Image zoom controls Zoom in Zoom out Reset
Caricature of Uncle Sam standing tall by a Hawaiian map holding a pic and a shovel.

Pearl Harbor: This Property Is Not for Sale

A towering Uncle Sam holds a pickaxe and shovel while surveying Pearl Harbor dotted with “Not for Sale” signs. Published in the Hawaiian Gazette on June 7, 1901, this cartoon comments on a legal dispute between sugar planters and the U.S. government, which in 1901 had appropriated funds to establish a naval base in the mouth of the Pearl River. However, owners of the adjacent lands refused to name a selling price. The accompanying article predicted, “There is no doubt from the high figures at which the land is held that the Government will have to resort to condemnation proceedings to secure the station desired.” 

Indeed, the land was acquired by condemnation, a process by which private property is taken for public use. In 1902, U.S. engineers began excavating a channel in Pearl Harbor, turning it into one of the world’s leading naval bases.


Ralph O. Yardley (1878–1961)
Ink on paper

48.3 × 38.1 cm (19 × 15 in.)

Hawai‘i State Archives