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Tuna Canyon Detention Station

Overhead view of the Tuna Canyon Detention Station Photo: M.H. Scott, Officer In Charge,Tuna Canyon Detention Station.Courtesy David Scott and the Little Landers Historical Society

Tuna Canyon Detention Station was a prison camp that was used for holding Japanese immigrants during World War II. In addition Italians, Germans and Japanese Peruvians were also interned there.[1] Canyon was a temporary holding facility for prisoners who were later transferred to permanent camps.[1] The camp was located near Pasadena, California at a former Civilian Conservation Camp (CCC), which was claimed by the U.S. Department of Justice on December 8, 1941 in order to detain enemy aliens.[1]

The Tuna Canyon Detention Station Coalition is dedicated to preservation of the site and its history.[2]


Within hours of the December 7, 1941 Attack on Pearl Harbor that brought the United States into World War II, the FBI and local authorities began arresting Japanese Americans considered to be potential saboteurs. Approximately 5,500 were taken into custody, along with several thousand German and Italian Americans, based on a previously compiled (and loosely organized) list of citizens and aliens to be detained should the U.S. "enter the conflict abroad." None were provided with legal counsel and no evidence was ever produced to support the claims of fifth column activity.[1] The La Tuna Civilian Conservation Corps Camp (constructed in Tujunga in 1933) was turned over to the Immigration and Naturalization Service the day after Pearl Harbor and converted to the Tuna Canyon Detention Station, for the purpose of holding and processing "enemy aliens."[1] Administered by the Department of Justice, the camp opened on December 16, 1941, when the first group of detainees arrived from various Southern California towns and cities. Tuna Canyon held an average of 300 prisoners at a time, and 1,490 Japanese internees and about 1,000 Germans, Italians, and Japanese Peruvians passed through the camp before being transferred to larger DOJ facilities like Fort Missoula, Fort Lincoln and Santa Fe.[3]

The detention station closed on October 1, 1943, and the site was used as a probation school after the war. In the 1960s, the property was sold and turned into the Verdugo Hills Golf Course. The former detention site, located at 6433 W. La Tuna Canyon Road, was recognized as a historic cultural monument by the City of Los Angeles in 2013, although the housing developer attempting to build on the land has filed a lawsuit to contest the recognition.

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External links


  1. ^ a b c d e Masumoto, Marie. Tuna Canyon (Detention Facility). Densho Encyclopedia. Accessed February 11, 2015
  2. ^ Tuna Canyon Detention Station Coalition. Accessed February 10, 2015.
  3. ^ City Council Unanimously Declares Grove at Tuna Canyon Site a Historic Cultural Monument." Rafu Shimpo (June 26, 2013). Retrieved August 11, 2014.

Coordinates: 34°15′00″N 118°17′00″W / 34.2500°N 118.2833°W / 34.2500; -118.2833{{#coordinates:34.2500|-118.2833||||||| |primary |name= }}