Densho Digital Archive
New Mexico JACL Collection
Title: Roy Ebihara Interview
Narrator: Roy Ebihara
Interviewer: Andrew Russell
Location: Roswell, New Mexico
Date: March 7, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-eroy-02-0015

<Begin Segment 15>

[Location: Baca Ranch.]

RE: This is where the log cabin was. The log cabin, this was the back, back door to the log cabin. That was the front of the log cabin. The log cabin, we never utilized this for anything; it was always empty. But years ago before we were there, back in the '30s, it was utilized as the mess hall or the kitchen for the Girl Scouts. Because the Girl Scouts used to utilize this facility after it was abandoned by the Civilian Conservation Corps people.

AR: Any reason why you guys didn't use it?

RE: Our cooking facilities were provided by a little wood burning stove inside the barracks. But as kids we used to come in here, and there'd be bluebirds and other birds would be trapped and we'd chase them around inside here. Other than that we very seldom had any need to be here. I don't think we ever had meetings or did anything really special in here.

AR: Do you know what this slab to the back would have been for?

RE: I don't know, it was the back, this is the back entrance, so I suppose they backed up the provisions and things they needed for the kitchen was here.

AR: Was the kitchen here?

RE: The kitchen was, yeah, the kitchen was, most likely was here. And this was a huge dining hall. But it was a magnificent log cabin structure.


AR: The site of the log cabin that wasn't utilized by the camp personnel.

RE: You see where this big tall pine tree is. This was the u-shaped, remember the u-shaped facilities where the Kimuras, Kimuras lived right here. The Kimura family lived here. In this angle was the big latrine. It had a lot of toilets and facility, washroom and everything was here. Our family was in this other wing of this big building, right up here. It was sort of like a courtyard right in here, and the latrine we shared over here. And this is where we lived, in this wing. Had to walk through the barracks to get to the latrine over here in this part of the building. Across the way was where the administrators, Mr. Tenney and the border patrol used to live in that little cottage where the fireplace is.


AR: Facing west now, what's that structure behind you?

RE: That structure behind us was a nice little cabin, cottage-like, and that's where the, Mr. Tenney, who was a supervisor here, and his, another man was in there. They pretty much were called administrators of this whole camp.

AR: Camp. And they're officers of the INS, Immigration Service?

RE: Yes, they were. And so, the front of our quarters here always faced that way to their front. If you notice that big pine tree there, back in those times we were here, many of the pine trees were as big as that. We were just surrounded with huge pine trees reaching to the sky. But that's what it was like, until, of course, the fires in the 1950s, the forest fire that raked through this canyon wiped out all the big tall pine trees.

AR: Now you said your father and some of the other Issei actually had cut down pine trees.

RE: Cut down pine trees perhaps as big as that. It was incredible because they somehow obstructed the view that the administrators wanted all of us. So they were all in here, huge pine trees, and they chopped down about a half a dozen of those huge pine trees.

AR: Now was the camp actually enclosed with barbed wire?

RE: No, no, uh-uh, only the barbed wires were where the cattle would not, would be behind that. The ranchers were even there then leasing the federal land here.

AR: I see, so they didn't string barbed wire to keep you guys in or anything?

RE: No, not at all, not at all.

AR: Now you said there was one u-shaped building if we look off to the north here.

RE: Uh-huh. Right here, adjacent to the slab, the Kimuras were on that one wing of that u-shaped building. We were on the other building, the other wing.

AR: Other wing, and then there was a second u-shaped building?

RE: There was another u-shaped one that was pretty much abandoned. Now if you look over there, now to the left of the administrators' cottage was another two cottages there. One of them, next to the administrator, pretty much about 30 yards away, my sister Amy and my sister Fumi lived there because there were too many of us in this cottage, this quarters. And then, the last building as you came in here was Mr., the Hataye family and Nishibata, or the other family lived there.

AR: And they really were just a couple, man and wife?

RE: That man and wife, I'm sorry, man and wife.

AR: And how big was there structure, was it as big as the u-shaped one?

RE: No, no, it was just like the one that was just... like small cottages across the way. And apparently back in the '30s when the Girl Scouts would come, that's where the scout leaders used to live in those cottages. I'm not so sure that these quarters that were the u-shaped quarters were prefab buildings that were built by, for, to accommodate CCC men, I guess after the Girl Scouts pretty much abandoned this area. I don't know which came first.

AR: Girl Scouts or CCC.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 2008 New Mexico JACL and Densho. All Rights Reserved.