Hawaii's Most Endangered Historic Places 2012
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The World-War-II-Era Sites on the Marine Corps Base (Kaneohe, Oahu)
What Is It?
The Marine Corps Base (MCB) Hawaii is home to several hundred historic properties, including three on this year’s list. They include the Bachelor Enlisted Quarters buildings, built in 1940, and a Marine Air Group Headquarters Building, constructed in 1941. There is also World War II damage to some of the base’s taxiways: bomb craters and possible strafing marks that are apparent damage from the Dec. 7, 1941, attack. The two bomb craters are large, 7 to 11 feet in diameter, says MCB Hawaii’s June Cleghorn, senior cultural resources manager in the Environmental Compliance and Protection Department, while smaller pockmarks probably came from bullets. The holes have been filled with concrete, but the outlines of their original shapes and locations are visible.
What Threatens Them?
The Marine Corps Base Hawaii is expanding, welcoming up to two squadrons of MV-22 Osprey aircraft and one Marine Light Attack Helicopter squadron, starting this year and continuing into 2018. Along with the space needed for the aircraft, the base will also need to reconfigure for 2,128 more personnel and dependents. According to Cleghorn, demolition is planned for no more than six of the 11 total World-War-II-era BEQs and the MAG building. Resurfacing of the taxiways is also planned.
What Can Be Done?
After a two-year review process involving more than 40 consulting parties, the BEQs and MAG building demolitions sound like a done deal. (Though it may not console World-War-II history buffs, the new barracks construction will feature LEED certification standards, including sustainable site development and water and energy efficiency.) The bomb and bullet marks on the ground may be saved. Cleghorn says the Corps recognizes their historic significance and will explore alternatives to repaving.
Opaekaa and Puuopae Bridges (Wailua, Kauai)
What are they?
These one-lane, country bridges have different designs, but both serve as some of the few manmade reminders left of the pre-1920s homestead-lands movement on Kauai. “We know about Hawaiian culture, and about sugar-plantation culture,” says Pat Griffin, a historian and community-preservation advocate, but little about this era, when, “after Hawaii became a territory, there was a homesteading movement. It was an Americanizing technique, the idea that, if farmers had some parcels of land, it would make it stronger as a territory, and it also gave Hawaiians land.” The Opaekaa Bridge is also the only known British-made iron bridge in the U.S., and one of only a few surviving iron bridges in the state. It was built in 1888 over the Wailua River, and a section was recycled in 1919 for use at the Opaekaa Stream. Puuopae Bridge is in its original, 1915, location, crossing Kalama Stream.