The Minidoka War Relocation Center (also known as Hunt Camp ) is located outside of Twin Falls, Idaho in Jerome County. It was one of ten War Relocation Authority confinement centers established during World War II under Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942 for people of Japanese ancestry. Two thirds of the 110,000 incarcerees were American citizens of Japanese heritage. The original construction commenced in 1942 and was headed by the Morrison-Knudsen construction company, based in Boise, for which they were granted a $3.5 million contract. Otto Power, Secretary of the Chamber of Commerce, and project manager Gaskill, headed leadership for the project. The first incarcerees arrived on August 10th, 1942. At its peak the center held over 13,000 people, making it the seventh largest city in the state of Idaho The Minidoka War Relocation Center consisted of thirty-six blocks of housing. Each block contained twelve barracks (which themselves were divided into six separate living areas), laundry facilities, bathrooms and a mess hall. Recreation Halls in each block were multi-use facilities that served as both worship and education centers. The camp was an active farming camp for the majority of its activity, permanently changing Jerome County’s landscape and turning bedrock into the farmable land that is visible today. Minidoka was sometimes considered the “nicest” of the ten camps. Minidoka even had its own fire station consisting of Japanese American volunteer fire fighters. The camp officially closed following the end of World War II on October 28, 1945. After its closure many of the buildings were removed and sold to local farmers and businesses. Returning veterans even entered a lottery to receive one of 89 plots of land, including barracks, to homestead in the area. Currently the entry center, firehouse, a mess hall and a few other structures still remain onsite, along with cement foundations of other buildings. The Minidoka National Historic Site was established on January 17th, 2001 by President William Clinton to commemorate and learn from this episode in our nation's history.
The Friends of Minidoka, National Park Service, and Boise State University’s Department of Construction Management as well as the Construction Management Association (CMA) and the History Department have entered a collaborative effort to design and reconstruct one of the original guard towers that surrounded the boundaries of the residential and administrative areas of the camp. Friends of Minidoka was successfully awarded a $280,378, 2-for-1 matching grant for the project through the Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant offered by the National Park Service. The guard tower reconstruction directly fulfills of part of the site’s General Management Plan, is a strong addition to the visual landscape of the site, and contributes to the further preservation and interpretation of the incarceration history.