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Groundbreaking for Manzanar Historic Site barracks reconstruction scheduled for Saturday

February 9, 2010 |  1:41 pm

Manzanar winter street scene, circa 1943.

The public is invited to attend a barracks groundbreaking ceremony this Saturday at Manzanar National Historic Site, on U.S. 395 between the cities of Lone Pine and Independence.

The 1 p.m. event is being hosted by the National Park Service, Manzanar History Association, and the Friends of Manzanar, and will mark the beginning of reconstruction on Barracks 1 and 8, which were a part of Block 14.

In operation from 1942 to 1945, Manzanar War Relocation Center included 36 blocks, each with 14 barracks buildings, a mess hall, recreation building, latrines and laundry rooms. After the war, all but three of the buildings were sold for scrap or relocated.

"All Americans had to adapt during World War II, including Japanese Americans confined at Manzanar," said park superintendent Les Inafuku.

Barracks 1 will appear as it would have when internees first arrived at Manzanar; Barracks 8 will be reconstructed to represent barracks life in 1945.

"Future visitors to Block 14 can learn how Japanese Americans lived at Manzanar, and improved their living situations. Our elders can still inspire us to improve our lives and help shape our great nation."

The event is free, and includes the opportunity to meet and speak with former internees, who will gather in the Interpretive Center to share their memories and experiences of Manzanar.

For more information and directions, visit Manzanar's website or call (760) 878-2194.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Manzanar winter street scene, circa 1943. Credit: Ansel Adams / Library of Congress

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