Kooskia Internment Camp

Kooskia Idaho Internment Camp
during World War II
Kooskia Internment Camp is located in the United States
Kooskia Internment Camp
Kooskia Internment Camp
Location in the United States

The Kooskia Internment Camp (/ˈksk/ KOO-skee) is a former internment camp in the northwest United States, located in north central Idaho, about thirty miles (50 km) northeast of Kooskia in northern Idaho County. It operated during the final two years of World War II.[1][2]

Originally a remote highway work camp (F-38) of the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1933,[3][4][5][6] it became Federal Prison Camp No. 11 in 1935, run by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.[7][8][4][9][10] During World War II in 1943, it was converted to house more than 250 interned Japanese men, most of whom were longtime U.S. residents, but not citizens, branded "enemy aliens."[1][11] Because the camp was so remote in the western Bitterroot Mountains, fences and guard towers were unnecessary.[1] It was run by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) of the Department of Justice.[12]

The government put the internees to labor work to construct the highway, where they were paid about fifty to sixty dollars per month.[13] Most had volunteered from other camps to earn some money.[14] A current archaeological project of the University of Idaho in Moscow,[15][16] the site is six miles (10 km) northeast of Lowell on U.S. Route 12, just above the north bank of the Lochsa River along Canyon Creek,[17][18] at an approximate elevation of 1,600 feet (490 m) above sea level. The mouth of Canyon Creek is just below milepost 104 of US 12.[19]

The two-lane highway was completed seventeen years later in 1962,[20] connecting to Montana at Lolo Pass at 5,233 feet (1,595 m) and eastward to Missoula.[21][22][23][24] It was approved as US 12 in Idaho in June 1962; its extension westward from Lewiston through Washington to Aberdeen was approved in 1967, taking over much of US 410, which was decommissioned.


  1. ^ a b c Erb, Tish (September 26, 1943). "Jap internees work hard, well treated, at Kooskia road camp". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Idaho. p. 1-section 2.
  2. ^ Washington (May 11, 1943). "250 Japs start road jobs soon". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. p. 3.
  3. ^ "Fawn saved from rapids by C.C.C. men". Schenectady Gazette. (New York). (Special). September 5, 1933. p. 3.
  4. ^ a b "Kooskia Internment Camp Archaeological Project". University of Idaho. Retrieved November 20, 2015.
  5. ^ "4,261 now total". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Idaho. July 3, 1933. p. 3.
  6. ^ "Sell goods fast". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). July 4, 1933. p. 2.
  7. ^ "Prison labor camps to rise". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. August 18, 1935. p. 12.
  8. ^ "It's the sane view of prison labor". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). (editorial). September 7, 1935. p. 4.
  9. ^ "Costs go higher at prison camp". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. Associated Press. February 16, 1942. p. 6.
  10. ^ "Priscilla Wegars". Idaho Humanities Council. Retrieved September 18, 2015.
  11. ^ Wegars, Priscilla. "Kooskia," Densho Encyclopedia (accessed 28 Apr 2014).
  12. ^ Emert, Donna (February 14, 2011). "Imprisoned in Paradise: Digging into Kooskia's Past Unearths a Timeless Lesson". University of Idaho. UI News. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
  13. ^ "US Internment Camp Discovered In The Mountains Of Northern Idaho". International Business Times. 2013-07-26. Retrieved 2017-05-26.
  14. ^ Geranios, Nicholas K. (July 23, 2013). "In Idaho mountains, researchers dig into a painful past of Kooskia Internment Camp". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  15. ^ Wegars, Priscilla. "Asian American Comparative Collection: The Kooskia Internment Camp Project". University of Idaho. Retrieved July 27, 2013.
  16. ^ "Kooskia Internment Camp Scrapbook". University of Idaho. Retrieved July 27, 2013.
  17. ^ Geranios, Nicholas K. (July 27, 2013). "Researchers uncover little-known internment camp". Yahoo! News. Associated Press. Retrieved July 27, 2013.
  18. ^ Banse, Tom (August 5, 2010). "Archaeologists resurrect nearly forgotten WWII internment camp". Oregon Public Broadcasting. Retrieved July 27, 2013.
  19. ^ "Milepoint log: U.S. 12" (PDF). Idaho Transportation Department. January 25, 2016. p. 5.
  20. ^ Forbes, Bob (November 29, 1953). "Hiking the Wash-ho-tana link in Lochsa wilds". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. (Empire Magazine). p. 9.
  21. ^ "Leaders arrive for L-C Highway dedication". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Idaho. August 19, 1962. p. 1.
  22. ^ Campbell, Thomas W.; Hamilton, Laddd (August 20, 1962). "Thousands witness L-C Highway dedication". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 1.
  23. ^ "Dedication festivity opens Idaho-Montana road link". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). August 20, 1962. p. 1.
  24. ^ Wakeley, Daniel A. (August 20, 1962). "New route opens rugged land". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). p. 1.

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Coordinates: 46°12′36″N 115°32′35″W / 46.21°N 115.543°W / 46.21; -115.543