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Return to the year 1918

Work on Pearl Harbor begins

Pearl Harbor, known to Hawaiians as Wai Momi (Pearl Waters), was once abundant with oysters, a natural harbor with a narrow entrance on Oahu's leeward side. Development of the harbor began in 1898, at the time of the Spanish-American War and the annexation of the Islands to the United States. In 1909, work to build a drydock began over caves Hawaiians believed were home to a shark goddess. The drydock was nearly finished when it collapsed. Workmen clearing debris found the skeleton of a large shark in the foundation, after which Hawaiians advised that a kahuna priest cleanse the area with prayers and ritual offerings. After this was done, there were no further problems with the project. The Pearl Harbor drydock was formally opened in August 1918 by Secretary of the Navy, Josephus Daniels.

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