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Battery Randolph

Firing from Battery Randolph gun deck

Battery Randolph

Battery Randolph, constructed in 1911, was a key part of the “Ring of Steel” which encircled O’ahu and defended the island against attacks by sea. Its solid concrete walls could withstand a direct hit from a 2000-pound artillery shell. Battery Randolph’s primary mission was the defense of Pearl Harbor and Honolulu from attacking battleships.

On the roof of Battery Randolph was a 14′ retracting gun used to protect the community. It had a firing accuracy of about 15-30 miles which was considered extremely accurate for that period of warfare. Gunpowdered was located in the first floor of the battery and bullets for the gun were constructed there and then hoisted to the gun deck.

The first test firing of Battery Randolph’s guns took place in November, 1914. The Army took pains to warn Waikiki residents, but no one was fully prepared for the effects of the shock wave that rocked the neighborhood. Little actual damage was done, though dishes rattled and some windows cracked blocks away. To avoid damage in later years, as Waikiki continued to grow, the guns were seldom fired.

At the end of World War II, the giant guns were cut up and sold for scrap, never having fired a shot in anger or defense. The battery was then used as a warehouse, and eventually abandoned. The concrete walls repeatedly defied destruction, and it finally was designated as the home of the U.S. Army Museum of Hawai’i in 1976.