Position Paper

From: The Pinedale Assembly Center Memorial Project Committee, a joint committee of the Central California Nikkei Foundation and the Central California District Council of the Japanese American Citizens League To: Fresno City Council Re: Designation of Building 8 located at 7435 N. Ingram Avenue, Fresno, to the Local Register of Historic Resources The Historic Preservation Commission unanimously voted to nominate Building 8 to the Fresno City Council for designation to the Local Register of Historic Resources on November 28, 2005. The Fresno City Council will conduct a public hearing to consider the designation on January 10, 2006. Building 8 has historic significance due to its use as a warehouse by the Sugar Pine Lumber Company and its inclusion in the Pinedale Assembly Center and Camp Fresno during World War II. Building 8 is part of the site acquired by the Army on March 22, 1942. The primary interest of the Pinedale Assembly Center Memorial Committee (“Committee”) is in the use of the site as an assembly center to intern 4823 Americans of Japanese ancestry from May 7, 1942, to July 23, 1942. It is part of a larger story of the internment of Japanese Americans during the War, the story of the Japanese American soldiers who fought in World War II to prove their loyalty to America and the struggle for redress, which resulted in a Presidential apology and recognition of the rights of Japanese Americans as citizens of this great country. Within the context of this broader story, the site has local, state and national historic significance. The Committee does not want to impede the developer’s plans to demolish the building so long as an appropriate memorial is established on the site with interpretive materials to explain the historic significance of the site. The California Office of Historic Preservation has reserved California Historic Landmark No. 934 for the Pinedale Assembly Center, a temporary detention camp for Japanese Americans as a first phase of the mass incarceration of 97,785 Californians of Japanese ancestry during World War II. This is compelling if not conclusive evidence that the site has state historic significance. Pursuant to Executive Order No. 9066 signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 19, 1942, thirteen makeshift detention facilities were constructed at various California racetracks, fairgrounds and labor camps. These facilities were intended to confine Japanese Americans until more permanent concentration camps, such as those at Manzanar and Tule Lake in California, could be built in isolated areas of the country. Beginning on March 30, 1942, all native-born Americans and long-time legal residents of Japanese ancestry living along the West Coast were ordered to surrender themselves for detention. The Pinedale Assembly Center was used to intern residents...

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