Japanese Internees Arrive at Camp Harmony

Japanese Americans from Seattle unload bundles upon arrival. Used from April 28 to September 12, 1942, the Puyallup Assembly Center was located in a small rural community about 35 miles south of Seattle. These temporary facilities held internees until permanent facilities could be built. The assembly center was built on the grounds and surrounding acres of the Western Washington State Fairgrounds. In addition to the usual stables, racetrack, and other buildings common at the other assembly centers, there was a roller coaster. The assembly center housed a total of 7,628 Japanese American evacuees from Washington and Alaska, with a maximum of 7,390 at a time. Also known as "Camp Harmony," coined by US Army public relations officers. Barbed wire fences surrounded the camp and armed guards patrolled the grounds. Movement between the different areas of the camp was strictly controlled. Petty regulations ruled everyday life. Twice a day roll calls, curfews (though trips to the toilets were allowed) and lights out. The fairgrounds were always muddy. Other regulations denied basic rights such as the right to assemble (organizations were forbidden except with the express permission of camp authorities), religious freedom (Shinto was forbidden), speech (Japanese language materials were confiscated) and privacy (police could enter any room without warrant). Six mess halls served 3 meals a day to each individual in camp. Meals were served at set times. In early August an advance crew of Camp Harmony residents were sent to Minidoka in southeastern Idaho. Within a month the camp had been emptied.
Caption Written By: 
Jason McDonald
Date Photographed: 
Tuesday, April 28, 1942
United States