Aloha Tower

The Aloha Tower, one of best-known landmarks of Honolulu, is actually a retired lighthouse at Pier 9 of Honolulu Harbor. First opened 95 years ago on September 11, 1926 at a then astronomical cost of $160,000,  today it continues to welcome vessels to Honolulu, just as the Statue of Liberty continues to greet the hundreds of thousands of immigrants to New York City each year. The 10-storey Gothic-style tower stands 184 feet high and is topped with 40-foot flag mast. For four decades, it was the tallest structure in Hawaii. When the attack on Pearl Harbor came, on December 7, 1941, the Coast Guard was ordered to take up defensive positions around Aloha Tower and protect it from being occupied. The Tower was also painted in camouflage so as not to be visible at night.

In 1981, the Aloha Tower Development Corporation was established and charged with developing the land around the tower in order to benefit commercial trade based at the harbor, while at the same time providing the residents with ample access to the downtown waterfront. The entire tower complex is defined as Piers 5 & 6 and 8-23, as well as portions of the Nimitz Highway and Iwilei. The following year, in 1982, the Hawaii Maritime Center was opened nearby in order to present the history of Honolulu Harbor and the industries it served, although it later closed in 2009.

In addition, permanently docked at the Aloha Tower Complex is a ship known as the Falls of Clyde, unique in that it is the only iron-hulled, four-masted ship in the world.

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