Historic Preservation of Midway
A three inch gun used during
the Battle of Midway - Photo credit USFWS
The Navy has been the steward of Midway's historic resources for several decades. The Federal statutory responsibility for this effort is defined by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (NHPA). As part of the base closure process, the Navy was obligated to consider the effects of the closure process on historic sites and structures. The Navy determined that 78 structures, buildings or objects were eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places, including the structures associated with the Battle of Midway National Historic Landmark, designated in 1986.
To guide the historic preservation process during the transition, the Navy entered into a Programmatic Agreement with the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Hawaii State Historic Preservation Office and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. The Programmatic Agreement recommended specific types of treatment for the 78 historic sites or structures (click on historic sites). The types of treatment are as follows:
Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge Historic Preservation Plan
- Re-use: The PA identified 23 buildings and structures to be used in support of refuge operations. This list includes, among others, the officers' housing, theater, barracks, shops and industrial facilities.
- Secure: The PA identified 13 historic properties to be secured by the Navy to minimize hazards to wildlife and people. That work was only partially completed prior to base closure. Examples of these properties include the power plant/command center that was shelled on December 7, 1941 and the Cable Station complex.
- Leave as-is: The PA identified 20 historic properties that would be left in "as-is" condition and would not be used under refuge management, other than for interpretive purposes. Examples include the runways on Eastern island and various bunkers, pillboxes and gun batteries.
- Fill: Parties to the Programmatic Agreement decided that four properties would be filled with sand. Included in this list were pillboxes on Sand and Eastern islands and two ammunition storage huts (ARMCO huts). The pillboxes were filled during the closure process but the Service decided that the ammunition huts would be secured instead of filled.
- Demolish: The PA called for demolition of 15 historic properties that were of secondary historical importance, were in very poor condition and/or were redundant to other resources being maintained. The Navy demolished these properties in 1996. Examples of these properties include a motor pool building, laundry, N.O.B. armory and airfield storage buildings.
- Relocate: The PA listed four items to be moved to enhance their protection and interpretation. Included were a torpedo, inert bomb, submarine net and pillbox.
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