Date: 1/1/2018
Principal Researchers:
  • Kat Vlahos
  • Mike Nulty
  • Julia Ausloos
  • Justin Henderson
Location: Topaz Japanese American Confinement Site – Delta, UT

The Topaz or Central Utah Relocation Center was located in west-central Utah, in Millard County near the town of Delta, 140 miles southwest of Salt Lake City. Named after Topaz Mountain, 9 miles northwest, the relocation center was briefly known as the “Abraham Relocation Center,” after a nearby settlement.

The relocation center was in operation from September 11, 1942, to October 31, 1945. The maximum population was 8,130; most of the internees were from the San Francisco Bay area. A total of 623 buildings were constructed during the life of the relocation center (Powell 1972). The nucleus of the facility consisted of a one-square-mile area for residents, administrative personnel, and the military police. This "central area" included 42 blocks, eight for administration and 34 for residences. Each residential block had 12 barracks, a mess hall, a recreation hall, and a combination washroom, shower, toilet, and laundry building. The eight administration blocks included office buildings, staff housing, warehouses, a hospital, and a military police compound. Security features at Topaz included a sentry post at the entrance, a perimeter fence, seven watch towers, and a military police compound.

This site was documented using LiDAR, 3D laser scanning for the purpose of generating a highly accurate reconstruction model of the entire site. In addition to scanning the site, buildings and objects that had moved off site to museums were also scanned in order to add increased accuracy to the reconstruction modeling. The scanning and post processing was completed by The Center of Preservation Research’s Mike Nulty and Student Research Assistants Julia Ausloos and Justin Henderson.

This effort was completed in partnership with the National Park Service, the University of Colorado Denver and CyArk.

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