Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Lake Labish Japanese and the radio in the well

We're collecting further information regarding the the Lake Labish Japanese and the radio in the well.

As a matter of fact we're studying all the information sent to BainbridgeHistorians regarding this history and we thank you for sending us this history from so long ago. It needs to be documented for the record.

If you have an historical experience you wish to share please email it to historian@bainbridgehistorians.net.

Upon learning Lake Labish did indeed have an ethnic Japanese farming community. I received a second correspondence:

"We lived in a cluster of homes five miles north of Salem, Oregon in a rural area called Hayesville. Ron ** and his family lived across the road from us, a road called Milton road. He moved into the neighborhood in the 1930s. Hayesville was very near the main railroad line between San Diego and Seattle.

Lake Labish is located about five miles north of Hayesville. Mr. ** told me that shortly after the war started, an Army officer came to his home to ask a favor. The government was picking up radio signals from the Lake Labish area after trains passed through. The officer said they did not have the man power to investigate where the radio signals were coming from. He ask Mr. ** if he would assemble some people to go to the Japanese village in Lake Labish at night and watch for any strange activity when trains passed though.

Mr. ** said that he got some of his neighbors: Mr. **, Mr. **, and Mr. ** (all men we knew when we were kids), they went to Lake Labish, found a spot in the fir trees over looking the Japanese village, and began to watch.

After a train passed though an old Japanese man came out from one of the small houses, went to a well, pulled up a package from the well, and took it back to his cabin. Mr. ** reported the incident to the officer in Salem. Some time later the officer came back to Mr. **'s house and told him that the Army found a radio tied to a rope in the well. The Army suspected that the old Japanese man was transmitting information about the trains to a submarine.

A couple years ago, I went into the FBI's website and found a link to their WWII investigation files for spies. There were quarterly reports completed by he FBI to the Justice Department signed by J. Edgar Hoover. I printed out several, including a last summary report in late 1945. The reports included all the investigation activities of all the FBI offices, including the office in Portland. I have since gone into the FBI website and I couldn't find the link as the website had been updated. I could fax the reports to you if you would like.

The summary report is probably the only one you would need. It is quite interesting. There was also a letter, with approval signatures, dated in 1968, saying that it had been approved to send the West Coast files to the University of Washington to be archived. Apparently, someone at the University was doing research on war time spying on the West Coast and made the request.

I had planned to make a request of the U of Washington library to see if they still had the files, and to research if the Lake Labish incident was included. Because I couldn't confirm any part of the story, I had lost interest. Your article has revived my interest. I suppose an e-mail inquiry to the school's library would get the investigation started. Do you have any interest in working together on it?

Thanks again for the article. It was damned exciting to get it."

You're welcome! The quest for historical accuracy is a slander against no person!


At May 26, 2010 4:31 PM, Blogger KPIC said...

have u checked with UW for the files


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