Pinedale History

Pinedale History

Pinedale has a rich, but relatively unknown history. Below are several topics dealing with Pinedale history. We would like to encourage professional and amateur historians to submit written /oral histories, photos, newspapers, or memorabilia for inclusion on our site.

With the knowledge that the lumber industry was looking for a new location for a new bigger and better saw mill. Fresno County Chamber of Commerce developed and put into action a plan to bring it to Fresno County. The plan required $250,000 to purchase land known as Perrin Colony 2. In the early 1920’s Sugar Pine Lumber Mill opened for business with great expectations. Included with the mill was the Minarets and Western Railroad to carry the lumber from up in the Sierra Nevada. The mill closed in the late 1930’s.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor by Japan temporary detention camps were established(also known as ‘assembly centers’) represent the first phase of the mass incarceration of 97,785 Californians of Japanese ancestry during World War II. Pursuant to Executive Order 9066 signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 19, 1942, thirteen makeshift detention facilities were constructed at various California racetracks, fairgrounds, and labor camps. These facilities were intended to confine Japanese Americans until more permanent concentration camps, such as those at Manzanar and Tule Lake in California, could be built in isolated areas of the country. Beginning on March 30, 1942, all native-born Americans and longtime legal residents of Japanese ancestry living in California were ordered to surrender themselves for detention. In Pinedale Center the first inmate arrival May 7, 1942. Last inmate departed July 23, 1942. Peak population was 4,792.

Camp Pinedale, the home of the Western Signal Aviation Unit Center, was the only post in the Air Force that activates trained and prepared all Signal Aviation Units for the Army Air Forces for overseas movement. The 840th Army Air Force Specialized Depot was located adjacent to Camp Pinedale on the northeast. Camp Pinedale was established on August 1, 1942, and began receiving soldiers selected for training as Army Air Force signal technicians in December of that year. By war’s end, the post had trained 25,000 soldiers as electronic specialists and for allied army assignments, clerks, truck drivers, chemical warfare specialists, camouflage specialists, ordnance technicians, and cooks. The camp was deactivated in February 1947, when the Corps of Engineers assumed custody of the sprawling base and began preparations for the disposal of the post’s buildings and other installations.