Minidoka was of a similar structure and size as the Manzanar
internment camp, with 36 blocks of 12 barracks and a mess hall each. It too had various shops, schools, sports facilities, fire stations and so on. At its peak it housed nearly 9400 internees, mostly from the states north of California. The majority of Minidoka’s inmates worked in agriculture, but some were also utilized in the construction of the Anderson Ranch Dam, a large rockfill dam that created a water reservoir mostly used for irrigation.
After WWII Minidoka was closed in October 1945. Unlike the other closed camps it was not completely dismantled right away but initially was reused as housing for returning war veterans. Much of its area was later given over to farming. And so only a few structures still exist – yet there is more to see at Minidoka than at some other camps like Topaz
where the foundations of buildings are all that remains.
The Minidoka site was declared a National Historic Monument in 2001 and the administration was taken over by the National Park Service (like at Manzanar
and Tule Lake
). In 2008 it became a National Historic Site and received more funding.
Today, what you can see at the site includes remnants of the original guardhouse at the camp’s entrance, a semi-collapsed root cellar, and a few intact buildings: a living-space barrack and adjacent mess hall of Block 22. The former is empty while the latter has some tables and benches. It is not clear whether these structures are original or have been moved here from elsewhere. A guard watchtower and parts of the barbed-wire fence have been reconstructed. There are various open-air panels providing information at different points of interest. In addition there’s a fire station building and a new visitor centre. The latter contains a film screening room, various interactive exhibits and a shop.
that the visitor centre is closed in the winter months, and I’ve not yet been able to find opening times for the visitor centre for the rest of the year. The grounds and open-air trails are accessible daily from sunrise to sunset year round. Admission is presumably free, though I haven’t found that explicitly stated either. Yet if the larger Manzanar
memorial is free, I can’t see why that should be different at Minidoka, given that both are run by the NPS.
Location: very remote on the Snake River Plain in southern Idaho far from any larger conurbations. The state capital Boise is some 120 miles (190 km) to the north-west.
To get to Minidoka you need to have a car. From Interstate 84 between Boise and Salt Lake City take exit 182, from where it’s a good quarter of an hour’s drive north along country roads 50 and 25, then turn right on to Hunt Road, which runs all the way to the site.