#0934 Temporary Detention Camps for Japanese Americans - Tanforan Assembly Center


#0934 Temporary Detention Camps for Japanese Americans - Tanforan Assembly Center

Site information:

This mall used to be a racetrack, which was the site of the detention center.  As of 2022, there are plans to remove the mall and develop the land.

The plaque I photographsed was on the southwest side of Tanforan Park Shopping Center, El Camino Real, San Bruno.


In August of 2022, a new memorial was dedicated on the east side of the mall at the BART station.

37.637593, -122.416619

Plaque information:

Private plaque

Plaque text:

Tanforan Assembly Center Commemorative Garden

This garden memorializes a time when this site, then the Tanforan Park Racetrack, was transformed into a temporary assembly center for persons of Japanese ancestry. On February 19, 1942, in the absence of charges or due process of law, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. This act set into motion the forced evacuation of 7800 San Francisco Bay Area Japanese Americans, who lived under armed guard for eight months in horse stalls and makeshift housing at the Tanforan Assembly Center. They, along with 120,000 other Japanese Americans residing in the western states, were later forcibly removed to, and confined in, government detention camps in the nation's interior. May we honor this period of history by our remembrance and just action.

Dedicated on September 29, 2007. Funding made possible by many former internees of Tanforan, descendants of the internees and other generous individuals and organizations.

OHP description:

The temporary detention camps (also known as 'assembly centers') represent the first phase of the mass incarceration of 97,785 Californians of Japanese ancestry during World War II. Pursuant to Executive Order 9066 signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 19, 1942, thirteen makeshift detention facilities were constructed at various California racetracks, fairgrounds, and labor camps. These facilities were intended to confine Japanese Americans until more permanent concentration camps, such as those at Manzanar and Tule Lake in California, could be built in isolated areas of the country. Beginning on March 30, 1942, all native-born Americans and long-time legal residents of Japanese ancestry living in California were ordered to surrender themselves for detention.

Registered 5/13/1980