Part of WWII internment camp is returned to Poston

From the ashes of a property known for its mystery emerges a rare thing indeed: a building taken almost 70 years ago from a World War II Japanese internment camp and kept at this property in Parker ever since.

The old Alewine property, site of the long-abandoned Alewine Furniture Store, was recently razed to the ground after a series of fires and general deterioration (one of the fires was ignited intentionally in order to destroy a pile of unstable dynamite found there). The only items remaining Wednesday morning on the cleared city block were an old trailer and this mysterious wooden building.

Built in 1942 at the ‘Poston Relocation Center’, the largest of ten internment camps built by the U.S. Government which was then filled with almost 18,000 Japanese-American people during World War II, the old barrack is one of many that were removed after the camp closed in 1945.

Now, it is being transported back to Poston as part of a restoration project, and will be seen there by many visitors each winter who take trips to the site of the old internment camp. Steve, a Japanese-American who is involved in the building’s move, said there are two others like it.

“One of them is in Los Angeles,” he said, “and the other is at the Smithsonian.”

The oversized load was escorted by law enforcement through the town of Parker Wednesday morning, and then through the agricultural valley toward the center of the Colorado River Indian Tribes reservation. It will remain there as a reminder of extraordinary times in America 70 years ago, circumstances that created Arizona’s third-largest ‘city’ in Poston, AZ.

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