The Dark Past of the Cottages

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The Cottages are on-campus family housing here at Snow College.  They are trailers near Anderson Hall. These homes have had quite the journey getting here.  These buildings’ first life were as homes for Japanese people in internment camps during World War II. 

In Delta, Utah, there was an internment camp: Topaz War Relocation Center.  This camp was in operation from September 1942 – October 1945.  These camps were used to house Japanese-Americans during the Second World War. 

After Japan’s involvement in Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt signed an executive order to move all Japanese-Americans into these camps. This was due to a fear that these people would be loyal to or even spies for Japan.  After the closing of all of these camps in America, the buildings were auctioned off, dismantled and moved.  A group of these buildings were moved here to Snow College.

When asked how he felt about this, Japanese-American student, Daniel Takashima said, “It’s really interesting. Obviously, I feel horrible about the establishment of internment camps, especially because that would be me if I were born 80 years ago.  At the same time it’s crazy to think that these same buildings are being used today.”If Badgers want to learn more about Topaz, the site and museum are open for visitors in Delta. 

There are also two films about life at Topaz, American Pastime and Topaz. There are many books written about the experience as well: When the Emperor was Divine, by Julie Otzuka, and Journey to Topaz, by Yoshiko Uchida.

Emily Parnell is a Sophomore communications major at Snow College. She has a great passion for writing and reading. She joined The Snowdrift newspaper to help her pursue a career in public relations.

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