers": Most came via Sacramento (4,671), Pinedale (4,011) or Marysville (2,455) "Assembly Centers"; another 3,166 came directly to Tule Lake
Rural/Urban: Roughly equal split
Peak population: 18,789; peak population occurred after Tule Lake had become a "segregation center"
Date of peak: December 25, 1944
Opening date: May 27, 1942
Closing date: March 20, 1946; Tule Lake closed as a "segregation center"
Project director(s): Elmer Shirrell, Harvey Coverly and Raymond Best
Community analysts: Marvin K. Opler
JERS fieldworkers: Frank S. Miyarnoto, James Sakoda, Tamotsu Shibutani, Tetsuo Najima and Chet Yamauchi
Newspaper: Tulean Dispatch (June 15, 1942-October 30, 1943)
Percent who answered question 28 of the loyalty questionnaire positively: 84.4
Number and percentage of eligible male citizens inducted directly into armed forces: 57 (0.5 percent); Tule Lake had the lowest-percentage of eligible male citizens inducted into the armed forces
Industry: Tule Lake had a cabinet shop and a bakery that produced goods for internal consumption
Miscellaneous Characteristics: Tule Lake was beset by much unrest even prior to segregation. A farm laborers' strike occurred on August 15, 1942, over the lack of promised goods and salaries. Packing shed workers struck in September, while a mess hall workers' protest took place in October 1942. Thc unrest culminated in large numbers of people refusing to register, leading to Tule Lake's designation as the "segregation center."

With the decision to segregate the "loyal" from the "disloyal" on the basis of the 1943 loyalty questionnaire, Tule Lake was chosen as the camp where "disloyals" would be isolated. Tule Lake became "Tule Lake Segregation Center" in the fall of 1943. At that time, "loyal" Tuleans were supposed to be moved to another camp while "disloyals" from the other camps came to Tule Lake; however, many such "loyals" declined another move and stayed on at Tule Lake.
Image credit: Gift of Michi Weglyn and Walter M. Weglyn, Japanese American National Museum (96.33.2)

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


CLASC Project || Hirasaki National Resource Center
what's new || general || events || store || museum departments || national school project || pavilion || home

(c) 1998 Japanese American National Museum