Sunday, August 21, 2011

Heart Mountain Learning Center - Part 2

After we left the new learning center LC and I drove only 1/2 mile up the hill in the direction of Heart Mountain and pulled onto a dirt driveway leading to boarded buildings that were part of the original internment camp.
Two long single story buildings remaining from hundreds that housed internees of the camp from 1942 until the end of the war in 1945, and the remnants of the boiler house that heated the camp hospital.
LC and I have driven past the towering smoke stack more times than I can count over the past months since arriving in Cody, but knowing that the interpretive center was scheduled to open in August we resolved to wait until we could see everything this site had to offer.
I have always been curious about the smoke stack. 
Towering over the dusty beige hills of BLM land that is so dominant in the area and standing silently among the sage.
While we could walk right up to the long barrack-like living quarters but could not see inside because all windows were covered with plywood, the old boiler house was completely surrounded by chain link fence.
I took the picture above through the fence.
Heart Mountain dominates the landscape throughout this region from Cody all the way to Powell and even beyond.
It stands in the background of what was once the Heart Mountain Internment Camp............
After spending a long time exploring the outside of the old camp buildings and taking pictures of the rich pasture land surrounding the area we drove across to the opposite side of the road where we found this.
An American flag and monument recognizing and remembering the 800 Japanese American internees of Heart Mountain who served in the military throughout WWII...............
Throughout this area there were also many plaques and information boards providing information on life in the camp.
The interpretive center has specific operating hours and an entry fee of $7 (that was waived through this weekend), but the old camp buildings and this war monument and plaques are open 24-7 for free all year long.
Both of these places turned out to be beautiful and quiet places to learn about life in the camp, and I greatly enjoyed visiting them...............
A view of the old internment camp buildings taken from the war monument across the road..............
Barracks Home

This is our barracks, squatting on the ground,
Tar papered shacks, partitioned into rooms
By sheetrock walls, transmitting every sound
Of neighbor's gossip or the sweep of brooms
The open door welcomes the refugees,
And now at least there is no need to roam
Afar: here space enlarges memories
Beyond the bounds of camp and this new home.
The floor is carpeted with dust, wind-borne
Dry alkalai, patterned with insect feet,
What peace can such a place as this impart?
We can but sense, bewildered and forlorn,
That time, disrupted by the war from neat
Routines, must now adjust within the heart.

Tojo Suyemoto Kawakami

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