Exhibit to tell history of camp
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.
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.