The Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association (ESIA) is seeking to raise $40,000 to help move an original War Relocation Authority administration apartment building back to the Manzanar National Historic Site.
The apartment building, once part of what the Japanese American incarcerees called “Beverly Hills,” will show the stark contrast between the housing for the white staff at Manzanar and the tarpaper barracks of the 10,000 people who were incarcerated there during World War II.
The historic building will be an educational tool where visitors can learn the story of the incarceration of 120,000 Americans of Japanese descent and long-term immigrants, solely because of their race.
Some funds for the move have been raised through a Japanese American Confinement Site (JACS) grant and other sources.
The building’s owners are willing to donate it if the building can be moved quickly. But more funding is needed to 1) remediate hazardous materials such as lead paint; 2) transport and place the structure at the site; and 3) stabilize and weather-proof the building.
Following this, work can begin on restoring the interior and adding interpretive exhibits. Future exhibits could explore the motivations of those who chose to work at Manzanar, both the white staff and the Japanese American incarcerees.
The apartment building is located in Lone Pine and has been only minimally modified since World War II. This opportunity will not come around again, and time is of the essence. The owners need to complete the donation or sell the property to potential buyers who have already approached them.
Please consider making a donation in any amount. The ESIA is a nonprofit organization so donations are tax-deductible.
To donate online, go to the Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association’s webpage at www.ESIAonline.org. “Building a Natural Community” page will pop up. Then, hit the “SHOP NOW” button, scroll down on the left-hand side and open the “Manzanar Merchandise” page.
For those who want to mail a check, make check out to ESIA and put “Manzanar Building” in the note section. Mail to ESIA, 190 E. Yaney St., Bishop, CA 93514.