We Built This City
The dubious construction achievement described in this episode really happened -- at the Poston Relocation Center in Arizona -- on May 19, 1942.
I shifted the location of the event from Poston in Arizona to the Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Wyoming because I wanted to be able to tell the story of the impact on surrounding communities of the construction of the camps, and that was an easier story for me to tell in Wyoming than in Arizona.
The towns of Cody and Powell really did benefit economically from the camp in the ways described, and in other ways. Regrettably this did not keep their town councils from issuing a joint resolution in May of 1943 asking that Japanese Americans not be allowed to leave camp to enter the towns (except to work the fields).
The Irma Hotel is still welcoming guests today. You can still get a drink at the cherrywood bar that Queen Victoria gave to Buffalo Bill.
I created the character of Ned Anderson and the terms of the competition. We don't actually know the incentive that led the workers to their "accomplishment."
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Music in this episode: "Frame of Mind" by Erik Haddad; "Countryboy" - www.bensound.com; "Rooftop" and "Chunk of Lawn" by Jahzzar; "Sad Day" – www.bensound.com; construction sounds built from clips found on FreeSfx -- http://www.freesfx.co.uk; "Don't Fence Me In" performed by Roy Rogers (public domain) .
Photos courtesy of the National Archives Catalog.