Walking through the Minidoka site, one comes upon three buildings that reflect key aspects of life in the Minidoka WRA Camp. The historic photo immediately below, hangs in the first of those buildings…
This is a photo of the Minidoka fire house, as it operated in the Camp.
This is the Fire House building as it stands today.
Inside the Fire House, you can see two of the rooms for fire fighters. Because of the additional privacy afforded by the rooms, some fire fighters elected to live in the Fire House all the time.
A large Mess Hall has been recovered and moved into the middle of what was Block 22 at Minidoka. There was one Mess Hall for each block of 12 barracks buildings. This building is in the midst of restoration.
The interior of the Mess Hall. The diagonal braces are to maintain the structural safety of the building, pending further restoration.
One of the early serving tables with period utensils added..
The Park Service moved this old barracks building onto the site, also into the old Block 22. Acquired from a nearby farm, the owner had applied siding as well as a corrugated steel roof to the building.
The interior of the barracks. Awaiting full restoration, the building has a small enclosed room that was added by the former owner, as well as Celotex interior panels. Here again, the diagonal braces were added by the NPS to stabilize the building.
“Each compartment was sparsely furnished. There was really no difference from one to the other for the first couple of years… So everyone tried to be a bit creative, a bit original, get a piece of cloth and you go to sewing school and you make yourself a little curtain, and paintings would be hung on the wall, but nothing really drastic because you could not do anything structurally. So just a few decorative hangings, a different curtain or two, the porch, the wallpaper, the tar paper, the Franklin stove, the bin for the coal, all of that remained pretty well stable with all the compartments, uniformly, very, very similar.”
George Nakata, a young person at Minidoka, [Densho Digital Repository]
This is the barracks building, with the Mess Hall in the background.
Obviously, there is a tremendous amount of work to be done on both buildings. The impressive thing is the thought, care, and collaboration present in that restoration process. The National Park Service, working with the Friends of Minidoka, has carefully planned, and utilized tight resources to add pieces to the Minidoka puzzle. This careful stewardship is gradually transforming Minidoka into a site which preserves the memory of this important chapter in our history.
We will move on to pictures and the story about a Homestead that remains on the Minidoka site. See you then…
Grace and peace,