top of page

The "Puyallup Assembly Center"


President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942. This order allowed the military to create exclusion zones to remove all people it chose, thus all Japanese and Japanese Americans were forced from the West Coast and other designated areas along the West Coast.
 

Over 7500 Japanese and Japanese Americans were incarcerated behind barbed wire fencing on the Puyallup Fairgrounds, now known as the Washington State Fairgrounds.  The "Puyallup Assembly Center was open in April 1942,  when Japanese families from Alaska officially changed the fair into the largest concentration camp in Washington State. The majority of the population was from Seattle, but people from Fife, and rural areas of Pierce County and were also forced to live in horse stalls and animal pens, along with units in barracks. The "Puyallup Assembly Center closed in September 1942 but was taken over by soldiers from Ft. Lewis.
 
The nickname for the "Puyallup Assembly Center", "Camp Harmony" was
penned by an editor of Seattle PI. His photographer mentioned in his report that the people from the Japanese community were quiet and harmonious.  Neither the government or military were opposed to the concentration camp being known as a "camp". Thus, the general public was allowed to think the prisoners were camping and the nickname that has remained to this day.

bottom of page