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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Sunday, May 22, 2005

'The long point' and its history

Advertiser Staff

A.D.1000 — Early Hawaiians settle Kalaeloa (literally, "the long point"), with fishing, farming and religious sites in a nearly continuous belt of lush greenery linking a series of unique coral marshes.

A display marking the former naval air station remains near the site where the headquarters used to be housed on Coral Sea Road.

Gregory Yamamoto • The Honolulu Advertiser

1500 — Population increases significantly. Hawaiians use sinkholes and depressions in the emerged reef as garden plots, trash heaps, fire pits,

storage areas and burial sites. Changes in weather and land use are accompanied by extinction of flightless birds and land snails, and loss of grasses, shrubs and trees.

1792 — Capt. George Vancouver describes the area as a "very barren rocky waste, nearly destitute of verdure, cultivation or inhabitants."

1796 — Capt. Henry Barber runs aground in the 100-foot brig Arthur, losing all but six crewmen in a storm. (The name Barbers Point is derived from this disaster.)

1800 — Kiawe forests thrive, making the area a cattle pasture and fuel source; sugar is introduced.

1940 — Navy buys more than 3,500 acres from Campbell Estate near a leased Navy dirigible mooring site, laying groundwork for Ewa Marine Corps Air Station.

1942 — Naval Air Station Barbers Point is commissioned, with 14 officers and 242 enlisted men.

1944 — Station population grows to 4,000 as war rages in the Pacific.

1951 — With war in Korea, the station is again a key staging area.

1960s — Station supports operations in Vietnam.

1993 — Base is identified for closure under federal legislation.

1994 — State Barbers Point Redevelopment Commission is formed to help plan reuse of the base and facilitate transfers of land and utilities.

1996 — Redevelopment commission adopts Community Redevelopment Plan.

1997 — Navy receives plan; legislation establishes 2,150 acres of surplus lands as Kalaeloa Community Development District.

1998 — State and federal governments agree to transfer more than 500 acres to state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands as part of the Lualualei land exchange settlement with Navy.

1999 — Navy transfers air units to Marine Corps Base Hawai'i, in Kane'ohe, ceasing major operations at Barbers Point.

2001 — Funding is eliminated for state redevelopment commission; it dissolves.

2002 — State and city assume 15 major roads at Kalaeloa, leaving 87 other roads for other landowners. Hawai'i Community Development Authority takes over the master-planning role.

2003 — Navy raises the possibility of reusing parts of Kalaeloa for an aircraft carrier airwing.

2005 — Land transfers still pending for 1,602 acres of the 3,688-acre base.