View of Tuna Canyon, c. 1934. Courtesy of Little Landers Historical Society at Bolton Hall Museum

View of Tuna Canyon, c. 1934. Courtesy of Little Landers Historical Society at Bolton Hall Museum

The Los Angeles City Council voted today to designate a former World War II-era internment camp in the San Fernando Valley as an historic-cultural monument. That overturns an earlier decision by the Cultural Heritage Commission.

The former site of the Tuna Canyon Detention Station is now the Verdugo Hills Golf Course. More than 2,500 Japanese nationals and Japanese-Americans – along with Japanese-Peruvians, Germans and Italians – were detained at the camp during the Second World War.

Just days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, they were rounded up and kept behind barbed-wire enclosures, and watched over by armed guards for 6 months or longer.

“The Tuna Canyon Detention Station is an important piece of our history in the northeast San Fernando Valley and a reminder of some of our darkest times as a community, nation and world,” said Councilman Richard Alarcon, whose district includes the site.

The Cultural Heritage Commission decided earlier this year to reject an application to include the site on the city’s list of monuments.

The commission explained that the Sun Valley site has none of its original structures.

The property owner, Snowball West Investments Inc., hopes to build 224 single-family homes on the site. But an attorney for the developer says the company plans to set aside a commemoration area, as well as apply for historical status with the state of California.

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