Original Barracks Building From the Manzanar Japanese Relocation Camp For Sale on eBay

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EBay seller Skip McGrath has launched an eBay auction for what is believed to be the last known standing barracks building from the Manzanar Japanese Relocation Camp

EBay seller Skip McGrath, username McGrrrrr, has launched an eBay auction for what is believed to be the last known standing barracks building from the Manzanar Japanese Relocation Camp. The building is in essentially original condition with only minor updates to plumbing and kitchen fixtures. The auction was launched November 27, 2004 and will run for ten days ending on Pearl Harbor Day, December 7, 2004 at 5:30 PM Pacific Time.

The property will be sold to the highest eBay bidder. The auction number is 3765542249. You can view the auction by typing this number into the search box at http://www.ebay.com.

The building is 20.5” X 60.5” totaling 1240 sq. ft. frame constructions of old growth redwood. The windows on one side of the house are original and on the other have been updated. Part of the roof is missing and there is some water damage to one end of the building.

Only the building is being sold. The winning bidder will be required to move the building to a new location. This house would make a fabulous summer home of historical significance or could be donated to the Manzanar National Historical Site in nearby Independence, Ca. (The Park Service is looking for buildings to place on the site.)

On December 7th, 1945 the United States was hit with a surprise attack on our naval and air stations at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. That attack not only changed the history of the world and led us into WW-II, it radically changed the lives of over 100,000 US Citizens of Japanese descent.

In the weeks that followed Pearl Harbor there was a genuine fear that Japan would follow up with an attack on the US mainland. The Navy and Coast Guard recruited fishermen to help patrol the waters off of California. Watch towers and radar installations were set up along the West Coast –and it was feared that Japanese-Americans could become saboteurs and spies.

Just two months after the attack, in February 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 (that was later upheld by the Supreme court) establishing "Relocation Camps for all American citizens and residents of Japanese descent living on the west coast.”

Without due process, the government gave Japanese-Americans living on the West Coast only days to decide what to do with their cars, homes, farms and businesses. Most families sold all their possessions at a significant loss. Some were lucky enough to have friends care for their property and others simply walked away and abandoned them. Thousands of American Citizens lost everything they had worked for and owned in a matter of days.

They had no idea where they were going or how long they would be away. Each family was assigned an identification number and loaded into trucks and buses. They were allowed two bags for each person.

The internees were first taken to local fairgrounds and racetracks under military guard and held there until permanent facilities (camps) could be constructed.

The largest and most famous of the internment camps was Manzanar located in the high desert south of Bishop, California. The Manzanar site is located in a dry, desolate area in the Eastern shadow the Sierra Nevada mountains. The area is high desert where temperatures approach 110 in the summer and freezing in the winter.

From March 1942 until the camp closed in November of 1945, the Manzanar camp held up to 10,000 internees. For over three years, it was the largest city between San Francisco and Reno, NV.

The camps had to be built fast. The buildings built to house the internees were wooden structures, hastily slapped together with no insulation and only the barest of facilities. They were drafty. There was always sand blowing into the houses in the summer and freezing cold air in the winter. Amazingly the material that was used in the construction was old growth redwood. It was common and cheap in its day and tons of it were located within a few hundred miles in California’s redwood forests.

Today, Manzanar is a National Park. Unfortunately, few of the original houses remain. The only structure that remains today is part of an auditorium the detainees built for their community events.

After Manzanar was closed, the government held a sale to dispose of the buildings and facilities at Manzanar. The poorly constructed houses held no value as homes, so they were sold for their lumber value which was significant because the houses were built from old-growth redwood. Virtually all of the houses were disassembled and the materials carted away.

One house, however, was not. A gentleman named Mr. Riley bought one of the barracks buildings. Instead of just using the material to build another structure, he actually reassembled the barracks board-by-board on the piece of property where it now stands.

For information please contact Skip McGrath at the Auction Seller’s Resource 360-299-3100 or email mcgrrrrr@yahoo.com


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Skip Mcgrath
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