History of Aloha Tower
Opened on September 11, 1926, Aloha Tower is located at Pier 9 & 10 of Honolulu Harbor. It has been, and continues to be, a guiding beacon welcoming vessels to the City and County of Honolulu. Just as the Statue of Liberty greeted hundreds of thousands of visitors and immigrants each year to New York City, Aloha Tower greeted hundreds of thousands of visitors and immigrants to Honolulu. At 10 stories and 184 feet (56 m) of height topped with 40 feet (12 m) of flag mast, for four decades the Aloha Tower was the tallest structure in Hawaii. It was built in the Hawaiian Gothic architectural style.
When the attack on Pearl Harbor came on December 7, 1941, Coast Guardsmen from the USCGC Taney (WHEC-37) were ordered to take up defensive positions around Aloha Tower and protect it from being occupied. The Tower was painted in camouflage so as to disappear at night.
From the 1930s through the 1950s Aloha Tower acted as the primary cruise ship terminal for Oahu and was the primary point of entry to Honolulu and the State. With the advent of jet travel it’s role as a transportation hub diminished.
In 1981, the Governor of Hawaii and the Hawaii State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism established the Aloha Tower Development Corporation. The public corporation was charged with developing the land around the Aloha Tower to benefit the state’s commercial trade industry based at Honolulu Harbor while at the same time providing the residents of Hawaii with ample access to the downtown waterfront.
in the early 1990s ATDC awarded redevelopment of the area around Aloha Tower to Aloha Tower Associates, a consortium that included the Rouse company, developers of well known festival marketplaces including Harborplace in Baltimore, South Street Seaport in New York and Feneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston. In 1994 Aloha Tower Marketplace opened and quickly became Honolulu’s hot spot for entertainment, dining and shopping, while still in operating as a working port facility.
Aloha Tower remains a popular symbol of a simpler bygone era to visitors and residents. The Waterfront complements this majestic structure in its subtlety of design and décor.
Visiting the Aloha Tower Observation Deck
The only way up to the 10th floor observation deck is via a small, vintage elevator. Once at the top you’ll be greeted with sweeping views of Honolulu and signage which points out the various landmarks.
The observation deck is open to the public daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.