Unearthing Amache: Once an internee, now a volunteer

Jul 31, 2014

Carlene Tanigoshi Tinker was a little girl when she was an internee at Camp Amache, outside Granada, Colorado.  She resided there with her family from 1942 to 1944.  

She’s returning to Amache to volunteer at Denver University's field school.

She’s not standing by, watching the action, she’s in the midst of it, digging, brushing, and screening. 

The excavation reveals something.  The crew believes they have found a Japanese style bathtub called a furo.

Tinker explains a furo. 

“What you did is you had two sections to the furo.  There was an outer platform where you stood and that was connected a giant bathtub, kinda like a modern day spa.  You would stand on the platform, wash yourself off with soap and water, rinse yourself, and then get in this big tub of hot water,” she says.

She remembers using a furo at Camp Amache.

“I can actually remember taking a bath in that fashion.  I was obviously a small child at that time.  I was with my mother and my two aunts.  We stood on a very clear night.  I could see the stars.  It was black.  The sky was black.  We stood on the platform, washed ourselves, and then proceeded to get in to the tub.  The tub we were in must have been very large because my aunts were adults and so was my mom,” says Tinker.

She says the furo they are excavating is believed to have been enclosed by a wooden structure so that those using it were not visible to surrounding residents. 

The foundation of the structure has revealed an inscription.  The letters they can make out are “A” and the numbers “1917.” 

The team is unsure what that means, but plans on looking through the directory to find who lived nearby, and hoping that could possibly reveal the identity of the person who drew in the cement.

The excavated furo is located in Block 7H. 

Tinker’s family went to Denver when they were released from the camp where they lived for a few years before returning to California.