Tag Archives: independence california

Manzanar shifting hours

New Hours for Manzanar Visitor Center

March 30, 2016

Beginning Friday, April 1, 2016, the Manzanar National Historic Site Visitor Center will be open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily. The award-winning film Remembering Manzanar shows every 30 minutes from 10 am to 5 pm daily. The center features 8,000 square feet of exhibits as well as a bookstore operated by the non-profit Manzanar History Association.

After setting a record for visitation in 2015, I am pleased to announce that we will be keeping the visitor center open until 5:30 pm,” Superintendent Bernadette Johnson said.

­Visitors arriving between 9 and 10 a.m. can visit Block 14’s barracks and mess hall to learn about the personal experiences of individuals, families, and communities incarcerated at Manzanar. Exhibits feature extensive photos, documents, and quotes illustrating the challenges and changes people faced at Manzanar. Because the site itself is open from dawn to dusk, visitors can drive a 3-mile self-guiding tour or explore on foot. They can see a number of gardens and ponds built by Japanese Americans to beautify the dusty ground around their barracks and mess halls. Visitors can also explore century-old orchards from the pre-war town of Manzanar.

Manzanar National Historic Site is located at 5001 Hwy. 395, six miles south of Independence, California. Admission is free. For further information, please call (760) 878-2194 ext. 3310, visit our website at www.nps.gov/manz, or explore our pages for “ManzanarNationalHistoricSite” on Facebook and Instagram.

cover photo by Gary Young

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Manzanar, Can You Dig it!

Volunteers Invited to Archeology project at Manzanar

Project runs March 25-30

submitted by Manzanar Historic Site
March 15, 2016

Manzanar’s award-winning public archeology program provides exceptional opportunities to learn about the past and help preserve the site and its stories for the future. From March 25 through 30, 2016, volunteers have the unique opportunity to assist the National Park Service in uncovering and stabilizing Manzanar’s historic administration and staff housing area. Participants will learn about both the common and contrasting experiences of camp staff and incarcerees as well as the differences between Japanese landscaping aesthetics and “western” military-style landscaping.

Volunteer positions are available to anyone age 15 and over who is physically able to work outdoors in moderately strenuous activities. Volunteers will be digging with shovels and small hand tools, cutting and loading brush, using wheelbarrows, collecting rocks to reconstruct landscape features, painting rock alignments, and occasionally screening sediments to retrieve artifacts. Previous archeological experience is helpful, but not necessary. All volunteers need is an interest in history and a willingness to get dirty!

The work will be conducted outdoors, regardless of weather, from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily, including weekends. Volunteers may work any number of days or hours, but a full day or multiple days are preferred. Bring water, lunch, and work gloves, and wear sunscreen, a hat, and sturdy boots. Advance sign-up is required. Contact Cultural Resources Manager Jeff Burton at 760-878-2194 ext. 3305 or jeff_burton@nps.gov.

Manzanar National Historic Site is located is located at 5001 Hwy. 395, six miles south of Independence, California. Learn more on our website at website at www.nps.gov/manz or Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ManzanarNationalHistoricSite.

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Over 95,000 visit Manzanar in 2015

Manzanar Hosts Record number of Visitors in 2015

submitted by Manzanar National Historic Site

Over 95,000 people from throughout the United States and around the world visited Manzanar National Historic Site in 2015.  From near and far, youth and elders, first-time visitors and former incarcerees, all had a variety of opportunities to connect to the site, its stories, and each other.

“I’m happy to see so many people coming to learn about Manzanar,” Superintendent Bernadette Johnson said. “While the site is best known for its wartime history, its layers of the past echo the larger themes of American history, including the displacement of Native Americans, the settlement of ranchers and farmers, water wars, and the consequences of prejudice.” She continued, “These valuable lessons about social justice, racism and prejudice are critical.”

Manzanar’s 2015 visitation was nearly 23% higher than in 2014 and surpassed a 2009 record of 89,000. “Record visitation tests the site’s staffing capacity,” said Superintendent Johnson. “I’m grateful that we have a committed staff dedicated to providing high quality visitor experiences.”

In 2015, Manzanar opened  3,000 s.f. of new exhibits in two reconstructed barracks, hosted thousands of school children, and received more than 7,500 hours of service from 318 volunteers.
On a national level in 2016, Congress recently provided an increase in funding for national park units. Manzanar was the recipient of 2016 Centennial Challenge funding allowing the site to leverage these funds with donations from Friends of Manzanar and private donors to expand exhibits in Block 14. Congress is considering separate National Park Service Centennial legislation to further improve the national parks by encouraging philanthropy and volunteerism, while also allowing the National Park Service to improve visitor services and connect with a new generation of national park visitors.

Congress established Manzanar National Historic Site in 1992, the result of decades of efforts by Japanese Americans and others. Since then, the National Park Service has worked with scores of stakeholders to preserve and interpret Manzanar and its stories.  Visitors can explore the personal experiences of individuals, families, and communities incarcerated at Manzanar. The restored camp auditorium serves as a visitor center and houses extensive exhibits. Nearby, a World War II-era mess hall and two  reconstructed barracks highlight the challenges of daily life. An auto tour road circles the site, highlighting Japanese gardens, historic orchards, the cemetery, and more.

Manzanar is located at 5001 Hwy. 395, six miles south of Independence, California. For more information, please call 760-878-2194 ext. 3310 or visit our website at www.nps.gov/manz or Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ManzanarNationalHistoricSite.

Cover Photo by Gary Young.

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Independence Celebrates the Fruitcake!

Eleventh Annual Internationally Acclaimed Independence Fruitcake Festival

Fruit-A-Con, “Welcome to the Fruitcake Universe!”

submitted by Mary Roper

Superheroes and comic strip characters along with a variety of fruitcakes and eggnogs will be making an appearance on December 12th in Independence, California. This year, in the tradition of Comic Con, the Fruitcake Festival will be honoring the fact that fruitcake is, indeed, the food of Superheroes. There will be live music, fabulous prizes and interesting fruitcakes and eggnogs!
The possibilities are endless for creating a winning fruitcake. Categories include oldest, traveled the farthest, best of theme, most solids, and judges’ award. Our fruitcake judges employ mechanical, empirical and philosophical techniques to select winning fruitcakes in those categories.
There will be an opportunity for you to take the mic and brag about your fruitcake or eggnog. However, please leave your kryptonite at home. You must play nice with Superman.
Most people participate by wearing theme-oriented costumes. This is not required, but in the past we have found that a good many people like to dress up more than their fruitcakes. The Costume Contest is just the place to show off your creativity and the “Best Costume” prize is awarded to the person with the loudest applause.
No need to eat dinner before you come. The Owens Valley Growers Co-op will be serving up mac & cheese and a salad for $5. To boost your energy for the evening, coffee is available at the bar.
This is the only “internationally” acclaimed Fruitcake Festival. Such venerable periodicals as the Washington Times, Country Living Magazine, and, of course, NPR have written us up.
This is a FREE event with the caveat that you must bring a fruitcake or eggnog to gain entrance to the Festival. Homemade fruitcake or eggnog is preferred. The eggnog can be transported to the festival in a milk jug. Please label it as “leaded” or “unleaded.” We have refrigeration on site. The eggnog is always served in elegant punch cups at the bar. It is worth the trip to Independence just for that fact alone.

Location: Legion Hall, Independence, CA
Date/Time Dec. 12, 2015 — 6 PM
Call 760-878-2046 or email indycivicclub@gmail.com for more information

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Independence Holiday Boutique and Craft Show

Independence Holiday Boutique and Craft Show

Get into the spirit of the season on Friday November 20 by enjoying a day of fun, food & holiday shopping in beautiful and historic Independence.

The very popular Independence Holiday Boutique and Craft show kicks off the day with over 20 talented craft persons displaying their handiwork for sale at the American Legion Hall beginning at 7:45 a.m. Shoppers will find a huge selection of beautiful and one-of-a-kind hand-made items including jewelry, pottery, aprons, baskets, baked goods and much more. You’ll be sure to find just the right item for everyone on your holiday shopping list.

The show will also feature hot breakfast from 7:45 to 10 and a delicious lunch including hand-crafted soups, chili and more starting at 11. The Boutique and Craft show will be open 7:45 a.m. until 2.
Also on November 20th, the Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery adds to the Independence festivities with their annual Holiday sale from 10 a.m. until 3. Come in and check out their great selection of Christmas gift ideas and Christmas decorations as well. And after shopping…enjoy a free self-guided tour of the historic Fish Hatchery, a true Owens Valley treasure.

Holiday shopping, delicious food and genuine small town charm…you’ll find all that and much more on Friday November 20th. Make a day of it and take the trip to historic Independence for a fun filled day of holiday cheer and geniality. For more information call Gayle at 760 920-2132.

cover photo, 2014 Independence Boutique and Craft Show

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Eastern California Museum highlights Manzanar

Thursday Evening Program places focus on Manzanar

The Friends of the Eastern California Museum will continue their community outreach program with a great evening program presented this Thursday September 24th by Alisa Lynch. Lynch is a ranger with the National Park Service and is Chief of Interpretation at Manzanar National Historic Site, located just south of Independence on Hwy 395.

The program will highlight a few of the ten thousand stories of ten thousand lives at Manzanar during World War II. Those attending the program will learn about how the National Park Service uses personal stories to connect 80,000 visitors to the site each year. The illustrated program will be followed by a question an answer period.

The free program will be presented in Independence at the Historic Winnedumah Hotel at 7:00pm on Thursday September 24th.
The “Friends” are a nonprofit organization dedicated to the support of the Eastern California Museum and its programs and to aid in increasing the Eastern California Museum’s value as a public educational facility with an emphasis on heritage.

For more information on this great program you can call David at 760 920-8061.

Cover photo provided by the Eastern California Museum

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Cerro Gordo trip

Friends of the Eastern California Museum Cerro Gordo tour

UPDATE (8/26/15)  event postponed.

The Friends of the Eastern California Museum (FECM) is pleased to announce another exciting upcoming program. On Saturday, August 29th, the Friends will be offering a field trip to the silver mining camp of Cerro Gordo. The trip will include a guided tour by the town’s caretaker. High clearance vehicles are suggested though the road has recently been put in good shape by the Inyo County road department and is passable to most passenger cars with drivers experienced in dirt road-mountain driving.

The trip is limited to 30 people and the cost is $20 for FECM members and $25 for non-members. People wishing to take the trip must sign up in advance and may do so by calling the Museum at (760) 878-0258. Attendees will meet at the Eastern California Museum in Independence at 9:00 a.m. on the 29th. Ride sharing is strongly recommended and people should also take plenty of water and a lunch.

The mission of the Friends is to support the Eastern California Museum and its program and to raise awareness of the museum to Eastern California residents and visitors.

Cover Photo provided by the Friends of the Eastern California Museum

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More History this weekend

Eastern California Museum looking at “Tourism in Death Valley”

The Eastern California Museum is pleased to announce their community outreach program for residents and visitors alike continues this week with another evening program at the historic Winnedumah Hotel in Independence this Friday, August 21st.
This weeks 45 minute interpretive program will be “The History and Development of Tourism in Death Valley”. This program takes an in-depth look at all of Death Valley’s hotels from the Furnace Creek Resort to Wildrose Station.

Death Valley is America’s largest National Park outside of Alaska. Its resorts and hotel have long played an important financial and socioeconomic role in tourism dependent Inyo County. The people behind these hotels were visionaries and risk takers of the highest levels. The history of their dreams and determination makes for an incredible one of a kind story. Come hear how some dreams grew beyond their wildest expectations while others joined the ranks of other Death Valley disappointments. The program will be held just off the lobby of the historic Winnedumah and will begin at 7:00 p.m.
This event is free and provided with support from the non-profit Friends of the Eastern California Museum. Additional events are planned for the following weeks and on through September. Upcoming events will include an interpretive tour of Manzanar Historic Site, a program and slide show by noted Owens Valley rock art scholar Courtney Smith and a tour of the mining town of Cerro Gordo, road conditions permitting. Several additional events are planned as well.
For more information you can contact the Museum at ecmuseum@inyocouny.us or call (760) 878-0258.

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History Fun this weekend

A History filled weekend starts Friday at the Winnedumah Hotel

The Eastern California Museum is pleased to announce a community outreach program for residents and visitors alike, through a series of interpretive talks, guided tours and educational programs beginning Friday, August 14.

The Museum will kick off their exciting program with a history talk at the historic and newly re-opened Winnedumah Hotel in Independence on Friday, August 14 at 7:00 p.m. The 45 minute program is titled “Into the Jaws of Hell” and is the true and spell binding story of how Inyo County’s Death Valley got its name. It is a story of bravery and determination taken to their highest level. The program will be held just off the lobby of the Winnedumah and will begin at 7:00 p.m.

Winnedumah Hotel (2)
Winnedumah Hotel. Photo provided by the Friends of the Eastern California Museum

On Saturday morning at 8 a.m., everyone is invited to meet at Dehy Park, located on the north end of Independence to join David Woodruff on a one hour walking tour of Independence’s Historic District. Independence features several prominent and historical buildings that have played an important role in the development and history of the small town as well as Inyo County. The interpretive walk takes about an hour and covers about three quarters of a mile. There is plenty of parking at Dehy Park.

Then on Sunday August 16 at 2:00 p.m., author, scholar and basket weaver Justin Farmer will be conducting an afternoon of shared traditions and stories. Farmer is a knowledgeable and practiced basket maker and has conducted extensive research into cradle-boards and cradle baskets of California and Western Great Basin’s Native American cultures. The program will be at the Eastern California Museum located at 135 N. Grant Street in Independence, just three blocks west of the Inyo County Courthouse.

All of these listed events are free and provided with support from the non-profit Friends of the Eastern California Museum. Additional events are planned for the following weeks and on through September. Upcoming events will include an interpretive tour of Manzanar Historic Site, a program and slide show by noted Owens Valley rock art scholar Courtney Smith and a tour of the mining town of Cerro Gordo, road conditions permitting. Several additional events are planned as well.

For more information you can contact the Museum at ecmuseum@inyocouny.us or call (760) 878-0258.

cover photo provided by the friends of the Eastern California Museum, “49ers leaving Death valley”.

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Fullerton Family crashes near Manzanar

Single Vehicle Crash Sends 3 to the hospital

The California Highway Patrol accident report indicates the drivers over-correction led to a single vehicle roll over Thursday.  The accident occurred just after 1pm Thursday, July 16th on highway 395 just south of the Manzanar National Historic site.  The accident report indicates that 31 year old Fullerton resident Michael Leon Jr was behind the wheel of a 2007 Toyota southbound on highway 395 at approximately 70 mile per hour.  The vehicle drifted onto the left dirt shoulder when the driver over-corrected to the right losing control of the vehicle which then overturned at least one time.

Michael Leon Jr and a 7 year old female passenger where properly restrained and were able to exit the vehicle with the assistance of a passing motorist.  Both suffered minor injuries and where transported to Lone Pines Southern Inyo Hospital.  58 year old passenger Michael Leon Sr had to be removed from the vehicle by paramedics.  Leon Sr was also wearing his seat belt.  Leon Sr suffered moderate injures and was transported via Mercy Air to Kern Regional Hospital.  The collision remains under investigation.

Agencies responding to the crash included the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office, Independence Volunteer Fire Department, Lone Pine Volunteer Fire Department, California Highway Patrol and CalFIRE.

cover photo by the Inyo County Sheriffs Department.

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Flight Tests over Independence

China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station operating flight tests

On July 7 and 8 there will be operational flight tests twice a day in the vicinity of Independence.

According to a statement from officials at China Lake, these events will include flights directly over the town.  The testing requires aircrew to fly as low as 1000 feet over populated areas to simulate urban missions.  All flights will be conducted in accordance with Federal Aviation Administration directives.  The tests will take place during the day.  There will be no supersonic flight and of course no weapons released.

“We are fortunate to have a wonderful relationship with the local population in the vicinity of NAWS China Lake.  We are very grateful for the support and understanding we have received from in the past from the citizens of Independence when executing similar tests,” said Air Test and Evaluation Squadron NINE Commanding Officer Capt. Gordon Cross.  “Operational tests of this nature are required to adequately evaluate new combat systems; systems that deliver increased capabilities to the Sailors and Aircrew at sea.  Please feel free to call the Public Affairs Office at (760) 939-1683 or (760) 939-3511 if you have any questions or concerns.

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