The history of the settlement of western Millard County has been a string of boom and bust cycles, most of them associated with water. Pioneers struggled to tame the tail end of the Sevier River with dams, canals, and reservoirs. By the 1910s the major dams were stable and a boom came as a result of Union Pacific Railroad's invitation to Midwesterners to farm the area. A series of crop failures discouraged the Iowa transplants, but local Delta realtors soon invited new farmers to the abandoned land.
Following Pearl Harbor, those realtors heard that the U.S. government was looking for locations to house Japanese-Americans who might be removed from the western coastal states. As early as January and February 1942, secret meetings took place between Delta residents and government officials. By June, work had begun at the site for the 17,000-acre Central Utah Relocation Center, later re-named Topaz Relocation Center, after a nearby mountain. Located fifteen miles west of Delta, beyond the small town of Abraham, the residential area of one square mile was located at the far western boundary of the camp.