Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Commanding Officer’s Quarters – Ford Island, Pearl Harbor

The US government began acquisition of Ford Island in 1902, and completed this in 1916.  The island was used as a joint aviation facility by the Army and Navy until the late-1930s.

In preparation for World War I, the Navy selected Ford Island as a site for land-based guns to defend the harbor.

In 1916, the War Department acquired two small parcels of land on Ford Island to be used as casements for two batteries of six-inch rifled guns.

The sites were completed in mid-1917 and were the first presence of military on Ford Island.  The batteries were used by the U.S. Army until 1925 by which time they were deactivated and the guns removed.

One of the sites, on the northeast corner of the island, was named Battery Adair (for First Lt. Henry Adair, 10th US Cavalry, who died in Mexico in 1916.)

In the 1920s, the US Navy was building up its Naval Air Station on Ford Island.  As part of this growth, in 1922, the Navy began the construction of officers’ homes on the North End of the Island, later known as "Nob Hill."  The officer’s housing is also referred to as Luke Field Housing.

In 1923, six one-story houses are built on Belleau Woods Loop for married Chief Petty Officers (CPOs).  These houses were physically separate from the Nob Hill homes, but were also north east of the aviation facilities.

In 1932, three additional CPO houses were added to the original six. However, sometime in the 1930s, one of the homes was demolished.

The 19 houses in Ford Island's Nob Hill neighborhood—simple, single-story wood bungalows used by US Navy officers and their families—were built between 1923 and 1936.

Quarters K (Hale Loa - Long House,) the Commanding Officer’s quarters, was built on Battery Adair in 1936.  The Battery serves as the basement of the home.

In 1937, CDR Robert Hickey became the first resident of Quarters K and he returned in 1958 to live in the same house as Rear Admiral.  He planted the tree on the front left hand corner of the house during his first tenure.

During the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, families from the Chief Petty Officers Quarters and Nob Hill gathered in the basement in Quarters K for shelter. 

The swimming pool nearby was in the opening scene of the 1965 epic "In Harm's Way."  Close by, too, is the 1920s bungalow that was John Wayne's quarters in the movie.

The Nob Hill neighborhood is being restored by Hawaii Military Communities, LLC, as part of the Hawai‘i Public-Private venture to develop, restore and manage Navy housing in Hawai‘i.  In June 2009, the first of the homes had been restored.

Partners include Hawaii Military Communities LLC, the US Navy, DLNR’s State Historic Preservation Division, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the City and County of Honolulu and Historic Hawai‘i Foundation.

I had the opportunity to visit Quarters K on a couple of occasions.  Once at a reception hosted by the Admiral of the Submarine Base and another on a tour of Pearl Harbor hosted by the commander at Pearl Harbor.

The image shows the restored Quarters K (Commanding Officer’s Quarters) as an unassuming home on the island – build atop and its basement holds what is left of Battery Adair (image from HistoricHawaiiFoundation.)  In addition, I have included other images/maps on Quarters K and sites around it in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook page.

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