Pearl Harbor, Honolulu County, HI






Gary B. Speck



NOT USUALLY LISTED as a ghost town, the sunken hulk of BB-39, the USS Arizona lies in the bottom mud of what was once Battleship Row in Oah’u’s Pearl Harbor, west of downtown Honolulu.  Launched on June 19, 1915, this Pennsylvania Class battleship was designated BB-39 and was 608’ long, 97 feet wide, drew 29’3” (below the water surface) and displaced 32,429 tons when fully loaded.  This huge ship also featured three turrets mounting four each 14” guns, 22 - 5” guns four 3” guns and a pair of 21” torpedo tubes.  Each of the 12 big guns carried 100 rounds each.  The ship was manned with 860 enlisted men and 55 officers.  This was literally a floating fort or city, (along with its fellow ships) and as a result is featured here.


The Arizona was completed too late to see action in World War I, but served as a presidential escort and helped keep the peace through the 1920s, mostly in the Pacific from its home base of San Pedro, CA.  In 1929, it was sent to Norfolk (VA) Naval Yard for modernization.  In August 1931 the Arizona returned to the Pacific and in early 1940 was transferred to Pearl Harbor.  In October it steamed to Bremerton (WA) for some additional modifications, returning to Pearl Harbor in early 1941.


Shortly after 0800 on Sunday morning, December 7, 1941 a massive swarm of fighters and bombers from Japanese aircraft carriers descended on the US Naval Base at Pearl Harbor.  The rest is history.  Arizona exploded, killing 1177 of the 1400 men on board, nearly half of the total killed in the attack.  The United States was plunged into war, and the “day that will live in infamy” changed American and World history forever.  After the attack, in 1942 the above-water portions of the burned out superstructure were salvaged and the ship was decommissioned as even if it were salvaged, it could not be returned to duty.


Today, the rusting hulk of the USS Arizona still lies where the burned out ship sank into the mucky bottom of Pearl Harbor.  In 1962 the ship was designated a national shrine and a monument was eventually built over it.  Today it draws thousands of visitors daily ranging from babes-in-arms to veterans who survived the cataclysmic explosion brought on by the attack. 


Ghost towners see the history and are willing to stop and absorb it!  Again, please abide by any signs posted at this National Monument.


This was our Ghost Town of the Month (December 2011/Jan 2012)




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FIRST POSTED:  December 04, 2011

LAST UPDATED: February 02, 2012




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