Freedom Tower (The Hickam Water Tower)

One of the most well-known landmarks on Hickam is its beautiful water tower named Freedom Tower, located at the far end of the Parade Mall, across from the 15th Wing headquarters building. The tower was built under the direction of Captain Howard B. Nurse of the U.S. Army's Quartermaster Corps, at a cost of $43,146.60, and it was completed on 14 January 1938. Of Moorish design and similar to another famous tower built during that era at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, Freedom Tower stands 171 feet high. It is octagonal in shape, with a radius of 18 feet 5 inches, and each of its eight sides measures 14 feet 6 inches across. The walls are of reinforced concrete, 12 inches thick at the base, with a gradual reduction to 8 inches at the top. Eight pre-cast concrete eagles, weighing 2,000 pounds each, are located at the points of the octagon near the top of the tower. The tower is still used today, serving its original purpose as an enclosure for a water storage tank. Above the tank is a room, approximately 20 feet in diameter, which was used prior to and during World War II as a radio transmitter facility. A steep spiral staircase of 166 steps provides the only access to this room, which is used today to store boxes containing strings of lights and equipment that transform the water tower into one of Hawaii's largest Christmas trees every year. On 15 May 1985, during a ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary of Hickam, the water tower was dedicated and officially named "Freedom Tower" to honor those who have served, and will serve, in the defense of our liberties, and to honor those who paid the ultimate price so that others might live in freedom. (Current as of July 2010)