Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Alāla (lit., awakening) is a point at the south end of Kailua Beach that separates Kailua Beach and Kaʻōhao (an ʻili in the Kailua ahupuaʻa - the area is now more commonly called Lanikai) on Oʻahu.

The point takes its name from the fishing shrine, a natural stone formation, on the ridge above. Wailea, a companion fishing shrine (and point,) is located at the south end of Lanikai.  (Ulukau)

In 1920, a bridge was constructed across Kaʻelepulu Stream, giving better access to the area.

Shortly after, Harold Kainalu Long Castle sold land to developer Charles Russell Frazier (the head of Town and Country Homes, Ltd., which was the real estate division of the Trent Trust Co) to create what Frazier and Trent called Lanikai (a name they made up.)

They laid out the subdivision and the first permanent homes in the area were constructed in 1924. Development began at the northern end of the neighborhood and moved further south along the beach.

The area was initially considered a remote country location for weekend getaways or vacations at the beach for swimming, fishing, boating and hiking.

The construction of the Lanikai streets was completed by October 1925. Included in the deeds for the Lanikai subdivision were restrictions that remained in effect until 1950, against building within 18-feet of the property boundary line along the street or using the property for anything other than residences.

At about the same time, Frazier leased a couple-hundred acres of neighboring land from Bishop Estate.  He persuaded sixty-five men, many of whom were purchasing his lots and cottages at Lanikai, to commit to a country club project (Kailua Country Club; the name quickly changed to Mid-Pacific Country Club.)

In 1926, the development doubled in size and Frazier added the now-iconic monument at the entrance to the development.

It was designed by the famed local architect Hart Wood.  (Wood, known for residential and commercial structures (including Alexander & Baldwin Building and Honolulu Hale,) designed the also-iconic "Hawaiian" double-hipped roof pattern and "lanai" or broad roofed-in patio with open sides.)

The Lanikai Monument's use of rough concrete and stone is in keeping with Wood's experiments with natural stone indigenous to the structure's site, an example of which is his Makiki Christian Science Church.

The Lanikai Monument is a simple pillar located on a narrow strip of land that is a high point next to the road; it's there to mark the boundary and entry point of the subdivision and golf course. It is still in its original location and its original design remains almost intact.

The tapered concrete base structure is 40-feet in circumference and 56 inches high. The pillar is made of concrete and stone.

The 16 foot tall pillar has a gentle taper from its 5-foot-diameter lower portion to a slightly narrower and rounded concrete top that is capped with a conical concrete cap. Two curved metal plates near the top bear the name, "Lanikai."  (NPS)

For decades, beach houses in Lanikai were mainly used as a retreat from Honolulu; however, in the 1950s, the area began to develop into a more suburban residential area.  (The Pali Highway and its tunnels opened in 1959; that helped spark the change.)

Lanikai Beach had a white sandy beach approximately one mile long (about half of this has disappeared over the years due to erosion and seawalls along the shore.)

During cleaning of the monument in 2001, it lost its pointed metal spear at the top, as well as the heavy chain that surrounded the monument and draped from four metal rings.

The image shows the Lanikai Monument in 1925.  (gokailuamagazine)  In addition, I have added other images to a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

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