On June 29, 1942 construction work on Amache began. Progress on the new camp was slow. Labor strikes by a number of independent companies contracted to build the camp only created further delays. "Army officials and members of the WRA did not always work well together" (Lurie 1990: 41). The internment camp was only half complete when the first evacuees began arriving from the assembly centers.
When completed the camp area covered one square mile and consisted of twenty-nine "blocks" of barracks, administration buildings, and storage areas (see map). Each block consisted of twelve 120' x 20' tarpaper-roofed, Army style barracks (see block map). The barracks were divided into six apartments varying in size from 16' x 20' to 24' x 20'. Each individual apartment was equipped with a coal-burning stove, Army cots, one light bulb in the center of each room, and a pad or blanket. Families of seven people or less were only given one room while families of more than seven people were given two rooms. The barracks were arranged so that six of them were situated on either side of a community mess hall, public laundry, and bath building. Each block also had its own recreation hall, a 20' x 100' rectangular building.
Amache further had a multi-wing hospital and a twenty-four classroom high school. The WRA Administration occupied several buildings and there were many warehouses and service buildings. The camps additionally maintained a post office, a fire department, a police department, and facilities for water and electricity. "Camp construction was not completed until early November 1942 with a total cost of approximately 4.2 million dollars" (Schwartz 1979: 22).
Arrival of the First Evacuees
Return to Amache