Photo Credit: Tim DelaVega
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Covid-19 Protocols: Please wear a mask when indoors and in groups, maintain social distancing, and be respectful of others. Aloha, Hawaii State Parks

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PARK UPDATES: 11/5/21 - [OAHU] - Beginning Nov. 6, 2021 the gates at the Keawaula Section of Kaena Point State Park will be OPEN on weekends from 7am to 7pm.

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10/12/21 - [KAUAI] - Sections of the Waimea Canyon Lookout are currently CLOSED while repairs are done to the middle viewing deck. This project does not affect other lookouts in Waimea Canyon State Park and Kokee State Park.

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4/19/21 - [ALL ISLANDS] - Entrance AND parking fees are now required for non-residents at several parks across the islands including: [KAUAI] Haena, Kokee, Waimea Canyon, [OAHU] Diamond Head, Nuuanu Pali, [MAUI] Iao Valley, Makena, Waianapanapa, and [HAWAII] Akaka Falls, Hapuna Beach.  Non-resident visitors will be required to pay for both entry and parking.

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3/1/21 - [MAUI] - Waianapanapa State Park - Entry and Parking Reservations are now required for all non-residents. For reservations go to www.gowaianapanapa.com

Diamond Head Demolition Project to Close State Monument

Posted on Oct 22, 2021

Two-Day Closure in October, Five Day Closure in November

Next week, work begins to demolish two structures that were built on top of the Lēʻahi Fire Control Station at the summit of Diamond Head Crater. The DLNR Division of State Parks (DSP) made the decision to do the demolition work due to safety concerns and the high cost of repairing the structures.

Diamond Head State Monument will be closed on Oct. 28 and 29, and then again November 1-5. The historic fire control station will be closed Nov. 6-19, and possibly longer depending on construction progress.

Diamond Head Monument Summit Aerial Photograph – Leahi Fire Control Station

“We looked at the cost of repairing or reconstructing these structures, versus demolition. It was prohibitively expense to repair or reconstruct them, particularly in the context of other park priorities,” said Alan Carpenter, DSP Assistant Administrator.

DSP archaeologist Holly McEldowney said old photographs and other evidence suggests the two concrete and rebar structures were constructed sometime between WW II and the early 1950s and were additions to the fire control array which was completed in 1911.

Fire control stations were military installations that served as observation posts to spot and plot locations of potentially hostile warships and later, aircraft. The Lēʻahi station is particularly complex and is touted as the most elaborate and unique of its type in the U.S…”and one of the most unusual observing stations in the annals of coastal artillery.” It consists of four levels, individually excavated into the crater’s peak, which allowed surveillance of a broad expanse of O ‘ahu’s southern coastline.

Carpenter added, “We were not able to discover the purpose or function of the two column and slab roof structures. Despite posted danger signs and warnings to stay off them, people have been climbing on them for years, attempting to get better views. We don’t want anyone to get hurt and this is a primary reason we elected to remove the structures.  The decision was made easier by the fact that they are not part of the 1911 structure, so in a way we are restoring the original featureʻs integrity.

During the demolition, protection measures will be in place to prevent damage to any of the other five historic features at Diamond Head’s summit. The work meets historic preservation standards for significant historic buildings and structures. The structures being removed have been thoroughly documented and photographed for historical preservation purposes.

A companion repair project involves repairing the concrete ceiling of the tunnel which serves as the main entrance to the Lēʻahi Fire Control Station. The tunnel is part of the original station and begins at the top of a 99-step stairway and extends 62-feet to the control station.

Carpenter explained, “These repairs are necessary because the concrete is deteriorating (spalling) and is destabilizing the integrity of the tunnel entrance. There was a risk of chunks of concrete falling on visitors.”

During the November closure a helicopter will be used to take equipment to the top of the crater.

McEldowney concluded, “Repairs to the main tunnel entrance of the fire control station will help preserve the historic character and integrity of this significant property and meets the U.S. Dept. of the Interior’s preservation standards.”