Park Service Tears Down Historic Navy Home at Pearl Harbor

Some of the bungalows sustained minor damage during the 1941 attack

The National Park Service said Thursday it demolished a historic home at Pearl Harbor without consulting historic preservation authorities as required. 

A contractor hired by the park service tore down the home as part of a project to preserve and restore six bungalows the Navy built in the 1920s and '30s. A building similar style to the original now stands in its place. 

Jacqueline Ashwell, superintendent of the national park that includes Pearl Harbor historic sites, said in an interview the park service failed to provide appropriate oversight. 

She said work on the other bungalows has been put on hold while a team reviews why the demolition occurred and recommends actions so it doesn't happen again.

"I want us to learn from this and I want make sure that we do the right thing for the remaining five bungalows," Ashwell said. 

The Navy built the single-story wooden homes as housing for chief petty officers. They were used as residences until the 1990s. 

The homes are close to the shore on Ford Island, where many of the battleships bombed by Japanese planes on Dec. 7, 1941, were moored. Some of the bungalows sustained minor damage from smoke and fire during the attack. 

An environmental assessment conducted for the project in 2012 called the homes unique examples of historic Navy housing in Hawaii. 

The report said all six bungalows were in poor condition. It called for the work on the homes to "retain as much historic fabric through rehabilitation as possible." 

The homes are expected to be used by visitors and for office and storage space. 

The building that was torn down was built in 1923. 

Ashwell assumed leadership of Pearl Harbor's historic sites in October after serving as superintendent of national parks in the Seattle area. She said she knew the renovation work was occurring but didn't know until last month that it was done without proper consultation. 

An archaeologist by training, Ashwell said she takes the park service's role as stewards of historic resources seriously. 

She said the agency failed to consult the State Historic Preservation Division, Advisory Council for Historic Preservation and others to the extent it was supposed to before work started. 

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is another stakeholder that should have been consulted, she said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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