Crystal City in Zavala County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
Crystal City Family Internment Camp, World War II
When the U.S. entered the war in 1941, an immediate fear was the possibility of enemy agents in the country and the Western Hemisphere. As one response, thousands of Japanese-Americans were moved away from the West Coast. Lesser known was an internment camp system operated by Immigration and Naturalization Service. The government built these camps to hold Japanese, German and Italian nationals arrested in the U.S. and Hawaii, and in Peru and other Latin American countries until they could be exchanged for American detainees. Three of these camps were in Texas at Kenedy, Seagoville, and Crystal City.
The Crystal City Camp, converted from an existing migratory labor camp, was the largest internment facility in the U.S. and the only one built exclusively for families. The original 200-acre camp later expanded to almost 500 acres, with agricultural areas and support facilities. The primary living area was a 100-acre compound enclosed by a 10-foot barbed wire fence, complete with guard towers and spotlights. Like a small town, the compound had 700 buildings and included family housing, schools, a hospital, shops, warehouses, markets
Although intended for Japanese, the Crystal City Camp also held Germans and a few Italians. The population averaged 2,800 throughout the war. It reached a peak of almost 3,400 in December 1944, two-thirds of whom were Japanese. At the end of the war, the government paroled internees throughout the U.S. or sent them to their home countries. The Crystal City Camp was the only one still in operation by June 1946. It officially closed February 27, 1948, and the property transferred to the City and School District.
Erected 2005 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker Number 13720.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Asian Americans • Man-Made Features • War, World II.
Location. 28° 41.46′ N, 99° 49.484′ W. Marker is in Crystal City, Texas, in Zavala County. Marker is at the intersection of North 7th Avenue (Farm to Market Road 1433) and Popeye Lane, on the right when traveling north on North 7th Avenue. Marker is located in southwest corner of vacant lot (former internment camp site), adjacent to the Crystal City High School Baseball field. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 104 Popeye Lane, Crystal City TX 78839, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 7 other markers are World War II Concentration Camp (here, next to this marker); World War II Enemy Alien Internment (here, next to this marker); Confinement Site - History of Crystal City Family Internment Camp (a few steps from this marker); Living and Working in an Internment Camp (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Zavala County (approx. 0.8 miles away); Burleson Cemetery (approx. 9.6 miles away); Dimmit County Courthouse (approx. 11.9 miles away).
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker.
Also see . . .
1. Crystal City (Family) Internment Camp. (includes photos and details about this internment camp)
Housing all three Axis nationalities, Crystal City (Family) Internment Camp was intended to be populated by people of Japanese ancestry and their immediate families. However, on December 12, 1942, the camp’s first internees to arrive were a mix of German Americans and German Enemy Aliens. On February 12, 1943, the first group of Latin Americans arrived––also Germans––deported from Costa Rica. On March 17, 1943, the first group of Japanese American internees arrived. (Submitted on December 12, 2017, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
2. The Secret History Of The Crystal City WWII Internment Camp.
For years, many of the German internees were silent about their experiences in the camps. While the Japanese who were detained were organized, (Submitted on December 12, 2017, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Credits. This page was last revised on December 13, 2017. It was originally submitted on December 12, 2017, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 346 times since then and 93 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on December 12, 2017, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.