After all, the cemetery, at that time, was known informally as The Japanese Cemetery—a remnant of the vibrant Japanese and Japanese-American community that was sent to prison camps, just twenty years earlier, for the duration of WWII.
At the war’s end, local civic groups formed in Auburn to discourage the newly released families from returning to the White River Valley. It’s estimated that only one in ten Japanese families ever returned to our area.
The remaining Caucasian population had little concern for gravesites of people that many still viewed as the enemy.
But as the plans for the roadway progressed, local groups realized that the cemetery still included more than just Japanese graves.
Although Auburn abandoned the plan to straighten the road at the expense of the cemetery, the community felt they should do more to ensure the cemetery’s on-going protection.