Today Aloha Tower is one of the most recognized buildings in Hawaii and ranks with Diamond Head as one of the most popular landmarks. It is easily recognizable along the waterfront area of Honolulu. Aloha Tower was completed back in 1926 at a cost of $190,000 and was the largest structure in Hawaii at that time. Shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Coast Guard ordered the USCG Cutter Taney to take up defensive positions to keep the tower from being taken over and occupied. A little known fact is throughout the remainder of world war II the tower was repainted camouflage so it would be able to “disappear” during the night.
Aloha tower stands a massive 184 feet tall with an additional 40 feet for its flag mast, it also boasts an observation deck on the tenth floor. Aloha Tower is located on Pier 9 at the waterfront and can be seen as a welcome beacon to vessels entering the City and County of Honolulu, just like the Statue of Liberty stands at Ellis Island. It was originally constructed as a lighthouse, and was attached to three warehouse buildings, one on each side. Today Aloha Tower stands alone as a proud symbol of Honolulu’s new waterfront.
Even today, Aloha tower continues to act as the Harbor Master’s traffic control center. The Hawaii Maritime Center was opened near aloha tower in 1982, in order to benefit Hawaii’s commercial trade industry that was based at Honolulu Harbor. Aloha tower is owned by the state of Hawaii and is listed on both the State and National Register of Historic Places.
The observation deck that is located on the tenth floor is open to the public and is free to access. Once you make your way up to the deck, vast sweeping views of Honolulu are available. There are even signs that help point out various landmarks that you are able to see from this area. The observation deck is open from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm. I would highly recommend that you take the time to visit Aloha Tower and take advantage of the sweeping vistas, and take photos so you will be able to share with your family and friends. On New Year’s Eve Aloha Tower is the site of an amazing firework display each year.
Written by James Bredeson