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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Independence in Inyo County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Weaving for the War

Manzanar National Historic Site

 
 
Weaving for the War Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 10, 2009
1. Weaving for the War Marker
Inscription.  America went to work for the war effort in 1942, and Manzanar was no exception. More than 500 young Japanese Americans wove camouflage nets here for the U.S. Army. Since citizenship was a job requirement, most saw weaving nets as a chance to prove their loyalty-and earn some money. A friendly camaraderie grew among the crews-who often worked to big band music blaring from loudspeakers—as they turned out an average 6,000 nets a month.

The three 18’ tall sheds built on these long slabs soon became a flash point for discontent over wages and friction between citizens and non-citizens that spread throughout the camp. The work proved hazardous, too, with internees enduring long hours of breathing fine lint and contact with harsh dyes.

The net factory closed after the Manzanar Riot in December 1942 and the sheds were converted to other uses. To your left, a mattress factory produced 4,020 mattresses for the camp before fire destroyed it in 1943.

(Inscription under the photo in the upper right:)
Manzanar became nearly self-sufficient by 1944 due to its agriculture and industries, ranging from shoe and
Building Sites image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 10, 2009
2. Building Sites
typewriter repair to soy sauce and tofu processing. A clothing factory produced uniforms and work clothes for the camp’s nurses, mess hall workers, and policemen, while a furniture factory built desks, chairs, baby cribs, and toys.

(Quote at the bottom right:)
Our pay was $16 a month and we certainly earned it as we took pride in our work. Interestingly, after I finished college many years later, I became a weaver. It might have been because I enjoyed weaving the camouflage nets.” –Momo Nagano
 
Erected by National Park Service-United States Department of the Interior.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Asian AmericansWar, World II.
 
Location. 36° 43.362′ N, 118° 8.988′ W. Marker is in Independence, California, in Inyo County. Marker can be reached from Unnamed Road. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 5001 Highway 395 (Entrance to the Site), Independence CA 93526, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. A Community's Living Room (approx. 0.4 miles away); Manzanar (approx. 0.4 miles away); Legacy (approx. 0.7 miles away); Sacred Space (approx. ¾ mile away); Alabama Gates (approx. 4.2
Sign on the Wall of the Interpretive Center image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 10, 2009
3. Sign on the Wall of the Interpretive Center
miles away); Kearsarge Station (approx. 6.1 miles away); Edwards House (approx. 6.2 miles away); Mary Austin’s Home (approx. 6.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Independence.
 
Manzanar Entrance Sign image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 10, 2009
4. Manzanar Entrance Sign
Manzanar National Historic Site image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 10, 2009
5. Manzanar National Historic Site
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on December 2, 2013, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 544 times since then and 25 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on December 2, 2013, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.
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Jul. 14, 2020