Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Grant Heights 1970-1973 (Part 1) / グラント・ハイツ 1970-1973年 (パート1)

This post is dedicated to my father but before I start writing I would like to thank "Hawaii Duffer" who provided me with these photos of the Grant Heights Housing Area (circa 1970-1973) that was located in Narimasu and has given me permission to post them on my blog.  He informed me that he was a Security Officer between the years 1970-1973.  He also mentioned that he and another airman were the last two U.S.  military personnel to close Grant Heights and midnight and in his own words, "We used flashlights and Coleman lanterns to see by as there was no electricity."  This is where I spent my formative years - 1st grade through 4th grade.  In case you didn't know, yes, I am an army brat!  As I was but a child when I lived here, my memories may not be one hundred percent reliable.  I'm sure my father will be able to fill in the details for me once he gets a look at these pictures.  I will start off by posting pics that bring back some memories for me.

今回のネタは自分のお父さんに捧げたいです。でもその前に“ハワイ・ダッファー”という人物に感謝とありがとうを伝えたい。彼がグラント・ハイツの写真を提供してくれました。そして彼の許可を得て、このブログに載せる事が出来ました。彼が当時基地の中のお巡りさんの仕事をしてた。そして彼ともう一人の方零時でこの基地を閉じた。電気がなかった為彼らが懐中電灯とコールマンのランタンで基地を回ったと言う。私の少年時代(小学校一年から四年生の時)ここの基地の中で育てました。そう、私は米軍の子供(通称アーミー・ブラットです)。 基地に居た時はまだ子供だったんで、自分の記録があいまいかも知りません。自分のお父さんが写真を見てからもっと詳しく説明してくれるかもしりません。最初に載せる写真は自分自身もなんか見覚えがあるものから。

This is the main gate to the base / ここが基地の門

The main gate and Spiro Field in the background.  I remember watching my friend's dad play softball there.  There was also a dagashiya not too far from the main gate called Sakura that my brother and I would always go to and buy pictures of superheroes like Kamen Rider, Ultraman, Mirror Man and others.


This was my old school for the 1st and 4th grade.  My 2nd and 3rd grade classes were located in a different building.


Our local movie house!  Movies cost 25cents.  When my friend's dad worked here, he used to let me in for free.  My own father worked here for a short time as well.  My brother and I would help him clean the place sometimes and we were allowed to keep whatever change we found on the floor. 


The commisary / 基地の中のスーパー

The Chapel.  There were free showings of "Lassie" here.  Our house was located somewhere behind the chapel.  There was also a treehouse in one of those trees off to the right.  Actually it was just a large board that us kids could sit on.


The NCO Club - my parents used to go here on Friday nights.

NCO倶楽部 両親は毎週金曜日行った感じがした。

BX Service Station / BXサービスステーション

I'm pretty sure that's the swimming pool in the forefront of this picture and where I first learned to swim.


I can't be sure, but the building in the forefront may have been the BX where my mother worked part-time.


I think where the water tower is where Marshall Field was.


The Post Office / 郵便局

BX Concession Shops and the Barber shop at the bottom left of the building.  I wonder if I got my hair cut there?


Too bad I couldn't spot my father's 1965 green AMC Rambler.


I think this is another view of the school / また学校の写真かな

The tour of Grant Heights will continue...



Jeff in Tokyo said...

Great! It's so hard to imagine that all these things used to be here.
Wonderful photos. Time marches on indeed. I wonder what it was like, being the last people at Grant Heights, with all the lights off and nobody around.

I will pass these along to my friend's father. He enjoyed the last batch very much.
Thanks for scanning and thanks for posting.

Raymond McKee said...

Grant Heights closed in 1973, not 1974. I know, I was there as a fireman on temporary duty from Yokota AFB until its closing. Every day as I would walk to work I felt as if I was in a ghost town. I could easily imagine houses full, streets busy with cars, etc. When I returned to Yokota I remembered watching the news and seeing bulldozers leveling what was an idealic "Leave It To Beaverville" in the middle of busy Tokyo. I was GREATLY saddened. I KNEW that wonderful memories had been forged there for MANY. If you, or others should post more pictures please let me know at Thanks!

Tokyo Ern said...

Hello Mr. McKee,

Thank you for the correction, I shall edit the post show it shows the correct date of closure (I was only there until the 4th grade, so my memory wasn't 100%. But I do remember leaving the base in 1973 and seeing all the OFF LIMITS signs.

One of the last military personnel was kind enough to send me the photos and gave me permission to post them on my blog.

Ahnkochee said...

Aloha Ern, thanks again for sharing these great pictures. I was in Grant Heights from 60 thru 66 but my family was there since '55. Great memories, sad to know she's gone forever. I used to sneak under the perimeter fence and spend the day with the farmers or at the soba shop but I'd return before my dad came home. My mom was usually playing the slots with her friends at the officers club so she never missed me. Great memories, thanks again!

jim allen said...

Some of us brats of all ages who were there and also camp drake have been assembling at this location,

Ja mata ne

Jim Allen
Grant Heights June 1970-December 1972
6th through part of 8th grade

Tokyo Ern said...

Hi Jim, you may have already figured this out, but I've been a member of the Facebook page when it was deserted and had no administrator.

Yep, I'm the same Ernie on that page.

Mark said...

I found your blog through Goggle search. Hope I'm not intruding, but lived at Grant Heights 1961-1963. The pictures are superb and I'm very grateful for your including them. Like you, I was there second through forth grade at Santa Maria.

Thanks again for posting them.


Tokyo Ern said...

Hi Mark,

Not at all. If you are also on Facebook, you may want to check out a page titled "NARIMASU/GRANT HEIGHTS and DRAKE Schools.

Many former residents of Grant Heights are on that page.


Douglas L. Webster said...

erativis 32areetrErn an I talk on FB and so he knows some of this from the Narimasu/Drake middle school page. I bagged groceries at the commissary in April 1973. Only a few of us were needed then. Mike Topoloski, a same grade school chum was one. Ern, the one pic where your Mom worked part time is the 'Deli' and BX annex. Used to all but live there. Chow was good and even cheap by late '60s and early '70s standards. My Dad worked the theater too and so did Mr Kubo, who taught Japanese culture at the school. I can still picture him behind the glass window selling 25-35-50cent tickets. Dad was also the base
1stSgt from 1969 until our departure in June 1973. Rapidy a ghost town indeed. I have many a fond memory during my Elementary/Jr High years at Narimasu/Drake, and think of there when hearing top 40 hits of that turbulent and fast changing time in our history. Thank you, Ern in Tokyo for keeping the memories alive for so many of us!

Douglas L. Webster said...

Thank you Ernie. Memories for all us still standing. See you, Jimmy Allen and the rest on the FB site.

TONY JAMES said...

What great photos and wonderful memories. Me and my family were there a Grant Heights 69-71. I was in 4th and 5th grade. We lived off base for a while at Angel Heights before moving on base. I certainly remember the Chapel and the movie theater. We moved to Kadena AFB for a year before coming back to the states. I really believe the Orient is my hoe, as a child 6-8 we lived at Clarks AFB Philippine Islands. I would love to go back. Thanks so much for all of this. Douglas James

Jim Bryant said...

I was there from 1967-72 and attended NHS from my sophmore-senior years. Graduate in 1970 and hung around working, saving and spending money for my Canon camera system. Left Japan in 1972 with three F-1's, a 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, 135mmand 300mm lenses. Joined the Navy in 1973 hoping to return, but went everywhere but. Got married to Amy, a sailor stationed at Pearl Harbor in 1980. I departed the Navy in 1983 and was hired as a photographer for the Florida Times Union in Jacksonville. In 1984, she called from Pensacola, FL., to tell me she received orders to Japan, however, she wasn't going to be assigned in the Kanto Plans, but Aomori's Misawa Air Base. I can remember telling her there was no way in hell I was going to Tohoko...the far north. About a week later I received a call from the packers scheduling a packout to Misawa. Funny, how things happen. Once in Misawa, I started freelancing for the Pacific Stars and Stripes and landed a job as the MWR Publicists. Now, that was great. I was able to check out the MWR car and held all over Northern Japan writing stories and taking photographs for our monthly magazine and then sell the photo feature stories to Stripes. Great job and not living too far away from a vast national park with a huge crater laker didn't hurt either.