By Amanda Dolasinski
Restoration on a tower that withstood the attack on Pearl Harbor 77 years ago soon will be complete, giving visitors a 360-degree view of America's first aviation battlefield in World War II.
Ford Island Control Tower, which sustained weather-related deterioration, will be fully restored with a working elevator through funding from U-Haul International's Shoen family, which has strong connections to the military and to World War II. Repairs on the tower began in 2010.
Tower restoration efforts will be finished by September 2020, says Elissa Lines, executive director of the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum. Sept. 2, 2020, will be the 75th anniversary of the Allied victory over the Japanese.
“This will be a day that we have all been dreaming about for many years,” Lines says.
Joe Shoen, son of
U-Haul founder and Navy veteran L.S. Shoen , says the company was pleased to help preserve a piece of American history. L.S. Shoen and his wife, Anna Mary Carty Shoen, established the company after he was discharged from the Navy in 1945 and they were unable to rent a utility trailer to move their possessions.
About 2 million people visit Pearl Harbor each year, and the Ford Island Control Tower, which was new before the attack on Pearl Harbor, is centrally located. It offers scenic views of the ships and memorials in the neighboring harbor.
The USS Arizona Memorial holds special significance to U-Haul International, which has headquarters in Phoenix.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey thanked the Shoen family for their support to restore the tower.
“The restoration of the Ford Island Control Tower will greatly contribute to honoring the memory of those lost at Pearl Harbor and serve as a symbol of America's resiliency and resolve,” Ducey says.