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Manzanar Army Air Field
This airfield is adjacent to the site of one of the Manzanar Relocation Center to which civilians of ethnic Japanese background were relocated during World War II. There are conflicting accounts of this field's origin, which may be due to official embarrassment over the history of the relocation camp.
Some sources indicate that the airfield was built for the Army in 1941 for bomber pilot training, testing experimental aircraft, and aircraft emergencies. It apparently was never used by the relocation center, which operated from 1942-1945.
However, a different account is given by a National Park Service history of the Manzanar Camp. Oddly, it does not make any mention of the military being involved in the airport's construction (nor any mention of the relocation camp).
The Park Service account indicates that in 1941 the City of Los Angeles leased to Inyo County 619 acres of land on the east side of the highway at Manzanar for airport construction.The 50-year lease, which was never recorded in the county records, contained a provision in the lease that it would terminate automatically should the land not be used for airport purposes for more than one year.
In 1956, Inyo County notified Los Angeles that it had abandoned the airport, that the Civil Aeronautics Administration had consented to such abandonment & was not interested in the site, and that the premises had not been used for airport purposes for more than one year. In connection with the lease cancellation the county marked off the runways in 1956, and the wind sock & tower were removed in 1957. The Corps of Engineers indicated that it had no further interest in the airport, and in 1958 work commenced to remove electrical equipment, including the obstruction lights.
Thereafter, the land on which the former Manzanar airport had been located was leased to local ranchers for grazing purposes & used for a variety of special events. In 1957 the airport was used as a bivouac area for an advance party of the Nevada Army National Guard. From 1968-69, Aerojet General of Downey, California, was granted permission to use the land & runways for experimental tests.
In 1971-72, the airstrip was used for time trails & drag races.
The airfield consists of two 4,800' paved runways, one of which has a parallel taxiway.
The airfield site is bisected by Manzanar Reward Road (which passes right through the runway intersection). The airfield is bordered on the west side by Route 395, and the Los Angeles Aqueduct on the east side. The site of the relocation center is on the other side of Route 395.


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