National Wildlife Refuge
|About 1,200 miles northwest of
Phone Number: 808-674-8237
|Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
Continued . . . The atoll's first permanent residents were employees of the Comercial Pacific Cable Company. They imported 9,000 tons of soil to Sand Island to create vegetable gardens, planted ironwood trees as windbreaks, and brought in other ornamentals to make Midway seem more like home.
Pan American Airlines further developed Midway for their Flying Clipper seaplane operation, bringing in another 100 tons of topsoil to Midway from Guam and building streets, piers, a Y-shaped hotel with 45 rooms, and a swimming pool for their overnight visitors.
But the major developer at Midway was the U.S. Navy, which began its efforts by dredging a channel through the southern reef between Eastern and Sand Islands in 1938. Preparing for the possibility of war, constructoin of a Naval Air Station on Eastern Island and submarine and seaplane bases on Sand Island brought major changes to the islands' profile.
Because of its pivotal role in naval history during World War II at the Battle of Midway, the atoll is also recognized as the National Memorial to the Battle of Midway. In May 1987, several ammunition magazines, a pillbox, and two gun emplacements on the west side of Sand Island were designated a National Historic Landmark under the "World War II in the Pacific" theme study. A total of 63 sites on Midway have been found eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. These sites are being reused, secured, or otherwise protected. They include the Cable Station buildings, Marine barracks, seaplane hangar and ramps, torpedo shops, radar buildings, gun emplacement, pillboxes, and Eastern Island runways.
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