Over the years, Friends of Minidoka has been a primary supporter in the continued development at Minidoka National Historic Site; most recently we raised funds for and managed both the Honor Roll and Guard Tower reconstruction projects. This year, one of our primary projects has been the reconstruction of one of fourteen original baseball and softball fields at Minidoka.
Baseball played a key role in sustaining the 13,000 Nikkei who were incarcerated at Hunt Camp. Many incarcerees – whether youth or adults, male or female – played on one of the many fields throughout the camp. Almost every issue of the Minidoka Irrigator mentions baseball as part of life at camp.
The idea for Field-In-A-Day came from the 1952 Farm-In-A-Day event, during which 1,500 volunteers and over 11,000 spectators came to the Herrmann Farm, which was formerly part of Minidoka War Relocation Center near Fire Station #1, and built Herrmann’s two-bedroom house, constructed corrals, and plowed the fields all in a single day. Friends of Minidoka, NPS staff, and almost 150 registered volunteers will be participating in Field-In-A-Day on May 28th. The goal for the day is to build all of the field elements, apply field markings and install bases, install wayside panels, and create accessibility paths to the field. There will also be a noon program and tours of the site.
Through our online crowdfunding webpage at generosity.com, donations by mail and on the FoM website, and a small grant, we raised approximately $25,000 for the baseball field reconstruction. Thank you all for making this project possible! These generous donations paid for the materials for the field elements including the backstop, two scoreboards, two player benches, and two bleachers, as well as wayside exhibit panels interpreting the story of baseball and other sports at camp, and a donor plaque to honor all of you. Funds also went to supporting volunteers for the Field-In-A-Day event, and supporting the dedication of the field during the Pilgrimage. Excess funds will be used to maintain the field in the future, which will be used to play on during special events and tours.
Field-In-A-Day also received media attention. We received press inquiries from or were mentioned in the Idaho Statesman, Idaho State Journal, Boise Weekly, Rafu Shimpo, Asian American News, and NBC Asian America.
Formal dedication of the field will take place Sunday, June 26 during the annual Minidoka Pilgrimage. We can’t wait to welcome all of you back to the site to see your new baseball field. Thank you again for supporting this project.