A new tour, Top of the Tower Tour, is a guided tour that includes access to the historic operations building, the fire station and an elevator ride to the top cabin of the control tower – the highlight of the tour with 360-degree views of the Pearl Harbour Air battlefield from 168 feet. Historical videos and images in the upper cabin show the impact and aftermath of the attack, bringing a new understanding of the “Day of Shame”.
The floor of the operations building is anchored by the U-Haul® researched and produced exhibit Preserving our National Treasure, which explores the history of the building and tower during World War II and beyond. The exhibition also tells the story of the U-Haul founders LS from the Second World War Ted and Anna Mary Cary Schoena family history of service and resourcefulness.
“The Ford Island Control Tower stands as a symbol of resilience and peace, watching over this sacred ground,” he said Elissa Lines, executive director of the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum. “It is time for the world to witness Pearl Harbour from a bird’s eye view.”
The Ford Island Control Tower officially opens for business May 30, 2022, in honor of Memorial Day. The restoration process started in 2012 and cost more than 7 million dollars to date. Over a 10-year period, efforts included: restoring historic windows and walls, replacing 53 tons of steel in the tower itself to stabilize the structure, and replacing ceilings, floors, electrical wiring, lighting, toilets and offices. Air conditioning has also been added.
The last construction phase to be completed, the renovation of the historic elevator, allows access from the ground floor to the upper control station. With funding from the Schoen family of U-Haul and the mechanical expertise of the Otis Elevator Company, the elevator system was repaired and updated as necessary to both preserve the historic elements of the 1940’s equipment and ensure safe operation . The elevator allows visitors to ascend 15 floors to the upper cabin exhibit and observation deck. A final project, the restoration of the remaining exterior windows, is planned for later this year.
“From the tower it’s easy to imagine the thundering rain of bombs and bullets coming down and erupting in fire, chaos and death,” he says Rod Bengston, Director of Exhibitions, Restoration and Curatorial Services. “But now visitors can also feel the calm and serenity that the historical view exudes.”
According to Bengston, designer of the upper helm exhibit, the following locations can be seen from the tower:
- Battleship Row, where eight US Navy battleships (USS Arizonauss Oklahomauss West Virginiauss Californiauss Nevadauss Tennesseeuss Marylandand USS Pennsylvania) were bombed and damaged with four sunk;
- Military bases and airfields in Hickam, Wheeler, Bellows, EveSchofield and Kaneohwhere 188 US military planes were bombed;
- Ewa Plains, where the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service initiated the attack;
- Hospital Point, where the USS Nevada was stranded;
- The Ford Island airstrip, surrounding shipyards and historic buildings
- The Pearl Harbor National Memorial with the USS Arizona Memorial as well as the battleship Missouri Memorial and the Pacific Fleet Submarine Museum.
Funding for the multi-phase, decade-long restoration of the Ford Island Control Tower was provided by generous donations from the Ford Island Control Tower State of HawaiiEmil Buehler Perpetual Trust, Freeman Foundation, Historic Hawaii Foundation, James Gorman Family Foundation, OFS Marks, David Lau and Sharon ElkeAlexander “Sandy” Gaston, Robert A. and Susan C. Wilson Foundation, The RK Mellon Family Foundation, CDR and Mrs. Edward P Keough, Larry and Suzanne Turleyand the US Department of Defense and many other individuals and companies.
Tickets and information are available at www.pearlharboraviationmuseum.org or by calling (808) 441-1000. The Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum is open daily from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m Free access to the museum is via the shuttles that depart every 15 minutes from the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center at 1 Arizona Memorial Place.
The Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum is located on America’s World War II air battlefield, one of the few places in our country’s nearly 250-year history where America has been attacked by a foreign enemy on its own soil. From the shell marks on our premises to the incredible views of the most famous battleship in American history, the view from the tower is unmissable.
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ABOUT PEARL HARBOR AVIATION MUSEUM
The Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum is located on historic Ford Island, which was bombed during the attack Pearl Harbour At December 7, 1941. go the Pearl Harbour Battlefield where the attack began, enter the bullet-scarred hangars, and see the control tower and battleplanes, including a Japanese Zero and the B-17 Swamp Ghost. Hear the stories of the heroes of World War II and their response to the attack that changed our nation and the world. The Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum’s mission is to oversee America’s premier World War II air battlefield. It is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that relies on membership, volunteers, and donations for support. Visit www.PearlHarborAviationMuseum.org to get involved, volunteer, or support.
SOURCE Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum