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Non profit makes progress on restoring historic root cellar at former internment site in Northwest Wyoming

Renovation of a historic root cellar that was part of a Japanese American internment camp in Northwest Wyoming.
The Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation
A ramp leading up to the structure and interior supports have been completed. The nonprofit is raising funds for the next restoration phase, which will include installing an emergency exit.

One of the few remaining structures at a former Japanese internment camp in Northwest Wyoming is one step closer to being restored.

For nearly a decade, the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation has been working on restoring a root cellar that stored vegetables grown by Japanese Americans at the relocation site.

Cally Steussy with the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation says touring the inside of the root cellar is still a few years out, but the nonprofit recently re-paved a ramp leading up to it and made the inside more structurally sound.

On Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Heart Mountain Interpretive Center, Steussy will share more details on the next renovation phase and speak about the cellar’s history.

“There were originally two of these cellars. Only one survives from the Heart Mountain camp, and it is the only one from the ten Japanese incarceration camps that is in tact enough to actually be restored,” she said.

In addition to eventually giving guided tours inside the root cellar, Steussy says the nonprofit plans to host future exhibits there.

Olivia Weitz is based at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody. She covers Yellowstone National Park, wildlife, and arts and culture throughout the region. Olivia’s work has aired on NPR and member stations across the Mountain West. She is a graduate of the University of Puget Sound and the Transom story workshop. In her spare time, she enjoys skiing, cooking, and going to festivals that celebrate folk art and music.

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