The Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation is excited to announce completion of the first restoration phase of its historic root cellar. The foundation will host a talk about the project at Heart Mountain Interpretive Center and lead tours of the cellar on Saturday, August 11, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. The program and tours are free with museum admission.
With its iconic roof vents visible from Highway 14A, the root cellar is one of two such structures constructed by incarcerated Japanese Americans held at the Heart Mountain camp during World War II. The agriculture program at Heart Mountain was so successful that it was necessary to build the two 300-foot long underground cellars to store the 1943 harvest. Only one cellar survives today. It was donated to Heart Mountain in 2015 by the Jolovich family, who came into ownership of the cellar after the camp closed in 1945.
With the assistance of a Japanese American Confinement Sites grant from the National Park Service, the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation is working with Solomon Martin of Zoula, LLC and archaeologist Chris Finley to stabilize and restore the root cellar so it can be accessed by the public. The upcoming program will detail the recently completed first phase of restoration. Martin, Finley, and Heart Mountain Historic Site Manager Kim Barhaug will describe the work that has been done so far and the challenges that lie ahead. Tours of the cellar will be offered immediately following the main program. Because of limited accessibility to the cellar, reservations for tours are encouraged.
Heart Mountain Interpretive Center tells the story of some 14,000 Japanese Americans unjustly incarcerated in Wyoming from 1942 through 1945. The center is located between Cody and Powell on Highway 14A. Museum admission is $7.00 for adults and $5.00 for students and seniors. Children under 12 and members of the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation are free. For reservations or more information please call (307) 754-8000 or email [email protected].