Constructed in 1904, the four main two-story buildings included the superintendent's quarters, cable office, staff quarters, and mess hall with library and billiards room. The one-story building was for servants.
The Commercial Pacific Cable Company employees were the first year-round residents on Midway. The small colony of about 30 people operated the telegraph and created a garden by importing soil and plants.
Henry Meyers, a San Francisco architect, designed the buildings to be fireproof. He used modern materials, such as concrete walls and floors, steel for the supports, and slate for the roofs. Living spaces and offices were on the second floor. The covered verandas, large windows, and breezeway halls took advantage of the natural light and sea breezes.
The cable was shut down in 1952.
In the 1950s and 1960s, the Navy remodeled the buildings to serve as residences. They added plumbing for new bathrooms and kitchens. Unfortunately, they also added walls, covered up windows, and sealed hallways.
In 1999, the Fish and Wildlife Service received a Save America's Treasures Grant to begin critical maintenance of some of Midway's most important structures. The funds were used to re-roof one of the Cable Station buildings, patch others, and begin restoring the interiors to their original design.
Today, only one cable station building remains standing.
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During the breeding season, adult tropicbirds (see one pictured above over Midway lagoon) fly in a group around one another, swinging their tail streamers from side to side for several minutes to attract the female bird. Their courtship displays are complex and consist of flying backwards, vertically, and in large, vertical circles.