Jerome War Relocation Center
The Jerome War Relocation Center was a Japanese American internment camp located in southeastern Arkansas, near the town of Jerome in the Arkansas Delta. Open from October 6, 1942, until June 30, 1944, it was the last American concentration camps to open and the first to close. At one point it held as many as 8,497 inmates. After closing, it was converted into a holding camp for German prisoners of war. Today, few remains of the camp are visible; the smokestack from the hospital incinerator still stands. Jerome is located 30 miles southwest of the Rohwer War Relocation Center in the Delta. Due to the large number of Japanese Americans detained there, these two camps were ranked as the fifth- and sixth-largest towns in Arkansas. Both camps were served by the same rail line. A 10-foot high granite monument marks history; the marker is located on US Highway 165, at County Road 210 8 miles south of Dermott, Arkansas. On December 21, 2006, President George W. Bush signed H. R. 1492 into law authorizing $38,000,000 in federal money to preserve the Jerome relocation center, along with nine other former Japanese internment camps.
The 2004 PBS documentary film Time of Fear explores the history of these two American concentration camps in Arkansas. After the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 brought the United States into World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was lobbied to sign Executive Order 9066, which authorized military leaders to declare the West Coast a military zone from which persons considered "a threat to security" could be excluded; some military leaders opposed this action, historians have concluded that the order was based on local exaggerated fears and xenophobia, plus economic competition. Officials classified most Japanese Americans including native-born citizens, they forced the "evacuation" of 120,000 Japanese Americans. The Jerome War Relocation Camp was located in Southeast Arkansas in Drew counties, it was one of two American concentration camps in the Arkansas Delta, the other being at Rohwer, 27 miles north of Jerome. The Jerome site was situated on 10,054 acres of tax-delinquent land in the marshy delta of the Mississippi River's flood plain, purchased in the 1930s during Depression relief efforts by the Farm Security Administration.
Despite initial resistance from Governor Homer Adkins – who agreed to allow the camps only after exacting a federal guarantee that the Japanese American inmates would be watched by armed white guards and removed from the state at the end of the war – the War Relocation Authority acquired the land in 1942. Along with other Southern states, Arkansas had legal racial segregation and Jim Crow laws; the A. J. Rife Construction Company of Dallas, working under the supervision of the Army Corps of Engineers, built the Jerome camp at a cost of $4,703,347; the architect, Edward F. Neild of Shreveport, Louisiana designed the camp at Rohwer in Desha County. Jerome was divided into 50 blocks, which were surrounded by a barbed wire fence, a patrol road, seven watchtowers. Administrative and community spaces such as schools and the hospital were separate from the 36 residential or barracks blocks; these consisted of twelve barracks divided into several "apartments", in addition to communal dining and sanitary facilities.
250 to 300 individuals lived in each block. The only entrances were at the back of the camp to the east; the camp was not finished. These early arrivals were forced to work on construction of their incarceration quarters; this was the last center to the first to close. The constant movement of camp populations into and out of facilities has made accurate statistics difficult; as of January 1943, the camp had a population of 7,932 people, the following month Jerome reached its peak at nearly 8,500. Most prisoners had lived in Los Angeles or farmed in and around Fresno and Sacramento before the war, but some ten percent of Jerome's population was relocated from Hawai'i. Fourteen percent were over the age of sixty, there were 2,483 school-age children in the camp, thirty-one percent of the total population. Thirty-nine percent of the residents were under the age of nineteen. Sixty-six percent were American citizens, having been born in the United States, were known as Nisei; the Issei, or first-generation, immigrant parents and grandparents had been prohibited by US law from obtaining citizenship, along with other East Asians, were referred to as "aliens".
The camp was closed at the end of June 1944 and adapted as a German prisoner-of-war camp, renamed as Camp Dermott. Due to questions about their loyalty due to answers to the confusing loyalty questionnaire, many Japanese American male inmates had been transferred to the Tule Lake segregation camp in California; the remainder of the prisoners were sent to Rohwer in Arkansas and the Gila River War Relocation Center in Arizona, constructed on the Pima/Maricopa reservation. Adult camp residents worked at the saw mill, or making soap; the barracks were small and poorly insulated. Sometimes several families had to share a one-room "apartment", which did not provide enough room for one family. Project Director Paul A. Taylor warned residents that leaving the camp without permission and trespassing on priv
Puyallup, Washington is a city in Pierce County, about 10 miles southeast of Tacoma and 35 miles south of Seattle. The population was 37,022 at the 2010 Census and the Washington State Office of Financial Management estimated the 2014 population at 38,670. Named after the Puyallup Tribe of Native Americans, Puyallup means "the generous people", it is home to the Washington State Fair, the state's main fair. In 1833, The Puyallup Valley was a maze of old forest growth, it was subjected to massive log jams from the meandering river. The first white settlers were part of the first wagon train to cross the Cascades at Naches Pass in 1853. Native Americans numbered about 2,000 in what is now the Puyallup Valley in the 1840s; the first European settlers arrived in the 1850s. In 1877, Ezra Meeker platted a townsite and named it Puyallup after the local Puyallup Indian tribes, 11 years after departing from Indiana; the town grew throughout the 1880s, in large part thanks to Meeker's hop farm, which brought in millions of dollars to Puyallup, leading to it being incorporated in 1890, with Ezra Meeker as its first mayor.
The turn of the 20th century brought change to the valley with the growth of nearby Tacoma and the interurban rail lines. The Western Washington Fairgrounds were developed giving local farmers a place to exhibit their crops and livestock. During the early part of World War II, the fairgrounds were part of Camp Harmony, a temporary Japanese American internment camp for more than 7,000 detainees, most of whom were American citizens. Subsequently, they were moved to the Minidoka relocation center near Idaho. Puyallup is located at 47°10′33″N 122°17′37″W. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 14.04 square miles, of which 13.93 square miles is land and 0.11 square miles is water consisting of the Puyallup River estuary. Puyallup is 12.2 mi², As it is bordered by unincorporated Pierce County. The closest neighbors include the city of Sumner to the northeast and Edgewood to the north, Tacoma to the northwest and Midland to the west, South Hill and Frederickson to the south, McMillin and Orting to the southeast, Alderton to the east.
Downtown and the valley neighborhoods of Puyallup would be damaged or destroyed in a moderate or large eruption of nearby Mount Rainier. Puyallup experiences an Oceanic climate. Winters are wet. High temperatures average in the mid with lows near freezing; the surrounding hills experience the extremes of winter, with lows below freezing more and higher snowfall amounts. Snowfall is rare, only occurs on a few days a year, sometimes as early as November, as late as April. Spring brings less rain, more mild temperatures, with highs in the mid 50s, to around 60. Spring records the first 70 °F mark. Summers are dry, with highs in the 70s most days. Many days can max out in the 80s, sometimes the 90s. 100 F readings happen rarely. Summer thunderstorms happen but are isolated and severe. Storms roll off the Cascades, into the surrounding areas; these storms are a result of warm moist air from monsoons in the southwestern United States. Summer is warmest in July and August, September. By October and the fall season, temperatures begin to tumble and rain begins to pick up.
As of the census of 2010, there were 37,022 people, 14,950 households, 9,528 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,657.7 inhabitants per square mile. There were 16,171 housing units at an average density of 1,160.9 per square mile. The racial makeup of the city was 84.4% White, 2.1% African American, 1.4% Native American, 3.8% Asian, 0.7% Pacific Islander, 2.1% from other races, 5.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.9% of the population. There were 14,950 households of which 32.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.8% were married couples living together, 12.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.1% had a male householder with no wife present, 36.3% were non-families. 28.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.7% had someone living alone, 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 2.98. The median age in the city was 36.8 years. 23.6% of residents were under the age of 18.
The gender makeup of the city was 48.0% male and 52.0% female. As of the census of 2000, there were 33,011 people, 12,870 households, 8,519 families residing in the city; the population density was 2,719.2 people per square mile. There were 13,467 housing units at an average density of 1,109.3 per square mile. The racial makeup of the city was 87.88% White, 1.50% African American, 1.01% Native American, 3.27% Asian, 0.34% Pacific Islander, 1.94% from other races, 4.06% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.67% of the population. There were 12,870 households out of which 36.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.7% were married couples living together, 11.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 33.8% were non-famili
Japanese-American service in World War II
During the early years of World War II, Japanese Americans were forcibly relocated from their homes in the Pacific Coast states because military leaders and public opinion combined to fan unproven fears of sabotage. As the war progressed, many of the young Nisei, Japanese immigrants' children who were born with American citizenship, volunteered or were drafted to serve in the United States military. Japanese Americans served in all the branches of the United States Armed Forces, including the United States Merchant Marines; the 442nd Infantry Regiment became the most decorated unit in U. S. military history. The related 522nd Field Artillery Battalion liberated the infamous Dachau concentration camp. Other Japanese-American units included the 100th Infantry Battalion, the Varsity Victory Volunteers, the Military Intelligence Service; the majority of Japanese Americans serving in the American Armed Forces during World War II enlisted in the army. The 100th Infantry Battalion was engaged in heavy action during the war taking part in multiple campaigns.
The 100th was made up of Nisei who were members of the Hawaii National Guard. Sent to the mainland as the Hawaii Provisional Infantry Battalion on June 5, 1942, the 1,432 original members of the 100th were stationed first at Camp McCoy and at Camp Shelby for combat training. Meanwhile, an earlier decision to demote Nisei soldiers to 4-C class was reversed and the Army in 1943 issued a call for Japanese-American volunteers. Most of the initial recruits came from Hawaii, as those on the mainland were reluctant to volunteer while they and their families remained in camp; the 2,686 accepted Hawaiians and about 1,000 mainlanders were sent to Camp Shelby, where they joined the 100th. The Battalion shipped out in August 1943, landing in North Africa before fighting in Italy participating in the liberation of Rome, their exemplary military record, the patriotic activities of the Varsity Victory Volunteers, paved the way for the creation of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. The 442nd Regimental Combat Team was made up of Nisei.
The U. S. Army regiment served in Europe during World War II. Japanese Americans in training at the start of the war had been removed from active duty shortly after Pearl Harbor, the Army stopped accepting new Nisei recruits in early 1942. However, Japanese-American leaders like Mike Masaoka and War Department officials like John J. McCloy soon began to push the Roosevelt administration to allow Nisei to serve in combat. A military board was convened in June 1942 to address the issue, but their final report opposed forming a Nisei unit, citing "the universal distrust in which they are held." Despite resistance from military and War Relocation Authority leaders, the President sided with the War Department, on February 1, 1943, Roosevelt announced the creation of a segregated battalion composed of Nisei soldiers and commanded by white officers. While the first group of volunteers fought in Europe as part of the 100th Infantry Battalion, additional recruits and draftees began combat training at Camp Shelby.
The 1st Battalion of the 442nd soon after began sending replacement troops to join the 100th, which suffered an high casualty rate, the 2nd and 3rd Battalions shipped out on May 1, 1944, joining the 100th in Italy the next month. These men arrived in Europe after the 100th Infantry Battalion had established its reputation as a fighting unit, in time, the 442nd became, for its size and length of service, the most decorated unit in U. S. military history. The all-Nisei 522nd Field Artillery Battalion was organized as part of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team; the 522nd had the distinction of liberating survivors of the Dachau concentration camp system, from the Nazis on April 29, 1945. Nisei scouts west of Munich near the small Bavarian town of Lager Lechfeld encountered some barracks encircled by barbed wire. Technician Fourth Grade Ichiro Imamura described it in his diary: "I watched as one of the scouts used his carbine to shoot off the chain that held the prison gates shut.... They weren't dead.
When the gates swung open, we got our first good look at the prisoners. Many of them were Jews, they were wearing striped prison suits and round caps. It was cold and the snow was two feet deep in some places. There were no German guards; the prisoners struggled to their feet.... They shuffled weakly out of the compound, they were like skeletons - all skin and bones...."Holocaust historians have clarified the Nisei 522nd liberated about 3,000 prisoners at Kaufering IV in Hurlach. Hurlach was one of 169 subordinate slave labor camps of Dachau. Dachau, like Auschwitz, Buchenwald and Ravensbrück, was surrounded by hundreds of sub-camps. Only three days the survivors of a death march southwards from Dachau towards the Austrian border were found by troops of the 522nd just west of the village of Waakirchen, cared for them until dedicated medical personnel took over. Pierre Moulin in his recent book'Dachau, Holocaust and US Samurais' writes that the first Nisei arrived at Dachau's gate not on April 29, the date of the liberation of the camp, but on April 28, 1945.
Japanese Americans were forbidden to fight a combat role in the Pacific theatre. Up to this point, the United States government has only been able to find records of five Japanese Americans who were members of the Army Air Forces during World War II, one of them being Kenje Ogata. There was at least one Nisei, U. S. Army Air Forces Technical S
Day of Remembrance (Japanese Americans)
The Day of Remembrance is a day commemorating the Japanese American internment during World War II. Events in numerous U. S. states are held on or near February 19, the day in 1942 that Executive Order 9066 was signed, requiring internment of all Americans of Japanese ancestry. The first Day of Remembrance commemorating the Japanese American internment was in the state of Washington on November 25, 1978, organized by the Evacuation Redress Committee. Co-sponsors included thirty churches, veterans' groups, other social organizations, as well as the national Japanese American Citizens League; the event took place at the Puyallup fairgrounds, which had served in 1942 as the assembly center named Camp Harmony. Although resistant, the board of the Western Washington Fair voted unanimously to allow the event to use the fairgrounds free of charge; the National Guard provided several large trucks similar to those used in 1942 to lead a caravan from Sicks' Stadium in Seattle to Puyallup, replicating the route taken by some of the internees.
One of the key organizers of the first day of remembrance was Frank Chin. The University of Washington Department of American Ethnic Studies held its first Day of Remembrance program in 1997, has held such a program all but three of the years since. At the 2008 ceremony, called The Long Journey Home, the university granted honorary baccalaureate degrees to all 449 of their former Japanese American students, affected by Executive Order 9066; the state of Washington has recognized the DOR since 2003. The first Day of Remembrance event in Oregon occurred February 17, 1979, less than three months after the initial Washington event. Like the Washington event, it was held at a detention site: the former site of the Pacific International Livestock Exposition, which, in 1942, had been the site of the Portland Assembly Center. In 2013, a ceremony was to be held in San Francisco's Japantown district. Los Angeles County has recognized the day. Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial Fred Korematsu Day Go for Broke Monument Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism During World War II Japanese American redress and court cases Japanese American service in World War II Sakura Square
Leupp is a census-designated place in Coconino County, United States. The population was 951 at the 2010 census; the Bureau of Indian Affairs established a school in Leupp in 1902. The town's name is pronounced LOOP. Soon afterward, the school was moved to a new location known as Old Leupp. Old Leupp is a few miles to the southeast of Leupp. In 1907, Leupp became the headquarters of the Leupp Indian Land, it was one of five Navajo Indian Lands that existed before 1936. Navajo Code Talkers In 1942, Philip Johnston, raised 12 miles North of Leupp as a young boy, proposed the idea of using the Navajo language as a code during World War II against the Japanese; the code, unbreakable until the US government released the top secret files, helped U. S in the war; the Navajo language is so complex with its dialect and sentence structure that it would take 2 1/2 minutes to translate and transmit and re-translate the message, which would take hours for a regular soldier to complete. Had it not been for the surrounding communities like Leupp and Flagstaff, Johnston would have never interacted with the Navajo people and learned the language, the Navajo code talkers would not have existed.
During World War II, an abandoned Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding school in Leupp was used as the Leupp Isolation Center, for Japanese American internees considered to be "troublemakers" by camp authorities. The first inmates were transferred from Manzanar by way of Leupp's predecessor, the Moab Isolation Center. After a December 1942 clash between camp guards and several hundred Japanese American internees, in which two prisoners were killed, nine prisoners and one guard injured, the 16 men who had instigated the protests were removed from camp and placed in surrounding town jails. While they waited in jail War Relocation Authority officials converted a former Civilian Conservation Corps camp outside Moab, Utah into a temporary isolation center for "noncompliant" Japanese Americans; the 16 men from Manzanar arrived in Moab on January 11, 1943. Over the next three months, another 25 "troublemakers" — men who had resisted the WRA's attempts to assess the loyalty of incarcerated Japanese Americans — were brought to Moab, on April 27 most of the population was transferred to Leupp.
The 49 transfers from Moab were joined in Leupp by additional internees from Tule Lake and other camps. Leupp housed a population of 50-60 prisoners at a time, with a total of 80 Japanese Americans passing through the isolation center while it was in operation; the 52 inmates residing in Leupp were transferred to the stockade at Tule Lake on December 2, 1943. The camp technically remained open, retained with minimal maintenance, until September 20, 1944, when the site was returned to Department of the Interior authority. In 1910, Mr. John Walker built the Leupp Trading Post out of quarried sandstone at the newly established community now called "Old Leupp", when the BIA began building its agency there. By 1912, Mr Walker sold the post to an unknown party. <img>http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/~ll3/beauty/thematic_units/slb23/images/old_leupp_store_1.jpg</img> Stanton K. Borum and Ida Mae Borum became owners of the Leupp Trading Post in 1929, made an addition to the original structure, thus, a two-story trading post was erected with the Trading Post on the ground floor and the residence on the second floor.
William E. and Lucile McGee, in the trading post business since 1923, purchased Leupp Trading Post in 1944 from Ida Mae Borum. After William and Lucile retired in 1968 their son and his wife, ran the Leupp Trading Post until 1982. <img>http://www.cr.nps.gov/history/online_books/anthropology74/images/figure14.11.jpg</img> Winslow section, pgs 47 & 66. Today, the Leupp Trading Post is defunct, the building dismantled, with nothing remaining other than the foundation. Leupp is located at 35°17′51″N 111°0′20″W. According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 13.6 square miles, of which 0.01 square miles, or 0.05%, is water. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Leupp has a semi-arid climate, abbreviated "BSk" on climate maps; as of the census of 2000, there were 970 people, 228 households, 206 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 73.9 people per square mile. There were 277 housing units at an average density of 21.1/sq mi. The racial makeup of the CDP was 98.14% Native American, 0.62% White, 0.10% from other races, 1.13% from two or more races.
1.03% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. There were 228 households out of which 54.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.9% were married couples living together, 29.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 9.6% were non-families. 9.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 0.9% had someone living alone, 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 4.25 and the average family size was 4.53. In the CDP, the age distribution of the population shows 43.7% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 25.7% from 25 to 44, 17.2% from 45 to 64, 4.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 23 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.8 males. Fo
John Dennis Spellman was an American politician, the 18th Governor of Washington between 1981 and 1985 and the first King County Executive from 1969 to 1981. Spellman was elected governor in 1980 amid large gains for Republicans across the country. During his tenure, the Washington State economy suffered due to the early 1980s recession. Spellman was defeated in his reelection campaign in 1984. To date, he is the last Republican to have held the office of Governor of Washington state. Spellman was born in Seattle to insurance executive Sterling Bartholomew "Bart" Spellman and teacher Lela A. Spellman, he was of English Puritans descent. His paternal grandfather, Dennis Bartholomew "Denny" Spellman, arrived in Seattle from Ireland just before the great fire of 1889 and became a successful plumbing contractor, his maternal grandmother was one of the first white children born in Oregon Territory and settled in the town of Brownsville. His father, was a standout guard for the University of Oregon in its 1917 Rose Bowl victory over the favored University of Pennsylvania and was an assistant coach at both Oregon and the University of Washington.
Spellman was raised in the Eastside suburbs of Hunts Bellevue with his sister Mary. He completed his high school education at Seattle Preparatory School, graduating in 1944; the same year, he left high school midway through his senior year studies to enroll in the Merchant Marine cadet program during World War II and served in the United States Navy. Under the G. I. Bill, he was a 1949 BBS History-Political Science graduate of Seattle University and a 1953 graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center. John met his wife Lois Elizabeth Murphy, from Havre, Montana in a Spanish class while attending Seattle University. Spellman entered politics after joining a group of progressive Republicans who sought to reform the party, he became a member of the Municipal Civic Service Commission while practicing as an attorney in the early 1960s. Spellman did not advance past the primary, he campaigned for Dan Evans in his successful bid to become governor that year. Spellman was elected to the three-member King County Commission in 1967.
Following a voter-approved plan to implement a new Home Rule Charter in 1968, the office of County Executive was established and Spellman was elected the county's first chief executive over former governor Albert Rosellini in 1969. Spellman played the lead role in establishing the county's new governmental structure under the Charter, he consolidated independent departments and replaced the old patronage system with a merit system. Spellman supervised the controversial process of siting and building the Kingdome, the domed stadium that provided the first home for the Seattle Seahawks and Seattle Mariners, initiated early efforts to deal with uncontrolled growth, he was twice re-elected to the office in 1973 and 1977. Spellman first ran for governor in 1976 and was the top Republican in the state's blanket primary, but lost the general election to Democrat Dixy Lee Ray. Spellman again ran for governor in 1980, narrowly defeating representative Duane Berentson in the primary. Jim McDermott ran as the Democratic candidate, but Spellman defeated McDermott by a lopsided margin in the general election in a year Republicans made big political gains across the country.
During Spellman's four-year term of office, Washington's economy suffered a serious recession marked by rising unemployment and disappointing tax revenues. The State Legislature was divided over how to address an alarming revenue shortfall, but did agree to an increase in Washington's statewide sales tax rate from 5.5% to 6.5%. Despite campaign promises to oppose new taxes, Spellman pushed for $2.5 billion in new taxes to address funding shortfalls. One of Spellman's memorable policy stands was his strong commitment to environmental protection. Against pressure from business groups and many legislators, he vetoed a bill permitting for an environmentally-risky development project by Chicago Bridge & Iron in a sensitive shoreline area of Whatcom County; the veto was overridden by a vote of the state senate. He blocked a proposed oil pipeline that would have crossed under the Puget Sound over potential endangerment of the waterway's ecology and refused to back down amidst public support of the project.
In September 1983, upon the death of U. S. Senator Henry M. Jackson, Spellman appointed former Republican governor Daniel J. Evans to fill the vacant U. S. Senate seat. While the Democratic party protested the appointment of a Republican to fill the seat vacated by a Democrat, Spellman's appointment was considered lawful under the then-current statutes; as state law required an immediate primary and general election for the remaining U. S. Senate seat term, a primary election was held just three weeks after Evans' interim appointment. In 1984, Spellman ran for a second term of office. After a Democratic primary between then-State Senator Jim McDermott, former state Representative John Jovanovich, then-Pierce County Executive Booth Gardner, Spellman faced a difficult battle in the general election against Democratic nominee Gardner. In the November 1984 general election, Spellman was defeated by Booth Gardner, no Republican has served as governor of Washington since. After leaving office in January 1985, Spellman returned to private law practice.
In 1990 he ran for election as a justice of the Washington Supreme Court against Richard P. Guy, but was not elected. Spellman was
Merced is a city in, the county seat of, Merced County, United States, in the San Joaquin Valley. As of 2014, the city had a population of 81,743. Incorporated on April 1, 1889, Merced is a charter city that operates under a council-manager government, it is named after the Merced River. Merced, known as the "Gateway to Yosemite," is less than two hours by automobile from Yosemite National Park to the east and Monterey Bay, the Pacific Ocean, multiple beaches to the west; the community is served by the passenger rail service Amtrak, a minor subsidized airline through Merced Regional Airport, three bus lines. It is 110 miles from Sacramento, 130 miles from San Francisco, 45 miles from Fresno, 270 miles from Los Angeles. In 2005, the city became home to the 10th University of California campus, University of California, the first research university built in the U. S. in the 21st century. Since 2005, Merced has been home to University of Merced. Current recreational opportunities in the city include Applegate Park and zoo and Black Rascal Creeks and their bike trails, a skate park located in Applegate, Playhouse Merced, a live-stage theater downtown, two first-run movie theaters, The Mainzer Theater, known for its historic and architectural value, the County Courthouse Museum circa 1889, the Merced Multicultural Arts Center and the County Library.
Though still growing, Merced has several shopping areas including the Merced Mall, anchored by Target, Sears, JCPenney and Kohl's, a strip mall located on the city's northwest side which includes Best Buy, Barnes & Noble, Lowe's, Wal-Mart, several restaurants. Merced's Main Street contains several restaurants, a movie theater, other assorted shops. Within a short distance from the city limits are the Castle Air Museum, Lake Yosemite, Merced Falls. Merced is the headquarters of Malibu Boats, a manufacturer of inboard boats; the city of Merced along with its surrounding cities are serviced by the Merced Sun-Star and the Merced County Times. The Sun-Star daily newspaper has a circulation of over 20,000 in the Merced area and the Times weekly newspaper has a circulation of over 5,000. Homes at the median level in Merced had lost 62% of their value from the second quarter of 2006, when they peaked at $336,743, the biggest drop anywhere in the country, according to data provided to Forbes by Local Market Monitor, a Cary, North-Carolina-based real-estate research firm.
Home prices have since rebounded, with the median sale price in April 2018 at $247,000. Earlier, home building and buying grew exponentially in Merced, but the metro area went to a 14.2% unemployment rate in December 2013. Having since recovered to a rate of 8.7% in April 2018, it is still above the national and state unemployment averages. However, some efforts have been directed towards diversifying its economy and are showing a lowering trend in the overall unemployment rate, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. During the Great Recession Merced suffered one of the greatest property price collapses in the country and house prices at the end of 2009 had fallen to 1998 levels, according to Zillow, making housing affordable compared to many other California locations. Merced's population has grown faster than the state average since 1980. Over the past nine years, the annualized growth rate is about 3.4%. This rapid expansion of population has stimulated significant retail growth since 1992.
Several major retail chain stores have entered Merced, adding over 750,000 square feet of new retail space in that time and increasing the City's sales tax receipts by over $500,000 annually. On 6/19/2018, Merced appeared on the MSN.com portal page as one of the 50 worst cities in the USA The economy has traditionally relied upon agribusiness and upon the presence of Castle Air Force Base. Over the past twenty years, more diversified industry has entered the area, including printing, fiberglass boat building and distribution, packaging industries. In September 1995, Castle Air Force Base closed after phasing down over the previous three years; this affected residential real estate and some sectors of the retail and service economies but overall retail continued to increase. No significant increase in unemployment was noted. Re-use of the former base is proceeding. Industrial development is increasing in the area. Since 1992, more than 400,000 square feet of new industrial activity has started.
In May 1995, Merced was selected as the home of the next University of California campus. UC Merced opened with its first 1,000 students in September 2005. Local planning is underway to accommodate campus development, which will accommodate about 25,000 students; the first Merced post office opened in 1870. Merced now operates under the Council-Manager form of government. During World War II, the Merced County fairgrounds were the site of a temporary "assembly center" where Japanese Americans were detained after being removed from their West Coast homes under Executive Order 9066. 4,669 men and children from central California were confined in the Merced Assembly Center from May 6 to September 15, 1942, when they were transferred to the more permanent Granada internment camp in Colorado. State Route 59 State Route 99 State Route 140 Merced Regional Airport. Passenger service provided by Boutique Air. Castle Airport in nearby Atwater, California. Greyhound, Intercalifornias, TUFESA and Fronteras del Norte serve Merced.
YARTS provides scheduled service into Yosemite National Park. Merced County Transit, "The Bus", operates both scheduled fixed route bus service and Dial