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|City/County/Congressional District: , Desha County Drew County (District 1 District 4 )|
|Location Class: • Government|
|Year Built: • 1942|
|Historic Designation: • National Register of Historic Places (1992) • National Historic Landmark (1992)|
|Status: • Restored|
The Japanese-American relocation camps at Rohwer and Jerome represent an important aspect of United States history that has not been widely interpreted in Arkansas. The Rohwer camp operated from September 1942 to November 1945 and held nearly 8,500 people at its peak population. The Jerome Relocation Center operated from October 1942 to June 1944 and held over 7,900 people at one time. Rohwer is a National Historic Landmark but only a few monuments remain. There is a small cemetery and a monument to Japanese American soldiers who died fighting for the United States in World War II. Assessments by the National Park Service and WER Architects determined the site and its monuments to be endangered. It has been neglected and vandalized over the years. Additionally, the ownership of the cemetery is unclear so interested parties have been unable to acquire the site for preservation and interpretation.
Less remains at the Jerome site. There are a few water tanks, concrete foundations, and the iconic smokestack. Most of the buildings were removed by the mid-1950s and it has been a farm since then. A monument was added in recent years and is maintained by the property owner. In 2014 the monument and cemetery were restored and renovated. Plans are in the works for landscaping and additional information at that site. An interpretive visitors center has been built to tell the stories of the many Japanese Americans interred at Rohwer and Jerome and is funded and managed by the Arkansas State University Heritage Sites program. Today, Rohwer and Jerome are success stories.
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