Sites Associated with Japanese Americans During World War II. Photo courtesy National Park Service.

By Executive Order 9066, over 7,000 Japanese, most being American citizens, were forcibly incarcerated at the Granada Relocation Center in Granada, Colorado from 1942-45. The Granada site, with the smallest population of the ten relocation centers, became the tenth largest concentration of people in the state of Colorado; it is one the best preserved with intact foundations and little alteration by subsequent development. It is located one mile west of downtown Granada and one mile south on County Road No. 23.5 in southeast Colorado. The population of Granada peaked at 7,318 detainees.

Granada Relocation Center’s unofficial name became “Amache,” named after a Cheyenne Chief’s daughter who married John Prowers (1839-1884), a prominent cattle rancher for whom the county is named. The name Amache was used after a mail mix-up between the town of Granada and the similarly named Granada Relocation Center. It was often referred to as “Camp Amache,” since these relocation centers functioned as concentration camps for Japanese Americans (often called “internment camps” as a euphemism). However, this has led many to believe it was a “hotel,” “resort,” or “summer camp.” Today, survivors prefer to simply call it “Amache.” Read more about the language of incarceration in the Power of Words Handbook produced by the Japanese American Citizens League, in the National Park Service article on Terminology and the Mass Incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, or in an article on Terminology produced by Densho.

Today, Amache is a unit of the National Park Service (NPS), although much of the day to day maintenance and operation is still conducted by the Amache Preservation Society (APS). The society was established by Mr. John Hopper, a social studies teacher and now Principal at Granada High School, and consists of volunteer students from that school. Over the past few decades with the help of many other organizations including Amache Historical Society, the Friends of Amache (formerly the Denver Central Optimists Club), The Japan America Society of Southern Colorado, Denver University, Amache Alliance, and many more, the APS has begun to renovate Amache, particularly the cemetery, established an Amache Museum, and catalyzed the efforts to have Amache designated as a National Park Site.

Amache was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 18, 1994 and designated a National Historic Landmark on February 10, 2006 through the direct efforts of the many organizations listed above. On March 18, 2022, the Amache National Historic Site Act was signed into law, authorizing Amache to be established as part of the National Park System. Amache National Historic Site was established as the 429th NPS unit on February 15, 2024. You can visit the site and an associated museum in Granada.