Ex­hibit to tell history of camp

Los Angeles Times - - LOS ANGELES - By Arin Mikail­ian arin.mikail­ian@latimes.com

The Na­tional Park Ser­vice has an­nounced that a $ 2.8- mil­lion fed­eral grant has been awarded to help tell the story of the for­mer La Tuna Canyon De­ten­tion Sta­tion, which served as a Ja­panese in­tern­ment camp dur­ing World War II and is now the site of the Verdugo Hills Golf Course.

“As stew­ards of our na­tion’s history, the Na­tional Park Ser­vice rec­og­nizes the im­por­tance of pre­serv­ing these con­fine­ment sites,” Jonathan Jarvis, the park agency’s di­rec­tor, said in a state­ment. “These grants help us share valu­able lessons on the fragility of our con­sti­tu­tional rights and en­sure the ex­pe­ri­ences of those who were in­car­cer­ated are not for­got­ten.”

Part of the grant money will go to help de­velop a trav­el­ing ex­hi­bi­tion about the de­ten­tion cen­ter in Tu­junga.

The ex­hibit will fea­ture bi­ogra­phies of some of the de­tainees and video in­ter­views with chil­dren who lived there, said Vic­to­ria Stauf­fen­berg, a spokes­woman for the park ser­vice.

There will also be a dio­rama to present a 3- D per­spec­tive of the de­ten­tion cen­ter, she said.

“We are very grate­ful that we have been rec­og­nized by the Na­tional Park Ser­vice be­cause we feel very strongly this is a story that needs to be told,” said Nancy Oda, pres­i­dent of the Tuna Canyon De­ten­tion Sta­tion Coali­tion, which is putting the ex­hibit to­gether. “There’s very lit­tle known about it, even in the com­mu­nity where it lies.”

She said the coali­tion will spend a year in the plan­ning phase fol­lowed by a year of putting the ex­hibit to­gether.

Af­ter Ja­pan’s at­tack on Pearl Har­bor on Dec. 7, 1941, more than 120,000 Ja­panese Amer­i­cans, two- thirds of whom were Amer­i­can cit­i­zens, were im­pris­oned by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment in Cal­i­for­nia and other Western states.

What is now Verdugo Hills Golf Course was the home of the La Tuna Civil­ian Con­ser­va­tion Corps Camp. Dur­ing World War II, the camp was con­verted into a de­ten­tion cen­ter.

From 1941 to 1943, the camp held more than 2,000 “en­emy aliens,” pri­mar­ily Ja­panese, de­tained there be­fore be­ing sent to in­tern­ment camps else­where in Cal­i­for­nia and the West.

The Los An­ge­les City Coun­cil voted in 2013 to des­ig­nate a one- acre plot on the prop­erty a his­toric- cul­tural mon­u­ment.

But a devel­oper, which is seek­ing per­mis­sion to re­place the golf course with a 220- unit residential com­plex, said that such sta­tus brings ex­tra lay­ers of scru­tiny that could make it more dif­fi­cult to build and f iled a law­suit chal­leng­ing the des­ig­na­tion.

Los An­ge­les Public Li­brary Her­ald Ex­am­iner coll ecti on

I N 1942, Ja­panese men wait to be sent to La Tuna Canyon De­ten­tion Sta­tion. The cen­ter’s grounds are now the site of the Verdugo Hills Golf Course.

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