PEARL HARBOR (HawaiiNewsNow) - On December 4, Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor will hold a dedication ceremony to mark the completion of a $650,000 restoration of the historic Aerological Tower, which served as flight control center on December 7, 1941. The ceremony is from 1 – 2 pm, and is open to the public.
The newly restored Aerological Tower, along with the Operations Building and the Air Traffic Control tower, are referred to as the Ford Island Control Tower. Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor began a multi-phased project to restore this entire complex. Restoration of the iconic red and white Air Traffic Control Center and 158-foot steel water tank tower were completed in 2011.
Restoration work on the Air Traffic Control Center and Aerological Tower were significant and included repairing, refinishing and in some cases, removing and replacing steel components throughout both structures. The steel window frames and doors, as well as the window handles and doorknobs are original materials from 1941. Funding for this major effort was provided by the State of Hawaii GIA grant and a historic preservation grant from the Freeman Foundation in cooperation with Historic Hawai'i Foundation.
In addition to dedicating the completed work on the two-story Aerological Tower and Observation Deck, Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor announced a major grant from the Emil Buehler Perpetual Trust that will enable the museum to restore the Operations Building, developing both a Research Library and Curatorial Center, key areas that will enable the museum to manage its extensive collection.
Pacific Aviation Museum expects to complete this phase of the restoration by the end of 2017. As part of the dedication, the Museum unveiled the plans and renderings for what will become the Emil Buehler Trust Library and Archive. The Emil Buehler Trust was established in 1984 to perpetuate the memory of Emil Buehler and his commitment to aviation science and technology. Kiersten Faulkner, Chief Executive of Historic Hawaii Foundation, Graeme Freeman, President of the Freeman Foundation, and George Weaver, a Trustee of the Buehler Trust, were on hand for the dedication and preview.
The Museum will hold special tours of the complex when the complex is completed.
"The history and significance of the Ford Island Control Tower complex is an important part of the story of what happened at Pearl Harbor 75 years ago," said Kenneth DeHoff, Executive Director, Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor. "On December 7, 1941, the Aerological Tower was being used as an interim Flight Control center while work on the Air Traffic Control Center was being completed. Together, the Ford Island Control Tower complex stands as a monument to the brave men and women who fought in WWII. We are extremely grateful to the State of Hawaii for funding this project and the Freeman Foundation for their financial support along with Historic Hawaii Foundation. These partnerships made it possible to complete the Aerological Tower restoration in time for the Pearl Harbor 75th anniversary."
The Ford Island Tower is registered as a Category One structure in the Pearl Harbor Naval Base Historic Preservation Plan of 1978.
"Ford Island, celebrating 100 years of Aviation, represents one of America's most treasured aviation airfields, and as stewards of this airfield, Pacific Aviation Museum remains committed to completing this project," added DeHoff.