Aloha Tower

Coordinates: 21°18′25.5″N 157°51′57.5″W / 21.307083°N 157.865972°W / 21.307083; -157.865972
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Aloha Tower
The Aloha Tower has been greeting vessels to port at Honolulu Harbor since September 11, 1926.
Aloha Tower is located in Oahu
Aloha Tower
Aloha Tower is located in Hawaii
Aloha Tower
LocationHonolulu, HI
Coordinates21°18′25.5″N 157°51′57.5″W / 21.307083°N 157.865972°W / 21.307083; -157.865972
ArchitectArthur L. Reynolds
Architectural styleLate Gothic Revival, Art Deco[2]
NRHP reference No.76000660 [1]
Added to NRHPMay 13, 1976
The tower in daylight (1959)

The Aloha Tower is a retired lighthouse[3][4] that is considered one of the landmarks of the state of Hawaii in the United States. Opened on September 11, 1926, at a then astronomical cost of $160,000 ($2,805,206 in 2024),[5][6] the Aloha Tower is located at Pier 9 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 immigrants each year to New York City, the Aloha Tower greeted hundreds of thousands of 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.[5] It was built in the Hawaiian Gothic architectural style.


Attack on Pearl Harbor[edit]

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 Aloha Tower was painted in camouflage to disappear at night.


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. The entire Aloha Tower Complex, as defined by the public corporation, was identified as Piers 5 and 6, Piers 8 through 23, and portions of Nimitz Highway and Iwilei.

Museum marketplace[edit]

In 1982, the Hawaii Maritime Center was opened near the Aloha Tower in an old royal pier to present the history of Honolulu Harbor and the relative industries it served. In 2002, the Hawaii Maritime Center became an incorporated institution of the Bishop Museum. The center was closed to the public on May 1, 2009 and was later converted into a Hawaii Pacific University dormitory in 2015.[7][8]

Docked at the royal pier is the Falls of Clyde, a historic shipping vessel.[9]

Recent developments[edit]

Aloha Towers adjacent Nimitz Highway has been thrown around with various proposals of projects to make it more efficient. In addition to this, proposals are being thrown around regarding redevelopment surrounding Aloha Tower.

Highway tunnel proposal[edit]

In 2004, a controversial proposal was made to construct an underground highway tunnel beneath the complex.[10]

Future Skyline service[edit]

Proposals involving introducing rail transit near the Aloha Tower have been thrown around for years. Initially, this included the re-establishment of streetcars, but was changed to a Light Metro system once the Skyline Project was announced. This will result in the Kuloloia (Downtown) Skyline station being built near the Aloha Tower. As of 2024, this station is under construction and is expected to open in 2031.[11]

Proposed redevelopment of adjacent areas[edit]

As part of the adjacent Skyline Station's transit oriented development plan, the parking lot fronting the Aloha Tower and the adjacent decommissioned Hawaiian Electric power plant, would be demolished for various mixed-use developments. In addition to this, the surrounding commercial offices would be converted into residential mixed-use condos. In fact, the first conversion: the Modea condo is already expected to be completed in 2025.[12][13][14]

Hawaii Pacific University[edit]

in 2015, the Hawaii Pacific University has taken over the former Aloha Tower Marketplace and converted the facility into a expansion of its campus, including 78 student housing units for 278 students.[15]

Security concerns following September 11, 2001 attacks[edit]

In consideration of heightened security measures after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, public access to the observation deck was restricted, but has since been reopened.


American hard rock band Skid Row performed in concert at Aloha Tower Stage on October 10, 1992.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. January 23, 2007.
  2. ^ "Aloha Tower, Honolulu | 128700". Emporis. 1926-09-11. Archived from the original on April 16, 2015. Retrieved 2022-05-03.
  3. ^ "History". Aloha Tower Marketplace. Archived from the original on March 30, 2022. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  4. ^ "The Story of Honolulu's Historic Aloha Tower". Air to Hawaii. 11 February 2016. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  5. ^ a b Foster, Jeanette (3 April 2012). Frommer's Honolulu, Waikiki and Oahu. John Wiley & Sons. p. 196. ISBN 978-1-118-07465-7. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
  6. ^ "$160,000 in 1926 → 2024 | Inflation Calculator". Retrieved 2024-03-22.
  7. ^ "Too bad about the Hawaii Maritime Center". Visit Hawaii. 11 April 2009. Retrieved 1 August 2009.
  8. ^ "Hawaii Pacific University turns Aloha Tower into residential community". KHON2. 2015-06-11. Retrieved 2024-03-22.
  9. ^ Wu, Nina (2024-01-01). "Falls of Clyde delisted from historic register". Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Retrieved 2024-03-22.
  10. ^ "Aloha Tower proposal reshaped". The Honolulu Advertiser. 19 June 2004. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
  11. ^ "Route Map". Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation. Retrieved 2024-03-22.
  12. ^ "TOD Downtown TOD Neighborhood". 2024-02-13. Retrieved 2024-03-22.
  13. ^ Buan, Robert (2024-03-05). "Modea redevelopment project set to offer more affordable housing in Downtown Honolulu". KITV Island News. Retrieved 2024-03-22.
  14. ^ "Hawaiian Electric to shut down Honolulu power plant in January". Retrieved 2024-03-22.
  15. ^ "Hawaii Pacific University turns Aloha Tower into residential community". KHON2. 2015-06-11. Retrieved 2024-03-22.

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