The History of Aloha Tower
The Story of a Landmark
Aloha Tower was the tallest tallest structure in Hawaii when it was completed in 1926 at a cost of $190,000. It is now the most recognized building in the state and second only to Diamond Head as Hawaii’s most famous landmark.
Symbolizing Hawaii’s Aloha Spirit, Aloha Tower continues to function as the Harbor Master’s traffic control center for Honolulu Harbor and serves as a welcoming landmark for both cruise ships and container vessels. It is also a popular visitor attraction with elevator service to the tenth floor observation deck, boasting spectacular views of Diamond Head, Honolulu Harbor, Downtown Honolulu and the Koolau Mountains.
Owned by the State of Hawai‘i and listed on both the Hawai‘i and national Registers of Historic Places, The Tower was extensively renovated in 1994 by Aloha Tower Associates, developer of Aloha Tower Marketplace, at no cost to the taxpayer.
Attached to warehouse buildings on three sides when originally constructed, Aloha Tower now stands alone for the first time in its history as the proud symbol of Honolulu’s new waterfront.
When the Aloha Tower Clock was installed in 1926, it was by far the biggest clock in the Territory of Hawai‘i, and one of the largest in the United States.
Made with precise German movement by the E. Howard Clock Company of Boston, the seven ton clock is still weight driven, its pendulum keeping rhythmic time. With the exception of brief periods in 1984 when the weight fell and the clock was damaged, and in 1993 when the clock was vandalized, it has kept excellent time over the decades.
The clock on Aloha Tower can be seen from many vantage points in the Aloha Tower Marketplace.
Visiting the Aloha Tower Observation Deck
The only way up to the 10th floor observation deck is via a small, vintage elevator. Once at the top you’ll be greeted with sweeping views of Honolulu and signage which points out the various landmarks.
The observation deck is open to the public daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.