The History of Pearl Harbor

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PEARL HARBOR DURING THE ATTACK DECEMBER 7, 1941.

The place known as PEARL HARBOR was isolated and unexplored 150 years ago. The Hawaiians called it Mai Momi, meaning, "water of pearl", and believed it to be inhabited by the Shark Goddess Kaahupahau.

 

Very little attention was paid to the harbor area because a coral reef ran across the entrance and blocked vessels having drafts more than ten feet. In 1861, the US Navy constructed a coaling station in Honolulu. In 1884 the United States was given exclusive rights to enter Pearl Harbor or Pearl river, as it was then called , to establish a coaling and repair station. In 1902 the reef across the channel entrance was dredged to a depth of thirty-five feet. However serious development of Pearl Harbor did not begin until 1908 the congress authorized $6,200,000 for dredging the channel, construction of shops and Dry Dock #1.

In 1919, a Naval Board recommended additional construction at Pearl Harbor to cost $27,000,000 and in 1922 fuel storage tanks were constructed, with a total capacity of 4,000,000 barrels.

With the beginning of World War 11 in Europe, two additional Dry Docks were authorized, as were a new power plant, dredging, mooring and base facilities.

In 1941, the civilian force at the Shipyard was increased from 3,300 to 7,300. At the height of the war it reached 26,000.

Between the years 1941 and 1945, engineers based at Pearl Harbor designed and constructed facilities throughout the Pacific valued at $750,000,000.

PEARL HARBOR 65 YEARS AFTER THE ATTACK

 

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