Wake Island HALS


Wake Island


Cultural Surveys Hawaii

HHF Planners prepared a Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) of Wake Island Airfield, designated a National Historic Landmark (NHL) in 1985 for its significance in the history of World War II in the Pacific. The atoll’s innumerable historic and cultural resources and current military operations are presently managed by Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska.

The HALS provides a permanent record of this significant landmark, focusing on its history and cultural landscape features as a Pan American Airlines seaplane base in the mid-1930s through the dramatic battles and U.S. and Japanese occupations during World War II.

HHF conducted extensive research and data collection followed by a thorough analysis of landscape features and existing conditions. Two weeks on-site were dedicated field documentation NHL’s three islands, identifying – for the first time – the full range of landscape features comprising this unique cultural landscape, and locating most of the 240 previously-recorded features (several have been destroyed or buried by typhoons). HHF selected the 60 landscape features (including structures) – from the hundreds that are extant – for large-format HALS photography, and also identified the appropriate vantage points for each photograph, working side-by-side with the HALS photographer.

Following field work, HHF prepared written documentation of the historical context of the Wake Island cultural landscape and detailed description of the Landmark’s character-defining features as an assessment and record of its historic integrity. The narrative is supported by historic and current photographs, maps, and drawings. This HALS submittal was prepared in full accordance with National Park Service standards and was accessioned as a permanent record into the HALS Collection at the Library of Congress in July 2011. In 2012, the Wake Island HALS received a Preservation Honor Award from Historic Hawai‘i Foundation.


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