Friday, September 11, 2015

Cable House Trail

The Cable buildings on Midway were built in 1903 by the Commercial Pacific Cable Company who were responsible for laying the first round the earth communication cable.  Midway was a relay spot for information being sent over the cable and the company built 4 buildings that housed the employees and were used for any necessary equipment. The cable company employees were the first permanent residents on Midway. Hawaiian lore suggests that native Hawaiians visited Midway but did not chose to live here. The buildings were lightly built and over the years of various island managers they fell into disrepair. The building pictured is the only one of the 4 buildings left and it is in poor condition. The biggest project I took on while a maintenance and monument volunteer was a trail around this remaining building. The trail consists of construction fencing laid on the sand with 1 foot buried on each edge to keep the petrels from burrowing under the trail and undermining the walking surface. Once the plastic mesh fencing is stretched out and its edges buried, heavy shade cloth is laid over the top and nailed down securely with 12 inch nails every 4 feet and 6 inch wire staples every 8 or 10 inches. Lots of shoveling, hammering and stretching of cloth and mesh. I worked intermittently with a crew of Thai workmen: Sam, E, Ek, and Sak were tireless workers and brought knowledge of the building process that I was missing. I never could have accomplished the project without their help. There has been an effort to use plants native to Midway in areas such as the cable compound and the trail snakes through these plantings. If you look closely at the pictures you will notice an isle of low plants leading to a circle of plants. This circle is approximately where the cistern was located during cable company use of the island.

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