Monday, April 14, 2008

The Two Faces of Camp F-33-A, Mayer, Arizona

IMAGE: Camp F-33-A, Mayer, Arizona Circa 1939

After the dissolution of the CCC in 1942, former CCC camps were used for a number of purposes, in many cases being dismantled and moved to other sites for use by the military. Some camps were used to confine Axis prisoners of war, while others were used to house conscientious objectors who, due to religious beliefs, chose not to enter the military, opting instead to work in camps to perform useful, non-war related work. One of the more unfortunate uses of former CCC camps was as internment centers for the relocation of Japanese-Americans.

Camp F-33-A was established in Mayer, Arizona in the fall of 1933 and CCC companies alternated between the Mayer camp and other camps over time. Work done by CCC enrollees at the Mayer camp included twig blight control, trail construction, telephone line construction, bridge building, rodent control and erosion control.

Camp F-33-A served very briefly as a temporary relocation camp for Japanese-Americans who had been relocated from southern Arizona. Nothing remains of the camp today; the area has been swallowed up by homes and a small business area alongside the road through town. A Circle K convenience store dominates the area where once stood the camp. According to a National Park Service website, the Mayer camp was occupied for a shorter length of time than any relocation camp, with the internees being moved to the Poston Relocation Center less than a month after arriving at the Mayer camp.

During its life as a CCC camp, F-33-A was an integrated camp, with enrollees from a mixture of racial groups. Integrated camps were a rarity during the CCC’s lifetime and given the camps later use, its diverse racial make up in the 1930s is ironic.

To see the National Park Service website detailing the use of the Mayer CCC camp as a temporary internment camp for Japanese-Americans, visit this website:

Today you would never know that a CCC camp once stood along this stretch of Arizona highway, but if it were still standing, camp F-33-A would occupy the very middle of this picture.

No comments:

Buffalo Crossing Camp, Eastern Arizona

Buffalo Crossing Camp, Eastern Arizona