Sunday, November 30, 2014

Charles Lambert

Kalākaua had a great interest in science and he saw it as a way to foster Hawai‘i’s prestige, internationally.

The opportunity to demonstrate this interest and support for astronomy was made available with the astronomical phenomenon called the “Transit of Venus,” which was visible in Hawai‘i in 1874.

"The coming transit of Venus will be observed from about 75 stations, at many of which there will be a large number of instruments. ... Wherever knowledge can be gained it is worth being gained ... these expeditions will lead to most valuable results."  (George Forbes, Chief Astronomer)

The King allowed the British Royal Society’s expedition to set up three sites in the Islands, Honolulu’s waterfront in a district called Apua (mauka of today’s Waterfront Plaza,) Kailua-Kona at Huliheʻe Palace and Waimea, Kauai.

The mission of the British expedition was to observe a rare transit of Venus across the Sun for the purpose of better determining the value of the Astronomical Unit – the Earth-to-Sun distance – and from it, the absolute scale of the solar system.

The orbits of Mercury and Venus lie inside Earth’s orbit, so they are the only planets which can pass between Earth and Sun to produce a transit (a transit is the passage of a planet across the Sun's bright disk.)

Professor George Forbes was the Chief Astronomer for the British expedition.  He befriended Charles Lambert, eldest son of an English gentleman residing at Coqnimbo in Chile.  (Lambert, not one of the astronomers, had been invited by his friend Captain Ralph P Cator, (Commander of the 'Scout') to accompany him in his cruise to the Hawaiian Islands.)

"(Lambert) had come out for his health on the 'Scout,' from Valparaiso, his father being one of the richest copper-mine owners in Chile. He intended to stay here a short time with the Venus Transit party (Prof. Forbes and Barnacle.)  (Pacific Commercial Advertiser, December 5, 1874)

Then, the fateful day ... not December 8, 1874 (the date of the Transit of Venus) - rather, November 20, 1874 when tragedy struck.

"During three days previously a Kona had been blowing into the bay, and having on Thursday seen the natives using the surf-board, Mr Forbes and his friend (Lambert) thought of trying their hands at it."

"They were furnished by the Hon. Simon Kaʻai, Sheriff and Representative of the District, with surf-boards, he not considering that there was any danger in so doing."

"Professor Forbes entered the water first.  When it was up to his chest, being about thirty yards from the shore, he began to look out for a good wave to try to ride in upon."

"Not having been successful and happening to look round he found that he was a hundred and fifty yards from the shore, having been carried out by the under current.  He did not however at that time apprehend any danger."

"A small native boy, an adopted son or Simon Kaai, now shouted to him, gesticulating and pointing to Mr Lambert, who was about fifty yards nearer to the shore than himself.  He saw that Mr Lambert had let go of his surf-board, and was in difficulty."

Forbes reached Lambert and tried to bring them both in to shore.  "He made however no head way, but was drifted farther out, and it then occurred to him that there was no prospect of either of them being saved, and he resolved to hold up his friend until they should both go down together." (Hawaiian Gazette, December 2, 1874)

Folks on shore were able to bring a canoe out through the surf.  Henry Weeks, a carpenter putting up the astronomical buildings, and a local swam "out to their assistance, but (Weeks) was soon exhausted and was just able to reach the canoe."  (Pacific Commercial Advertiser, December 5, 1874)

"The surf was at this time dashing against the rocks at their side so that landing seemed impossible. ... Ten minutes after Professor Forbes became absolutely exhausted; his arms lost their power, and it was only with the greatest difficulty that he was able to hold on to Mr Lambert, every wave engulphing them both."

Lambert drowned.

"The Professor with the dead body of his friend was put into (the canoe,) and reached the shore in safety."

"Great credit is due to Simon Kaʻai for his attempts to aid Professor Forbes and his friend, he (Simon Kaʻai) stated that he was much flurried, and that was why he did not think of a canoe sooner."

"Thanks also are due to Mr Bergman, a German resident here, for coming off in the canoe, and likewise to the stepmother of Simon Kaʻai for the same service."

"Mr Lambert met his end, as all who knew him must have felt that he would, with fortitude and resignation, it is believed that he died without pain; and the calmness of his expression showed that he died in peace."

"The conduct of Professor Forbes, in whose arms Mr Lambert drew his last breath, and who, with unequalled courage and devotion, risked and would have sacrificed his life to save that of his friend, is beyond all praise."  (Hawaiian Gazette, December 2, 1874)

Lambert "was buried the next day, twelve natives carrying the coffin to the English Episcopal Church in South Kona.  The case is all the sadder from the circumstance that Lambert was actually improving here with a good prospect of completely recovering his health."  (Pacific Commercial Advertiser, December 5, 1874)

On December 8, 1874, the transit was observed by the British scientists; however, the observation at Kailua-Kona was interrupted by occasional clouds.  The Honolulu and Waimea sites were considered perfect throughout the event, which lasted a little over half a day.

Ironically, on December 8, 1874 the big day, the king was absent, being in Washington to promote Hawaiian interests in a new trade agreement with the United States.

When American astronomer Simon Newcomb combined the 18th century data with those from the 1874/1882 Venus transits, he derived an Earth-sun distance of 149.59 +/- 0.31 million kilometers (about 93-million miles), very close to the results found with modern space technology in the 20th century.

After the Transit of Venus observations, Kalākaua showed continued interest in astronomy, and in a letter to Captain RS Floyd on November 22, 1880, he expressed a desire to see an observatory established in Hawai‘i.  He later visited Lick Observatory in San Jose.

Perhaps as a result of the King’s interest, a telescope was purchased from England in 1883 for Punahou School.  The five-inch refractor was later installed in a dome constructed above Pauahi Hall on the school's campus.

The image shows a calmer day in Kailua Bay.  (ca 1890) In addition, I have included other related images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

Follow Peter T Young on Facebook  

Follow Peter T Young on Google+ 

Follow Peter T Young on LinkedIn   

© 2014 Hoʻokuleana LLC

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Whitman Mission

During the first ten or fifteen years of the nineteenth century, the US was swept by religious revivalism and many people were converted in the wake of the newly born religious fervor.  The Second Great Awakening spread from its origins in Connecticut and led to the establishment of theological seminaries and mission boards.

In the fall of 1819, the brig Thaddeus was chartered to carry the Pioneer Company of missionaries to the Islands.  There were seven American couples sent by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) to convert the Hawaiians to Christianity.

Over the course of a little over 40-years (1820-1863 - the “Missionary Period,”) about 180-men and women in twelve Companies served in Hawaiʻi to carry out the mission of the ABCFM in the Hawaiian Islands.

Since work with any non-English speaking people in the US was classified as being foreign missions by most Protestant denominations throughout the nineteenth century, the ABCFM also looked to missions for the American Indians.  The Board began its Indian work in 1816, when a few missionaries were sent to the Cherokee.

Then, on January 12, 1835, “…one of our elders expects shortly to leave us to join the company of Missionaries to go beyond the Rocky Mountains.” (Hotchkin, Report to American Home Missionary Society)  Dr Marcus Whitman had volunteered to go.

Upon return from a short investigative trip, Whitman had observed that it was possible to take women over the Rockies, hence he could return, be married to Narcissa Prentiss to whom he was engaged, and take her with him to Oregon.

Marcus hoped to find another couple to join them in their Oregon venture. He heard of Henry and Eliza Spalding who were to be missionaries among the Osage people; they had already started for their destination, but Marcus caught up to them and convinced them to join the Oregon missions.

The Whitmans and Spaldings formed the forerunners of the ABCFM’s missionary effort in the Pacific Northwest.  In April 1836 Whitman's party set out from Liberty, Missouri. In May they overtook an American Fur Company caravan near the junction of the Platte River and the Loup Fork, in Nebraska.

Traveling via Fort Laramie, Wyoming, and across South Pass, they arrived at the Green River Rendezvous in July. Escorted by two Hudson's Bay Company traders, the party then set out on a long journey via Fort Hall to Fort Vancouver, where it arrived in September.  (LegendsOfAmerica)

Whitman chose a spot in southeastern Washington on Mill Creek on the north bank of the Walla Walla River, 22-miles above its junction with the Columbia and the Hudson's Bay Company post of Fort Walla Walla. The local Indians, the Cayuse, called the spot Waiilatpu ("Place of the Rye Grass.")  Spalding chose a site 110-miles farther east, where he founded among the Nez Perce Indians what came to be known as the Spalding Mission, Idaho. (LegendsOfAmerica)

The two wives were the first US women to travel across the continent.  The next March, Mrs. Whitman gave birth to a daughter, Alice Clarissa, the first US child born in the Pacific Northwest.  (Two years later the child died in a tragic drowning accident.)

Several Hawaiians lived at the Whitman Mission; a Hawaiian known as "Jack" and another Hawaiian whose name is unknown worked for a fur-trading company called the North West Company and helped Whitman establish the Waiilatpu mission; first they helped to build the Whitman's home.

When Narcissa first saw it, she wrote home to her parents, "Where are we now, and who are we that we should be thus blessed of the Lord? I can scarcely realize that we are thus comfortably fixed, and keeping house ...”

“We arrived here on the tenth-distance, twenty-five miles from Walla Walla. Found a house reared and the lean-to enclosed, a good chimney and fireplace, and the floor laid. ... My heart truly leaped for joy as I alighted from my horse, entered and seated myself before a pleasant fire."  (PBS)

In addition, the Whitmans knew an individual named Mungo Mevway; he was the son of a Hawaiian father and a Native American mother.  (Mevway married a member of the Spokane tribe around October 1842.)

Iosepa Mahi and his wife, Maria Kewau Mahi, were two later arrivals from Hawaiʻi.  "At Waiilatpu they had the pleasure of being waited on by two native Hawaiians, Iosepa Mahi and wife, from Mr. Bingham's Kawaiahaʻo Church, who had come to Oregon the year previous to assist Dr and Mrs Whitman in their domestic concerns."  (Edwin Hall Journal, 1839)

The Mahis were two of the charter members of the original Oregon Mission Church, being admitted by letter from the Kawaiahaʻo Church at its organization on August 18, 1838.

When Mahi died, Mrs. Whitman wrote of him in a letter to her mother on October 9, 1840, "Our loss is very great. He was so faithful and kind - always ready to relieve us of every care, so that we might give ourselves to our appropriate missionary work - increasingly so to the last. He died as a faithful Christian missionary dies - happy to die in the field - rejoiced that he was permitted to come and labour for the good of the Indians …" (His wife returned to Hawaiʻi in January 1842.)

There are more ties to Hawaiʻi beyond the help given to build the mission.  After the Oregon missionaries had found that their earliest ideas of instructing the Indians in the Gospel by teaching them English, without reducing their own language to writing,
were not only impracticable but absolutely impossible, they wrote to their brethren of the Sandwich Islands mission asking if it were not possible to have a second-hand printing press given to them.  (The Friend, May 1923)

On April 19, 1839, Hiram Bingham, head of the Hawaiʻi mission wrote, “The church & congregation of which I am pastor has recently sent a small but complete printing and binding establishment by the hand of Brother Hall, to the Oregon mission, which with other substantial supplies amount to 444,00 doll.” (This is not the same press that Bingham brought on their initial voyage to Hawaiʻi.)

“The press was a small hand press presented to this mission but not in use. The expense of the press with one small font of type, was defrayed by about 50 native females including Kīnaʻu or Kaʻahumanu 2d. This was a very pleasing act of Charity. She gave 10 doll. for herself & 4 for her little daughter Victoria Kaʻahumanu 3d.”  (Bingham) (The press remained at Lapwai until 1846, when it was sought to be used for printing a paper in Salem.)

“The Press was located at Lapwai, and used to print portions of Scripture and hymn books in the Nez Perces language, which books were used in all the Missions of the American Board. Visitors to these tribes of Indians, twenty-five years after the Missions had been broken up, and the Indians had been dispersed, found copies of those books still in use and prized as great treasures.”  (Nixon)

The Whitmans at Waiilatpu and the Spaldings at Lapwai carried on their work in their separate stations for about two years with but little outside help beyond that of a few Hawaiians and an occasional wandering mountain man. (Drury)

The Cayuse were a semi-nomadic people who were on a seasonal cycle of hunting, gathering and fishing.   Whitman introduced agriculture in order to keep the Cayuse at the mission and introduce Christianity.

They needed to be self-sufficient and spent a lot of time growing crops and looking after farm animals. These animals included a flock of sheep that were sent to Waiilatpu by some of the ABCFM missionaries in Hawaiʻi (Maki and his wife accompanied these sheep on their long journey to the Whitman Mission.)

In 1843, Whitman accompanied the first major overland immigration from the US to Oregon, successfully guiding the first immigrant wagons to reach the Columbia River; the mission at Waiilatpu was a major stop on the immigrant trail.  Their small expedition was the first to bring families to Oregon by wagon.

In 1847, one of those emigrant wagon trains brought measles to the mission. The white children recovered, but the local Cayuse tribe had no resistance. Half the tribe died.

Marcus was considered to be a te-wat, or medicine man, to the Cayuse people. His medicines did not work when trying to cure Cayuse infected with measles. It was Cayuse tradition that if the patient died after being treated by the medicine man, the family of the patient had the right to kill the medicine man.

On November 29, 1847, eleven Cayuse took part in what is now called the “Whitman Killings” and “Whitman Massacre.” The majority of the tribe was not involved in the deaths of the Whitmans and the eleven others, however, the whole tribe was held responsible until 1850. In that year, five Cayuse were turned over to the authorities in Oregon City and hanged for the crime of killing the Whitmans.

The story of the Whitman mission came to an end, however, the legacy of Dr Whitman lived on. Stories of his 1842 ride east to stop the ABCFM from closing some of the Oregon missions became a legend that “Whitman saved Oregon for the Americans”, making it seem that Whitman promoted a manifest destiny for America.

Cushing Eells, an associate of Whitman, built Whitman Seminary on the grounds of the old mission; it later moved to Walla Walla and became Whitman College. A statue of Dr. Whitman was erected in Statuary Hall in Washington DC.  (My mother, a Hiram Bingham descendant, attended Whitman College.)  (Lots of information here from NPS)

The image shows the Whitman Mission.  In addition, I have added other images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

Follow Peter T Young on Facebook  

Follow Peter T Young on Google+    

Follow Peter T Young on LinkedIn   

© 2014 Hoʻokuleana LLC

Friday, November 28, 2014

Traditions …

No, not Black Friday – I avoid that.

… The Reindeer is Back!

Since 1985, I have worn my reindeer pin, starting on the day after Thanksgiving through Christmas Day.

No it’s not Rudolph (there is no red nose.)

Back then, I wanted to express my enthusiasm for this time of year, in my own subtle way. That enthusiasm continues today.

I bought the pin at Bell, Book and Candle in Kona, I picked it out myself. (Unfortunately, the store has long since closed.)

I also wear Reyn Spooner Christmas Shirts from now ‘til Christmas (my Reyn’s Christmas Shirt collection goes back to 1987.)

I look forward to this tradition.

Of course, some folks may think it’s dorky for some old guy to be wearing a cartoonish reindeer brooch on his chest.

I am sorry they don’t enjoy the season like I do; hopefully, they’ll lighten up.

Anyway, today the pin made its annual debut.

I Love This Time Of Year.

Merry Christmas Everybody!


Planning for what is now known as the Dwight D Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways (“The Interstate System”) began in the late-1930s. They then studied the feasibility of a toll-financed system of three east-west and three north-south superhighways – the subsequent report concluded a toll network would not be self-supporting.

Later, Section 7 of the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1944 provided for the designation “within the continental United States of a National System of Interstate Highways not, exceeding, forty thousand miles … to connect by routes, as direct as practicable, the principal metropolitan areas, cities, and industrial centers, to serve the national defense, and to connect at suitable border points with routes of continental importance in the Dominion of Canada and the Republic of Mexico."  (Bureau of Public Roads, 1960)

Although the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1944 authorized designation of a "National System of Interstate Highways," the legislation did not authorize an initiating program to build it.  After taking office in January 1953, President Eisenhower made revitalizing the Nation's highways one of the goals of his first term.

As an army Lieutenant Colonel in 1919, Eisenhower had accompanied a military convoy across the US and saw the poor condition of our Nation's roads.  Later, during World War II, as Commander of the Allied Forces, his admiration for Germany's Autobahn network reinforced his belief that the US needed first-class roads.

President Eisenhower continued to urge approval and worked with Congress to reach compromises that made approval possible.  The President signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 on June 29, 1956.  The feds provided a 90/10 math - 90% of the funds for the Interstate Highway System from the feds; each state was required to match the remaining 10%.

The numbering of the interstate highways on the system was developed in 1957 by the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO). The numbering pattern of Interstates is the reverse of US Highways; for example US Route 10 is in the North of the USA, while Interstate 10 is in the South.

In the numbering scheme for the primary routes, east-west highways are assigned even numbers and north-south highways are assigned odd numbers. Odd route numbers increase from west to east, and even-numbered routes increase from south to north.

Major north–south arterial Interstates increase in number from I‑5 between Canada and Mexico along the West Coast to I‑95 between Canada and Miami along the East Coast. Major west–east arterial Interstates increase in number from I‑10 between Santa Monica, California and Jacksonville, Florida to I‑90 between Seattle, Washington and Boston, Massachusetts.

On one- or two-digit Interstates, the mile marker numbering almost always begins at the southern or western state line; the exit numbers of interchanges are either sequential or distance-based so that the exit number is the same as the nearest mile marker.

As a result of statehood for Alaska and Hawaiʻi in 1959, US Bureau of Public Roads was directed to study the needs and opportunities for Interstate routes there.

Four basic factors were used in considering the relative merit of routes: (1) national defense, (2) system integration - the value of the route as a connector between centers of population and industry which generate traffic, (3) service to industry by manufacturing, fishing, agriculture, mining, forestry, etc, as measured by value of products or by traffic data, and (4) population.  (Bureau of Public Roads, 1960)

When the routes considered for Interstate designation in Hawaiʻi were studied in relation to the established criteria for selection, it was determined that routes totaling about 50 miles have factors of service that are definite characteristics of the Interstate System.  (Bureau of Public Roads, 1960)

Honolulu Westerly to Barbers Point.………..19
Honolulu southeasterly to Diamond Head...7
Honolulu northeasterly to Kaneohe Base...14
Pearl City to Schofield Barracks…………….....10

The result was the initial identification of three Island Interstates – H-1, H-2 and H-3.  These roads also have names: H-1 is called Queen Liliʻuokalani Freeway (from exits 1-18 – about Middle Street) and Lunalilo Freeway (from exits 19-27.)  H-2 is called Veterans Memorial Freeway and H-3 is called John A Burns Freeway.

H-1 runs along the southern shore of Oahu, from Kapolei, around Pearl Harbor to just past Diamond Head State Monument. H-2 extends north from H-1 and Pearl Harbor to Wahiawa and the Schofield Barracks Military Reservation. H-3 runs from northwest Honolulu at Āliamanu Military Reservation to the Hawaii Marine Corps Base on Kāneʻohe Bay.

Interstate H-1 was first authorized in as a result of the Statehood Act of 1960.  Work was completed on the first segment of the new H-1 Interstate, spanning 1-mile - from Koko Head Avenue to 1st Avenue, on June 21, 1965.

A temporary westbound exit to Harding and a temporary eastbound entrance from Kapahulu Avenue allowed motorists to access the new freeway until the Kapiʻolani Interchange was completed in October 1967.

On November 1, 1989, the Federal Highway Administration approved the State’s request for a fourth Interstate route, a 4.1-mile section of Moanalua Freeway/State Route 78 between H-1 exit 13 and H-1 exit 19.  It was assigned the temporary number H-1-A, but was numbered H-201 on December 8, 1990.  (DOT delayed putting the signs up, thinking Hawaiʻi drivers may be confused between H-2 and H-201.)

H-4 was an idea once proposed for the city of Honolulu in the late 1960s. Interstate H-4 was to provide traffic relief for the congested Interstate H-1 through the downtown area. From the west Interstate H-4 was to begin at Interstate H-1/Exit 18 interchange, head to the waterfront to a point somewhere between Atkinson Drive and Waikīkī, then head back up to the Kapiʻolani interchange (Exit 25B) on H-1.

The image shows H-1 Freeway ending at Kapahulu and Harding Avenues looking eastbound with temporary on- and off-ramps to Kapahulu and Harding Avenues (1965.)   In addition, I have added other images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

Follow Peter T Young on Facebook  

Follow Peter T Young on Google+    

Follow Peter T Young on LinkedIn  

© 2014 Hoʻokuleana LLC

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

The site and date of origin of Thanksgiving are matters of dispute, with regional claims being made by widely disparate locations in North America. The chief claims are: Saint Augustine, Florida - 1565; Baffin Island, Canada - 1578; Jamestown, Virginia - 1619 and Plymouth, Massachusetts - 1621.

In Hawaiʻi, the Makahiki is a form of the "first fruits" festivals common to many cultures throughout the world. It is similar in timing and purpose to Thanksgiving, Oktoberfest and other harvest celebrations.

Something similar was observed throughout Polynesia, but it was in pre-contact Hawaiʻi that the festival.  Makahiki was celebrated during a designated period of time following the harvesting season.

As the year's harvest was gathered, tributes in the form of goods and produce were given to the chiefs from November through December.

No one knows when the first western Thanksgiving feast was held in Hawaiʻi, but from all apparent possibilities, the first recorded one took place in Honolulu and was held among the families of the American missionaries from New England.

According to the reported entry in Lowell Smith’s journal on December 6, 1838: "This day has been observed by us missionaries and people of Honolulu as a day of Thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God. Something new for this nation.”

“The people turned out pretty well and they dined in small groups and in a few instances in large groups. We missionaries all dined at Dr. Judd's and supped at Brother Bingham’s. ... An interesting day; seemed like old times - Thanksgiving in the United States."

The first Thanksgiving Proclamation in Hawaiʻi appears to have been issued on November 23, 1849, and set the 31st day of December as a date of Thanksgiving. This appeared in ‘The Friend’ on December 1, 1849.

The following, under the signature of King Kamehameha III, named the 31st of December as a day of public thanks. The Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1849 read, in part:

“In accordance with the laws of this Kingdom, and the excellent usage of Christian Nations, it has pleased his Majesty, in council, to appoint the Thirty-first day of December, next, as a day of public thanksgiving to God, for His unnumbered mercies and blessings to this nation; and …”

“… people of every class are respectfully requested to assemble in their several houses of worship on that day, to render united praise to the Father of nations, and to implore His favor in time to come, upon all who dwell upon these shores, as individuals, as families, and as a nation.”  (Signed at the Palace. Honolulu, November, 23, 1849.)

“It will be seen by Royal Proclamation that Monday, the 31st of December has been appointed by His Majesty in Council as a day of Thanksgiving. We are glad to see this time-honored custom introduced into this Kingdom.”

The celebratory day of Thanksgiving changed over time.  On December 26, 1941 President Roosevelt signed into law a bill making the date of Thanksgiving a matter of federal law, fixing the day as the fourth Thursday of November.

The image is a drawing, ‘The First Thanksgiving 1621’ oil on canvas by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (1899).

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Follow Peter T Young on Facebook  

Follow Peter T Young on Google+ 

Follow Peter T Young on LinkedIn   

© 2014 Hoʻokuleana LLC

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

James Hay Wodehouse

James Hay Wodehouse was born on April 23, 1824. He was the second son of Charles Nourse Wodehouse (Archdeacon of Norwich) and Lady Dulcibella Jane Hay. He married Annette Fanny Massey, daughter of William Massey, on January 19, 1861.

Wodehouse was private secretary to George Grey (Governor of New Zealand) in 1851; on November 5, 1860, it was announced, “The Queen has been graciously pleased to appoint Major James Hay Wodehouse to be her Majesty's consul in the Society or Leeward Islands in the Pacific Ocean.”  (London Daily News, November 24, 1860)

On June 21, 1866, “The Queen has been graciously pleased to appoint James Hay Wodehouse, Esq … to be Her Majesty's Commissioner and Consul-General in the Sandwich Islands.”  (British Bulletins, 1866)

A retired British Army Major, Wodehouse took up his duties and thereafter worked diligently to protect British interests during a long career.  (Andrade)  “Minister Wodehouse represented the British Governmental the Hawaiian court for over twenty-five years with great credit.”   (San Francisco Call, August 11, 1895)

These were tumultuous times in the Islands.  Through several monarchs, the issue of independence / annexation and takeover by others were part of the ongoing discussions.

“About the end of 1867, Queen Emma, in a conversation with British Commissioner JH Wodehouse, assured him ‘that with a few exceptions, all the natives were opposed to annexation.’”  (Daws)

“Many times, Kamehameha V stated his firm resolve to maintain the independence of his kingdom, and there is no good reason to doubt the sincerity of these declarations. British Commissioner Wodehouse reported a conversation with the king in which the latter expressed ‘his determination to resist any project for the annexation of his Islands to the United States.’”  (Daws)

On January 17, 1893, Queen Lili`uokalani yielded her authority to the US government.  In 1895, an abortive attempt by Hawaiian royalists to restore Queen Liliʻuokalani to power resulted in the Queen’s arrest.

Convicted of having knowledge of a royalist plot, “at two o'clock on the afternoon of the 27th of February I was again called into court, and sentence passed upon me … a fine of $5,000, and imprisonment at hard labor for five years.” (Queen Liliʻuokalani)  The sentence was commuted to imprisonment in an upstairs apartment in ʻIolani Palace.

“(Wodehouse) was strongly opposed to the revolution, and made himself obnoxious to the Provisional Government, who came to regard the British legation as the chief center of royalist intrigue.”    (San Francisco Call, August 11, 1895)

The British Government, having recognized the Hawaiian Republic, recalled Wodehouse and appointed Mr Hawes British commissioner and consul general.  Major Wodehouse, on his departure, neglected to pay an official farewell to the Dole Government, and proposed to take leave of the ex-Queen, imprisoned in the palace.  (Appletons’, 1895)

“Previous to Mr Wodehouse's departure from Honolulu he requested a parting interview with ex-Queen Liliʻuokalani, but the request received a positive refusal. The reason assigned was that Mr Wodehouse still held an official character of which he could not divest himself, so as to render his visit to the former Queen one merely of friendship.”  (San Francisco Call, August 11, 1895)

“(A)n open letter of Mrs Wodehouse to the ex-Queen had been returned to the writer because it was addressed to ‘Her Majesty.’ The denial of intercourse in the case of the British Minister is an exception to a very considerable degree of the freedom usually allowed to Mrs Dominis in seeing her friends.  (San Francisco Call, August 11, 1895)

Wodehouse had other reasons for desiring to be relieved of his duties at this time. He had been in Hawaiʻi for 15-years without any leave, was not in good health and wished to return to England to spend his last years.  The British government accordingly granted him leave to return to England.  (Andrade)  Wodehouse died in England on July 13, 1911.

Here’s a little Wodehouse side note:  A malfunctioning chronometer put the British sailing ship Dunnottar Castle off course and onto the reef at Kure atoll.  Seven of the crew members, including its Chief Officer, took one of the surviving boats and sailed, for 52 days, to Kauaʻi. Upon being informed of the tragedy, the British Commissioner in Honolulu organized a rescue mission. (HawaiianAtolls)

Wodehouse decided to send a ship for the remaining crew.  Suspecting that the British might use the occasion to annex the island, the Hawaiian Government shared the expedition expenses and instructed Commissioner James Boyd to take formal possession of Kure.  On September 20, 1886 Boyd took possession of the island, then-called Mokupāpapa, for the Hawaiian government.  (PMNM)

The rescue mission came back to Honolulu with the same amount of people it had sailed out with. No survivors were found on the atoll, except for two fox terriers and a retriever. All of the survivors had been picked up earlier by a passing vessel and were on route to Chile.  (HawaiianAtolls)

Here’s another side note, relating to one of Wodehouse’s sons, ‘Hay.’  On July 30, 1889, Robert William Wilcox led a rebellion to restore the rights of the monarchy, two years after the Bayonet Constitution of 1887 left King Kalākaua a mere figurehead.

“The day was won, they say, by a base ball (catcher,) who threw dynamite bombs into the bungalow that formed the headquarters of the insurgents and brought them to terms quicker than rifle or cannon shot.”

“Bombs were made, but it was found that there were no guns to fire them. It was a long throw, and in their dilemma the King's guards secured the services of Haywood (Wodehouse,) (catcher) of the Honolulu Base Ball Club.”

“(Wodehouse) took up his position in the Coney Island building, just across a narrow lane, and overlooking the bungalow. No attack was expected from that quarter, and there was nothing to disturb the bomb thrower. (Wodehouse) stood for a moment with a bomb in his hand as though he were in the box waiting for a batsman. He had to throw over a house to reach the bungalow, which he could not see.”

“The first bomb went sailing over the wall, made a down curve and struck the side of the bungalow about a foot from the roof … The bomb had reached them and hurt a number of the insurgents.  (Wodehouse) coolly picked out another bomb. Then he took a step back, made a half turn and sent it whizzing. It landed on the roof … He threw one more bomb and Wilcox came out and surrendered."    (The Sporting Life, October 16, 1889)

Here’s one more … The unveiling of the Captain Cook monument in Kealakekua Bay took place on November 14, 1874.  Credit for it is given to Princess Likelike (sister of King Kalākaua and Queen Liliʻuokalani, and mother of Princess Kaʻiulani (who sold the land for $1 on January 26, 1877 to be held in trust for the monument in memory of Captain Cook)) and British Commissioner Wodehouse.

“The erection of a suitable and durable monument to the memory of Captain James Cook has been often proposed and more than once attempted, but has now been happily accomplished under the direction of Mr Wodehouse, the British Commissioner, with the cooperation of Captain Cator of HMS ship Scout, who kindly conveyed the architect and his men and materials to the spot in Kealakekua Bay, where the circumnavigator fell, and where now, nearly a century later, a fitting monument is at last dedicated to his memory.”

“It is a plain obelisk, standing on a square base, the whole being twenty-seven feet in height, and constructed throughout of a concrete composed of carefully screened pebbles and cement, similar to tie material of which the fine public buildings in this city are built. It stands on an artificially leveled platform of lava only a few feet distant from and above the highwater mark, and fifteen or twenty yards from the shore or lava slab on which the great seaman stood when struck down.”

“The site is thus the most suitable that could have been chosen, and is the gift of Princess Likelike, wife of Hon. AS Cleghorn. The expense of the erection is partly borne by subscribers in England…”  (Hawaiian Gazette, November 25, 1874)

The image shows James Hay Wodehouse.  (Kuykendall)   In addition, I have added other images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

Follow Peter T Young on Facebook  

Follow Peter T Young on Google+  

Follow Peter T Young on LinkedIn   

© 2014 Hoʻokuleana LLC

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Honuʻapo is literally translated as “caught turtle” (Pukui,) but others suggest Honuʻapo was originally Honua‘apo, meaning “embraced land”, or land embraced by a kapu. “Honua‘apo” has its origin with a cave that was a place of refuge and was therefore kapu.  (Haun)

When Captain James Cook traveled this part of the Island in January 1799, King, who accompanied Cook on the voyage, wrote:
“It is not only the worst part of the Island but as barren waste looking a country as can be conceived to exist…”

“… we could discern black streaks coming from the Mountain even down to the seaside… horrid and dismal as this part of the Island appears, yet there are many villages interspersed, and it struck as being more populous than the part of Opoona (Puna) which joins Koa (Kaʻū.) There are houses built even on the ruins (lava flows) we have described.”

In July 1823, Protestant missionary Reverend William Ellis visited Kaʻū and said this of Honuʻapo:  “From the manner in which we were received at Honuʻapo, we should not think this village had been often visited by foreigners…”

“… for on our descending from the high land to the lava on which the town stands, the natives came running out to meet us from all quarters, and soon gathered so thickly around us, that we found it difficult to proceed…”

“We passed through the town to the residence of the head man, situated on the farthest point towards the sea. He invited us to his house, procured us water to wash our feet with, and immediately sent to an adjacent pond for some fish for our supper.”

“While that was preparing, the people assembled in crowds around the house, and a little before sun-set Mr. Thurston preached to them in the front yard. Upwards of 200 were present…”

Soon after Ellis’s visit to Honuʻapo there was an influx of Westerners. The ever-growing population of Westerners throughout Hawai‘i forced socioeconomic and demographic changes.  (Rechtman)

At the time of the Māhele (1848,) Honuʻapo ahupuaʻa (totaling 2,200 acres) was awarded as Konohiki Land to William Charles Lunalilo.

In 1868, a series of earthquakes were felt and lava began flowing on the slopes of Mauna Loa. These initial eruptions “destroyed a large stone church at Kahuku, and also all the stone dwelling houses in that place, including the houses….at the foot of the mountain”.

Then on April 4th an even larger eruption occurred. Fredrick S Lyman, who witnessed the eruption first hand, wrote: “Soon after four o’clock p.m. on Thursday we experienced a most fearful earthquake. First the earth swayed to and fro from north to south, then from east to west, then round and round, up and down, and finally in every imaginable direction, for several minutes, everything crashing around, and the trees thrashing as if torn by a hurricane, and there was a sound as of a mighty rushing wind.”

“It was impossible to stand: we had to sit on the ground, bracing with hands and feet to keep from being rolled over…we saw…an immense torrent of molten lava, which rushed across the plain below…swallowing everything in its way;--trees, houses, cattle, horses, goats, and men, all overwhelmed in an instant. This devouring current passed over a distance of about three miles in as many minutes, and then ceased.”

Within minutes of the initial quake, the ocean rose up and a tsunami pounded the coast, washing inland in some locations as far as 150 yards. It was recorded that the wave destroyed 108 houses in Ka‘ū and drowned forty-six people.

The tsunami devastated coastal villages and forced people to move inland to towns such as Nāʻālehu and Pāhala. Lyman wrote:  “The villages on the shore were swept away by the great wave that rushed upon the land immediately after the earthquake. The eruption of earth destroyed thirty-one lives, but the waves swallowed a great number.”  (Lyman; Journal of Science, 1868)

The coastal trail (alaloa) that Ellis walked was later modified to accommodate horse and cart as foreign population into the area increased. The trail maintained its original alignment at least through Nīnole and Punaluʻu. The 1868 earthquake and tsunami devastated the Kaʻū coastline and washed out much of the trail.

The trail was then straightened, realigned and widened, and took a mauka course and eventually became the Government Road and was the most direct means to reach villages and commerce.

With the treaty of Reciprocity and growing demand for Hawaiʻi sugar, there was a rise of sugar plantations throughout Kaʻū, including Honuʻapo; mills were built in Pāhala (1868,) Hīlea (1878) and Honuʻapo (1881.)

The sugar industry quickly set down roots in Honuʻapo and erected a sugar mill, a large sugar warehouse and various out buildings. All of these developed areas were connected with a small gauge railroad network.

Sugar from the Pāhala sugar mill was originally transported to Punaluʻu wharf for shipping. After the dredging of Honuʻapo Bay in the 1870s and construction of the landing at Honuʻapo by 1883, most of the sugar in Kaʻū was shipped out of Honuʻapo.

Honuʻapo wharf served the communities of Waiʻōhinu, Nāʻālehu, Hīlea and Honuʻapo. Punaluʻu harbor served the sugar plantation at Pāhala, as well as the communities of Nīnole and Punaluʻu.

First, government ships then private interests provided inter and intra-island transportation.  Competitors Wilder Steamship Co (1872) and Inter-Island Steam Navigation Co (1883) ran different routes, rather than engage in head to head competition.

On Hawaiʻi Island, Mahukona, Kawaihae and Hilo were the Island’s major ports; Inter-Island served Kona ports.  From Kailua, the steamer went south stopping at the Kona ports of Nāpoʻopoʻo, Hoʻokena, Hoʻopuloa, rounding South Point, touching at Honuʻapo and finally arriving at Punaluʻu, the terminus of the route.  (From Punaluʻu, a 5-mile railroad took passengers to Pāhala, then coaches hauled the visitors to the volcano to site see.)

By 1890, Honuʻapo and Hīlea plantations became the property of Hutchinson Sugar Company, while Pāhala was owned by Hawaiian Agriculture.   The mill at Hīlea was gone by 1907.

The concrete pier still visible at Honuʻapo Bay was constructed in 1910. The harbor at Honuʻapo continued operations until 1942. After that, sugar was trucked to Hilo for off-island shipment.

In 1928, the plantation camps of the Hutchinson Sugar Plantation were torn down and the residents were moved to Nā‘ālehu.)  The Honuʻapo mill was shut down in 1973 and sugar plantation activities in Kaʻū were then centered at the Pāhala plantation; in 1996, the Pāhala plantation ceased operation marking the end of the sugar plantation era in Kaʻū.  (Lots of information here from Rechtman and Haun.)

When I was at DLNR, we partnered with the community, County, NOAA (CELCP) and Trust for Public Land to purchase and preserve the historic and scenic Honuʻapo Estuary and coastal area along the Kaʻū coast adjoining Whittington Beach Park.

The image shows Honuʻapo pier (1908.) (SOEST)  In addition, I have added some other images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

Follow Peter T Young on Facebook  

Follow Peter T Young on Google+  

Follow Peter T Young on LinkedIn   

© 2014 Hoʻokuleana LLC

Monday, November 24, 2014

Certificate of Hawaiian Birth

Sun Yat-sen, the Founding Father of modern China, the Republic of China (Nationalist China) and the forerunner of democratic revolution in the People's Republic of China, was born November 12, 1866, to an ordinary farmer’s family in Cuiheng Village, Xiangshan, in the south of the Pearl River Delta of the South China province of Guangdong.

In 1879, then 13 years of age, he journeyed to Hawaiʻi to join his older brother, Sun Mei, a successful rice farmer, rancher and merchant.  He entered ʻIolani at age 14.  With long hair pulled back in a traditional queue, he was enrolled in 1879 without knowing any English.  (ʻIolani)

In Sun Yat-sen's four years in Hawai'i (1879-1883), he is said to have attended three Christian educational institutions: ʻIolani College, Oʻahu College (Punahou School) and St Louis College.

He came to Hawaiʻi on six different occasions, initially for schooling and to support his brother’s businesses on Maui.  Later, his trips were geared to gain support for revolutionizing China and fundraising for that end.

He was known by a lot of names.  As a young student, he was called Tai Cheong or Tai Chu.  His official name is Sun Wen; when he signed letters and documents in Chinese, he used the name Sun Wen. When he signed letters and documents in English, he used the name Sun Yat-sen.  (Lum)

In 1897, when he was in Tokyo, he picked up a Japanese name, Nakayama, from a nameplate on a house he passed. In Chinese, Nakayama is read as Chung-Shan. This is how his name Sun Chung-shan came about.  (Lum)

The place of his birth, previously known as Xiāngshān, had been renamed Zhōngshān - Sun Yat-sen was known in Chinese as Sun Zhongshan.

Let’s look a little closer at his birth place – while officially (and factually) Sun was born in China, he was able to later obtain a birth certificate that claimed he was a “native born Hawaiian.”

Sun needed to travel to get backing for his revolutionary plans, as well as raise funds to support it.  With the US Chinese Exclusion Act (1882) severely limiting Chinese immigration, Sun had difficulty entering the US and was even detained by US authorities at one point.

To top it off, the Manchu Government first put a prize of $35,000 on his head and later, raised it to $75,000.  Realizing his danger, Sun cut off his queue, raised a moustache, dressed himself in foreign style and look passage for Japan, where he preached his doctrine to the Chinese students in the Japanese universities.  (In Young, 1911)

Sun’s detention prompted an overseas Chinese to say that if Sun wanted to promote a Chinese revolution on US soil, it would be best if he had US citizenship.

Sun’s friends in San Francisco set in motion plans for him to obtain US citizenship by faking a birth certificate showing that he was born in Honolulu.  (Taipei Times)

In 1900, the Hawaiian Organic Act was passed stating that any person that was a citizen of the Republic of Hawaiʻi on or before August 12, 1898 would also become a citizen of the United States.

In various statements and affidavits, Sun and others set the foundation for a claim of his birth in Hawaiʻi.  It was a makeshift plan for the good of the revolution.  (Taipei Times)

“I was born in Honolulu and went to China came back from Hong Kong to Honolulu in the early part of 1896 or the last part of 1895, I staid at Honolulu for 4 or 5 months and then came on to San Francisco ...  I came in on Student and Travelers Sect. 6 certificate ... as a subject of China.”  (Sun Yat-sen April 14, 1904)

“Some time after the annexation of the Hawaiian Islands to the United States, there was a registration taken of all the residents for the purpose of ascertaining the nationality and birth of each resident.”

“I was registered in the Kula district, in the Island of Maui, as a Hawaiian-born Chinese, about March or April in the year 1901.  That is the first thing that I did after the annexation of the Islands to show that I still claimed citizenship there ... .”  (Sun Yat-sen, April 21, 1904)

Supporting Sun’s birth place claims, Wong Kwai signed a sworn statement noting, “He (Sun) was born at Ewa (Waimano) Oahu.”  Benjamin Starr Kapu further supported this noting, “Sun Yat-sen, a full Chinese person, who was born at Waimano Oahu … in the year 1870.”

His Punahou teacher, Francis Damon, certified to his good character but did not swear on the issue of birth.  (Smyser)

As a “citizen of Hawaiʻi” Sun could travel to the US continent in the early-1900s to rally both support and funds for his revolutionary efforts.

In March 1904, while residing in Kula, Maui, Sun Yat-sen obtained a Certificate of Hawaiian Birth, issued by the Territory of Hawaiʻi, stating that “he was born in the Hawaiian Islands on the 24th day of November, AD 1870.”

Rather than using his own birth date, Sun selected November 24, 1870 to reflect the founding date of the Hsing Chung Hui to establish a connection with his revolutionary activities.  (Taipei Times)

(On his third trip in Hawaiʻi (on November 24, 1894) Sun established the Hsing Chung Hui (Revive China Society,) his first revolutionary society. Among its founders were many Christians, one of them being Chung Ku Ai, his fellow student at ʻIolani (and later founder of City Mill.))

Although not born in the Islands, Sun Yat-sen apparently felt at home in Hawaiʻi. “This is my Hawai‘i … here I was brought up and educated, and it was here that I came to know what modern, civilized governments are like and what they mean.” (Sun Yat-sen, 1910)

When the birth certificate was no longer needed, he renounced it.

The revolutionary movement in China grew stronger and stronger. Tung Meng Hui members staged many armed uprisings, culminating in the October 10, 1911 Wuhan (Wuchang) Uprising which succeeded in overthrowing the Manchu dynasty and established the Republic of China.

That date is now celebrated annually as the Republic of China’s national day, also known as the “Double Ten Day”. On December 29, 1911, Sun Yat-sen was elected the interim president.  After Sun's death on March 12, 1925, Chiang Kai-shek became the leader of the Kuomintang (KMT.)

The image shows Sun Yat-sen’s Hawaiian Birth certificate.  In addition, I have included other images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

Follow Peter T Young on Facebook    

Follow Peter T Young on Google+    

Follow Peter T Young on LinkedIn   

© 2014 Hoʻokuleana LLC

Sunday, November 23, 2014


Kaua‘i nui moku lehua pane‘e lua i ke kai
Great Kaua‘i of the lehua groves which seem to move two-by-two to the shore (Maly)

Kauaʻi is the oldest of the eight main Hawaiian islands, and the island consists of one main extinct shield volcano estimated to be about 5-million years old, as well as numerous younger lava flows (between 3.65-million years to 500,000-years old). The island is characterized by severe weathering.  (DLNR)

Historically, it was divided into several districts and political units, which in ancient times were subject to various chiefs—sometimes independently, and at other times, in unity with the other districts. These early moku o loko, or districts included Nāpali, Haleleʻa, Koʻolau, Puna and Kona (Buke Mahele, 1848; May.)

Although Nāpali, on the northwestern portion of the Island, is remote and difficult to access, many may not realize that for about a thousand years, Hawaiians lived along the Nāpali coast, farming, fishing and worshiping.  There are irrigation ditches, terraced fields, house platforms, heiau (temples and shrines) and graves.”

“The design of these places took into account the natural topography and environment, and as a result these ancient sites often blend into the landscape. … The aspects of the land that Hawaiians sought for their sites - level ground, ocean access and availability of fresh water (hold true today.)”  (DLNR)

The Nāpali valleys were intensively cultivated and the larger valleys such as Kalalau were densely inhabited. Taro was raised in terraced loʻi along the streams and other crops such as bananas, sugar cane and sweet potato were grown above the loʻi.

Other plants including wauke and mamaki for bark cloth and kukui nuts for food and oil for light were grown in the gulches.  There were overland trails connecting many of these valleys and these areas were also accessed via canoe.  (Handy; Maly)

Land use records from 1856-1857 show that lands in Kalalau, Pohakuao and Honopu valleys were being used for the cultivation of kalo, olona and kula. In the late-1800s Hanakoa and Hanakāpīʻai were also used for coffee cultivation. Kalalau was abandoned in 1919 and then used for cattle grazing in the 1920 for a limited time.  (DLNR)

“The mountains along the shore, for eight or ten miles, are very bold, some rising abruptly from the ocean, exhibiting the obvious effects of volcanic fires; some, a little back, appear like towering pyramids”.  (Hiram Bingham, 1822)

“There is a tract of country on the west coast of the island, through which no road is practicable.”  (Bowser, 1880; Maly) “For twenty miles along the northwestern coast of Kauaʻi there extends a series of ridges, none less than 800-feet high, and many nearly 1,500-feet, terminating in a bluff that is unrivalled in majesty. Except for a very narrow, dangerous foot-path, with yawning abysses on each side, this bluff is impassable.”    (The Tourist’s Guide, Whitney, 1895)

The trail was originally built around 1860 (portions were rebuilt in the 1930s) to foster transportation and commerce for the residents living in the remote valleys.

Local labor and dynamite were used to construct a trail wide enough to accommodate pack animals loaded with oranges, taro and coffee being grown in the valleys. Stone paving and retaining walls from that era still exist along the trail.

It traverses 5-valleys over 11-miles, from Hāʻena State Park to Kalalau Beach, where it is blocked by sheer, fluted cliffs (pali;) it drops to sea level at the beaches of Hanakāpīʻai and Kalalau. The first 2 miles of the trail, from Hāʻena State Park to Hanakāpīʻai Beach, make a popular day hike.  (DLNR)

“Innumerable streams, forming wonderful cascades as they leap hundreds of feet in their tempestuous decent, pour over this bluff in the rainy season, and become mist before they reach the ocean. Beyond the raging surge, unbroken by any protecting reef, dashes against the precipitous walls of rock.”

“(T)he tourist can see all that has been described from Wednesday morning until Saturday evening, when the steamer returns to Honolulu.  If, however, he has time and the inclination to remain another week, there are many points of interest that can tempt him to make a longer stay, sights and scenes that can never be forgotten…”  (The Tourist’s Guide, Whitney, 1895)

“Here, about mid-way of what the natives call the Parre (Pali,) we landed, where is an acre or two of sterile ground, bounded on one side by the ocean, and environed on the other by a stupendous rock, nearly perpendicular, forming at its base a semicircular curve, which meets the ocean at each end. In the middle of the curve, a stupendous rock rises to the height, I should say, of about 1,500-feet.” (Bingham)

“Like Kalalau they had a trail from the table land above over the top of Kamaile and zigzagging down through the cliffs some 3,000-feet to the valley below but even this trail was difficult. At one place you have to jump a crevice only three feet wide but it goes down straight like a chimney and if you slipped you would only fall 800 feet to the rocks below. They call it the Puhi.”  (Knudsen, late-19th-century)

“(At) Nuʻalolo Kai the fishermen built and kept their canoes and the beach must have been lined with them for the landing is most always safe as the channel is narrow and a big reef to the north protecting it.” (Knudsen)

“During the Māhele, the King granted lands to the Kingdom (Government), the revenue of which was to support government functions. In the Nāpali District, the ahupuaʻa of Kalalau, Pohakuao, Honopu, Hanakāpīʻai and one-half of Hanakoa were granted to the Government Land inventory.”

“Portions of the lands that fell into the government inventory were subsequently sold as Royal Patent Grants to individuals who applied for them. The grantees were generally long-time kamaʻāina residents of the lands they sought… Thirty grants were sold in the Nāpali District to twenty-seven applicants; the lands being situated in Kalalau and Honopu.” (Hawaiian Government, 1887; Maly)

The upper region of the area was put into Territorial Forest Reserve (Nā Pali - Kona Forest Reserve) for protection in 1907. Even before that time, the concern for native forest prompted cattle eradication activities in this area during 1882 and 1890.

In response to public demand and to promote improved public safety, camping permits for Nāpali Coast are issued for Kalalau only, the preferred destination at the end of the 11-mile Kalalau Trail (these permits also allow camping at Hanakoa, which is located a little beyond the halfway point of the trail, roughly 6 miles in from the trailhead.)

For most backpackers in good condition, hiking the 11-miles will take a full day. Those without camping permits for Kalalau Valley are therefore prohibited from attempting the entire 22-mile round trip hike in a day. For those with camping permits, get an early start.

Other than hiking the coast, the only way to legally access shore areas in Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park is by boat.  Personal or rented kayaks and guided kayak tours may land at two permitted areas (Kalalau and Miloliʻi,) and motorized raft tours take passengers on shore at Nuʻalolo Kai.

Landing of kayaks is permitted at Kalalau Beach (May 15 through September 7 only) with valid camping permits. Landings of kayaks and other watercraft at Miloliʻi Beach are permitted for camping (with valid permits, May 15 through September 7.)

Day use landings are allowed at Miloliʻi during the summer (May 15 through Labor Day) without a permit. No other boat landings are permitted within the park. Kayak landings are prohibited at all other beaches in the park, including Hanakāpīʻai, Honopu and Nuʻalolo Kai. (This only summarizes some of DLNR’s rules; review and know the rules before you go.)

The image shows a portion of the Nāpali coast.   In addition, I have added other images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

Follow Peter T Young on Facebook  

Follow Peter T Young on Google+    

Follow Peter T Young on LinkedIn   

© 2014 Hoʻokuleana LLC

Saturday, November 22, 2014


The literal translation for the moku (district) of Waialua is “two” (lua) “water(s)” (wai), which may be a reference to the pair of major streams that empty into its two main bays (Waialua and Kaiaka.)  An alternative interpretations of the meaning of Waialua suggest a particular lo‘i (irrigated taro patch,) a specific place called Kemo‘o and a cruel ancient chief named Waia.

Others suggest, “Waia, grandson of Wākea was said to be a cruel chief. He cared nothing of the gods or of doing good. He had men and women killed for the fun of killing them. When he saw a maiden with shapely legs, he ordered them cut off and if a man or a woman had beautiful tatooing he was put to death. … Waia lived and practised evil deeds at Waialua – as such, the place was named for him Waia-lua (Doubly disgraceful.)”  (Handy & Pukui)

“For the 28 generations from Hulihonua (the first man in the ancient Hawaiian past) to Wākea, no man was made chief over another. During the 25 generations from Wākea to Kapawa, various noted deeds are mentioned in the traditions and well-known stories.  Kapawa was the first chief to be set up as a ruling chief. This was at Waialua, Oʻahu; and from then on, the group of Hawaiian Islands became established as chief-ruled kingdoms”. (Kamakau)

Historic evidence indicates a fishing village, or a scattering of small fishing villages, extending from the west side of Waimea Bay back towards Waialua. This area along the coast and inland was known as Kāpaeloa (it’s in Waialua, and shares a boundary with Waimea ahupuaʻa that is in the moku of Koʻolauloa.)

In times past, Kāpaeloa may have been an ahupuaʻa; however, in later references (ie LCAs) Kāpaeloa is considered an ‘ili (land division smaller than an ahupua‘a) of either Kawailoa or (in the early-nineteenth century) Kamananui ahupua‘a.

The area is a relatively dry place, generally unsuitable for wet-taro cultivation, but ideal for its access to marine resources and deep-sea fisheries.  Any cultivation would have been limited to small gardens – families likely exchanged marine resources for other foodstuffs, such as taro, with farmers from nearby areas.

Here and in close proximity are four significant sites: Kūpopolo, a large heiau (temple;) Keahuohāpu’u, a fish-attracting shrine on a rocky point; Kaʻahakiʻi a tongue-shaped stone marking the ahupua‘a boundary between Waimea and Kawailoa; and Pu‘u o Mahuka Heiau at Pūpūkea.

This area, and some of the sites above are associated with Kaʻōpulupulu the last O‘ahu born Kahuna Nui (supreme spiritual leader) of the island.

In 1773, a leadership change was decided on Oʻahu where Kahahana would replace Kūmahana; this was the second chief to be elected (rather than conquest or heredity) to succeed to the leadership of Oʻahu, the first being Māʻilikūkahi who was his ancestor.  Kaʻōpulupulu was Waimea’s presiding priest and served Kahahana.

A story says Kahahana asked Kaʻōpulupulu to determine whether the gods approved of him, and whether the island of Kaua‘i would surrender if he invaded its shores. Kaʻōpulupulu requested that a temple be built where he could “speak to the great chief Kekaulike (of Kaua‘i) through the thoughts of the great akua Mahuka.”

At first, Heiau Kūpopolo was built on the beach of Waimea Bay; however, when Kaʻōpulupulu used it, he received no answer from Kaua‘i. It was thought the temple was in the wrong location.

Off shore of this area is Wānanapaoa, a small group of islets.  Several believe they were so named (Wānanapaoa literally translates to “unsuccessful prophecy”) because Kūpopolo heiau there did not live up to its intended function.

Because the kahuna believed that “thoughts are little gods, or kupua, that travel in space, above the earth … they fly freely as soaring birds,” he had another heiau, Puʻu O Mahuka built high on the cliffs. From there, Kaʻōpulupulu sent out thought waves, and the answer quickly returned – Kaua‘i wished for peace.  (Johnson; OHA)

“At that time, Kahekili was plotting for the downfall of Kahahana and the seizure of Oʻahu and Molokaʻi, and the queen of Kauaʻi was disposed to assist him in these enterprises."  (Kalākaua)

Kahekili deceived Kahahana by having him believe Kaʻōpulupulu had offered the government and throne of Oʻahu to him (Kahekili), but that out of affection for his nephew he had refused; and he intimated strongly that Kaʻōpulupulu was a traitor to Kahahana.

Kahahana believed the falsehoods and it subsequently caused friction between Kahahana and Kaʻōpulupulu and the Oʻahu King turned a deaf ear to his kahuna's advice and by the later part of 1782 or beginning of 1783, he arranged to have Kaʻōpulupulu killed.

Kahahana, who dispatched his best runners and trusted warriors to kill Kaʻōpulupulu and his son, Kahulupue … On the eve of the expected arrival of the messengers of death, Kaʻōpulupulu warned his son of their doom, saying: “I see in the sudden rise of dust that death will be here anon.”…Hardly had he given utterance to those words, when father and son were dragged out and speared.

Weakened, Kaʻōpulupulu commanded his wounded son, who had gained a point where a few steps would have placed him at the mercy of the angry sea: “E nui ke aho e kuʻu keiki a pa ke kino I ka ili kai a na ke kai ka ua ʻāina la” – Spend not your strength my son until your body strikes the surface of the ocean, for the land belongs to the sea.” This cryptic message culminated in the invasion of Oʻahu by Kahekili, aliʻi nui of Maui.  (Nui; Cultural Surveys)

Back to the sites of Kāpaeloa, Keahuohāpuʻu is believed to be either a koʻa (although fishing koʻa are characterized with coral, this one does not have coral in its construction) or a kūʻula associated with the fish (or shark) god Kāneʻaukai.  (The hāpuʻu is a kind of grouper fish.)

Kaʻahakiʻi was a “tongue-shaped stones, with only the tip protruding above the ground.”  It could still be seen in 1930s; when road construction occurred here, the workers worked abound the stone.

Another stone “in the vicinity” was blasted by railroad builders “apparently causing the death of three workmen.” A local Hawaiian referred to this stone as a kupua, “which he defined as a stone belonging to a particular region”.  (McAllister; Cultural Surveys)

During the Māhele in 1848, nearly the entire ahupua‘a of Kawailoa was awarded to Victoria Kamāmalu (LCA 7713.)  During the second half of the nineteenth century, following the death of Kamāmalu in 1866, Kawailoa Ahupuaʻa was passed on to successive members of the aliʻi (chiefs) eventually to Bishop Estate.

Today, Kūpopolo Heiau is used as an outdoor classroom for archaeological field training for the North Shore Field School (a cooperative effort of Kamehameha Schools and UH.)  Students and community volunteers learn how to identify, document and investigate archaeological artifacts, features and other cultural landscapes.  (Lots of information here from Cultural Surveys)

The image shows a Google Earth image of the area and the location of some of the sites at Kāpaeloa.  In addition, I have added some other images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

Follow Peter T Young on Facebook  

Follow Peter T Young on Google+  

Follow Peter T Young on LinkedIn   

© 2014 Hoʻokuleana LLC

Friday, November 21, 2014

James Campbell Building

A story in the July 26, 1916 Honolulu Star-bulletin had more impact than a simple subject of road widening, “The Hotel street widening project took on new life when Supervisor Charles N Arnold, chairman of the roads committee, requested that it be referred to his committee.”

“We have a new project, or rather we have dug up an old one, and want to carry it through," he said. "We intend to straighten Hotel street, not only on the Ewa side of Fort street, but also on the Waikiki side.”

“A piece about eight feet deep of the property occupied by the Mott-Smith building will be condemned as well as the 12 foot piece of the Campbell building.  The cost will be distributed among the benefited property owners up and down Hotel street and along Fort street.”  (Honolulu Star-bulletin, July 26, 1916.)

In 1917, buildings housing Hollister & Company, wholesale and retail druggist, tobacconist, and photographic retailer and Benson, Smith & Company, seller of drugs, medicines, and chemicals were demolished to make way for the new James Campbell Building on the makai-ewa corner of Fort and Hotel Streets.  (honolulu-gov)

Then on September 28, 1917, the Honolulu Star-bulletin reported, “On the corner of Hotel and Fort streets, the new Campbell Estate building will soon be under construction.  The workmen are still excavating, and some of the foundation work has been started, but it will be several months before definite results begin to show.”

“The walls of the Hollister Drug company’s buildings are down and the scaffolding that the workmen have erected is practically all that remains of the front of the old building.   When complete: the new Hollister building will be three stories high, with a grey-white exterior, similar in appearance to the new Ehlers' building.”

It’s not clear if World War I delayed construction, but the building helped with the war effort.  The Hawaiian Gazette on May 14, 1918 noted the Campbell building served as the War Savings and Thrift Stamp committee’s demonstration for its “dig it up in our dug out” campaign.

“The new headquarters are a replica of a dug out on the western front, copied from a photograph of General Leonard Wood's conference with Genera) Mandolon of the French army on one of General Wood's visits to the front.”

“The dug out occupies the corner of the unfinished Campbell Building. It is revetted with sand bags and camouflaged with green boughs but the committee hopes that, in spike of the camouflage, the people of Honolulu will find its range, and the heavier the bombardment, the better.”

“The dug out is the work of Jay Elmont, whose window displays in behalf of the Red Cross at Ehlers, Lewers and Cooke, and the Red Cross Drive headquarters have drawn much attention during the last week.”  It was set up to encourage savings and buying War Savings Stamps and Baby Bonds.  (Hawaiian Gazette, May 14, 1918)

By the next year, merchants in the new Campbell Building were advertising for customers to visit them in the new building.

This building is not to be confused with the “Campbell Block” (which was also on Fort Street, but closer to the Harbor between Queen and Merchant Streets.)

The lower town Campbell Block building started out as Mr. William French’s (the “merchant prince”) Honolulu premises extending from Kaʻahumanu to Fort Street.  It was surrounded by a high picket fence with some hau trees standing just within the line of the fence.

The building was quite a sizable one of wood, with a high basement and large trading rooms above. Mr. French was one of the oldest residents and a person of considerable influence.  (Maly)

The property was sold to James Austin, who sold it in 1882 to James Campbell, who owned the adjacent land on the Diamond Head side (fronting Fort Street.)  He built the “Campbell Block,” a large building that included uses such as storage, shops and offices.

Merchant Street was once the main street of the financial and governmental functions in the city, and was Honolulu's earliest commercial center.  Dating from 1854, the remaining historic buildings along this road help tell the story of the growth and development of Honolulu's professional and business community.

A great deal of the economic and political history of Hawaiʻi was created and written by the previous occupants of these buildings. Ranging from banks to bars and post office to newspapers, they have paid silent witness to the creation of present day Hawaiʻi.  (NPS)

Today, we still see these remnants of the past in lower downtown:  Melchers (1854,) the oldest commercial building in Honolulu; Kamehameha V Post Office (1871;) Bishop Bank (1878,) now known as the Harriet Bouslog Building; The Friend Building (1887 and 1900,) the site of the Oʻahu Bethel Church established in 1837; Royal Saloon (1890,) now Murphy’s; TR Foster Building (1891,) forerunner to Hawaiian Airlines;  Bishop Estate Building (1896;) Stangenwald Building (1901,) the tallest structure in Hawaiʻi until 1950; Judd Building (1898;) Yokohama Specie Bank (1909) and Honolulu Police Station (1931,) one of the earliest police forces in the world, dating to 1834.

The Campbell Block survived a fire, but on October 11, 1964, the Sunday Star-Bulletin and Advertiser noted, “Office-Parking Building Planned by Campbell Estate on Fort Street.”

Plans called for a combined office and parking structure to replace the 2-story Campbell Block on Fort and Merchants Streets; this new building was considered an important part of the redevelopment of downtown Honolulu.  (Adamson)   The new building was completed in May 1967.

Back to upper downtown and the “Campbell Building.”  Today, the Campbell building (the same building is still there, however with a slightly different look) is home to Fisher Hawaiʻi (for its downtown facility.)

The image shows the James Campbell Building  I added a couple of other images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

Follow Peter T Young on Facebook  

Follow Peter T Young on Google+  

Follow Peter T Young on LinkedIn   

© 2014 Hoʻokuleana LLC

Thursday, November 20, 2014


David Malo gives us the following lesson on Maika, or Ulu Maika.

When people wanted the excitement of betting they hunted up the men who were powerful in rolling the maika stone, and every man made his bet on the one whom he thought to be the strongest player.

The experts also studied the physique of the players, as well as the signs and omens, after which the betting went too ruinous lengths.

Now the maika was a stone which was fashioned after the shape of a wheel, thick at the centre and narrow at the circumference - a biconvex disc. It was also called an ulu, this thing with which the game of maika was played.

The ulu-maika (by which name the stone disc, or the game itself was called) was made from many varieties of stone, and they were accordingly designed after the variety of stone from which they were made.

The game of maika was played on a road-way, or kahua, made especially for the purpose. When all had made their bets the maika-players came to the maika-course.

The ulu which the first man hurled was said to be his kumu, mua, ie, his first basis or pledge; in the same way the ulu which the second player hurled, or bowled, was called his kumu.

If the second player outdid the first player's shot he scored.  If they both went the same distance it was a dead heat.  But if the second player did not succeed in out-doing the first man's play the score was given to the first player.

(It is not clear whether sometimes the play was not to drive the ulu between two stakes set up at a distance, whether the ulu-maika of the first player was removed from the course as soon as it came to a standstill, by what means the point reached by the ulu was marked, if it was removed from the course in order to clear the track for the next player.)

(There was no doubt a great diversity of practice as to these points on the different islands, and even in the different parts of the same island.)  (Malo)

Ellis also notes that at times, “the only contention is, who can bowl it farthest along the tahua, or floor.”   However, he also notes the use of stakes in ‘maita’ or ‘uru maita.’

Two sticks are stuck in the ground only a few inches apart, at a distance of thirty or forty yards, and between these, but without striking either, the parties at play strive to throw their stone.

The uru, which they use instead of a dart, is a circular stone, admirably adapted for rolling, being of compact lava, or a white alluvial rock, (found principally in the island of Oʻahu,) about three or four inches in diameter, an inch in thickness around the edge, but thicker in the centre.”  (Ellis, 1831)

Alexander confirms the two approaches to the game, “A favorite amusement, the maika, consisted in bowling a circular, highly-polished stone disk called an ulu, three or four inches in diameter and an inch or more thick, swelling with a slight convexity from the edges to the center.”

“A kahua or level track about three feet wide and half a mile in length was made smooth and hard. In this track two short sticks were fixed in the ground only a few inches apart, at a distance of thirty or forty yards.”

“The game consisted in either sending the stone between these sticks, or in seeing which party could bowl it farthest. It is said that one of their best players would bowl the stone upwards of a hundred rods.”

Jarves simply notes Maika is “a species of bowling, in which a circular stone, highly polished, with flat sides is used.”  McGregor notes the ‘ulu maika or stone bowling disc date to the Developmental Period (600 to 1100.)

Fornander notes, “we found at the bottom two Maika stones of extraordinary size, which were said to be the particular Ulu which Pāʻao brought with him from foreign lands, and with which he amused himself when playing the favourite game of Maika.”

“These stones were as large as the crown of a common-sized hat, two inches thick at the edges and a little thicker in the middle. They were of a white, fine-grained, hard stone, that may or may not be of Hawaiian quarrying: I am not geologist enough to say.”

“I have seen many Maika stones from ancient times, of from two to three inches diameter, of a whitish straw colour, but never seen or heard of any approaching these of Pāʻao in size or whiteness. Though they are called the Maika stones of Pāʻao – ‘Na Ulu a Pāʻao’ - yet their enormous size would apparently forbid their employment for that purpose.”  (Fornander)

“One of the finest ‘Ulu-maika’ places on the islands was the one belonging to Kou (what is now downtown Honolulu.) This was a hard, smooth track about twelve feet wide extending from the corner on Merchant and Fort Streets now occupied by the Bank of Hawaii along the sea ward side of Merchant Street to the place beyond Nuʻuanu Avenue known as the old iron works at Ula-ko-heo.”

“It was used by the highest chiefs for rolling the stone disc known as "the maika stone." Kamehameha I is recorded as having used this maika track.”  (Westervelt)

The image shows an ulu maika (NationalMuseumAustralia.)  In addition, I have added some other images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

Follow Peter T Young on Facebook  

Follow Peter T Young on Google+  

Follow Peter T Young on LinkedIn   

© 2014 Hoʻokuleana LLC

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Pālolo Hill

“And they gathered their friends together and journeyed up into the hill country, and when they did not return others followed, saying unto them - 'Why, therefore, do ye choose to dwell in the hill country?'“

“And they answered, 'For it is here we obtain the freedom of the air, with all its freshness and purity; it is here we get strength for the mind and body, and it is here we enjoy the breath of life.'“  (Evening Bulletin, October 21, 1911)

So went the marketing for the Pālolo Hill development - the Homeland of Health - above Kaimuki.

The announcement of the project a year before carried the same positive enthusiasm, “Pālolo Hill may not only be destined to blossom as the rose, but it will be dotted with a thousand homes, the place of residence of delighted sojourners who seek the many incomparable advantages offered by climatic conditions only to be found in the Paradise of the Pacific, but Honolulu in particular.”

“The Kaimuki Land Company has completed all arrangements for setting a large force of men at work in the grading of fifty foot streets and plotting some twelve hundred lots in this sightly tract of land located at the terminus of the Hotel street and Waiʻalae car-line.”

“Pālolo Hill, commanding a magnificent view of the Pacific Ocean, the frowning slopes of Diamond Head, and the bald prominence of Koko Head, will be transformed into a place of much activity before the close of the old year.”

“The plans as outlined by the land company are elaborate in the extreme. The first of the week will find teams and graders at work on the roads. ... (The central) avenue will serve as a feeder for the curved and winding highways that weave their way in and around the brow of this eminence.”

“It is claimed, that there is not a lot in the entire twelve hundred that is of lower elevation than three hundred feet. The highest elevation recorded in the tract is eleven hundred feet. A visit to the tract, where grading operations have already begun, would show that there is no portion of the district that has an unobstructed marine view. (Evening Bulletin, December 9, 1910)

Some background ... William Lunalilo ended up with most of the area known as Kaimuki through the Great Māhele (1848.)  Lunalilo was born on January 31, 1835 to High Chiefess Miriam ‘Auhea Kekauluohi (Kuhina Nui, or Premier of the Hawaiian Kingdom and niece of Kamehameha I) and High Chief Charles Kanaʻina.

When Kamehameha V died on December 11, 1872 he had not named a successor to the throne.   The Islands' first election to determine who would be King was held - Lunalilo defeated Prince David Kalākaua (the Legislature met, as required by law, in the Courthouse to cast their official ballots of election of the next King.  Lunalilo received all thirty-seven votes.)

Lunalilo was the first of the large landholding aliʻi to create a charitable trust for the benefit of his people.  He was to reign for one year and twenty-five days, succumbing to pulmonary tuberculosis on February 3, 1874.

His estate included large landholdings on the five major islands, consisting of 33-ahupuaʻa, nine ʻili and more than a dozen home lots. His will, written in 1871, established a perpetual trust under the administration of three trustees to be appointed by the justices of the Hawaiian Supreme Court.

His will instructed his trustees to build a home to accommodate the poor, destitute and infirm people of Hawaiian (aboriginal) blood or extraction, with preference given to older people. The will instructed the Trustees to sell all of the estate’s land to build and maintain the home.    (Supreme Court Records)

In 1884, the Kaimuki land was auctioned off. The rocky terrain held little value to its new owner, Dr. Trousseau, who was a “physician to the court of King Kalākaua”.  Trousseau ended up giving his land to Senator Paul Isenberg.  Theodore Lansing and AV Gear later bought the Kaimuki land (in 1898.) (Lee)

Gear, Lansing & Co, one of Honolulu's first real estate firms, envisioned Kaimuki becoming a high-class residential area, but was stymied by buyers' lack of interest.

Later Charlie Stanton, FE Steere and Frank E Thompson formed the Kaimuki Land Company and took over the Kaimuki tracts. Eventually, they turned it over to Waterhouse Trust Company who sold the land for eight cents a square foot and nine cents for corner lots. (Takasaki)

(There appear to be some interchangeable names of the development  entity: Kaimuki Land Company, Pālolo Land Company and Pālolo Land and Improvement Co.)

The Pālolo Land Company is an organization composed of several gentlemen who own upper Pālolo Valley and the scenic portion of Pālolo Hill it overlooks Kaimuki, and from Upper Pālolo Hill half of Oʻahu Island may be seen. Splendid roads have recently been constructed.  (Mid-Pacific Magazine)

Not familiar with the Pālolo Hill subdivision name?

It’s not clear if any official name change took place, but we now typically refer to this area as “Wilhelmina Rise” and Maunalani Heights.  (Some incorrectly say it was developed by Matson in the 1930s; the above notes it was built 20-years before and by local real estate developers.)

However, “The streets are ... named after the steamers that make regular calls at the port of Honolulu.  Wilhelmina Rise is a broad and absolutely straight thoroughfare extending for a mile and a half up the slope of Pālolo Hill.”  (Evening Bulletin, December 9, 1910)

Up Pālolo Hill (Wilhelmina Rise,) you'll find Lurline, Matsonia, Maunalani, Mana, Sierra, Wilhelmina, and Claudine, Matson liners and freighters.

The image shows a drawing of the new Pālolo Hill development (Mid-Pacific Magazine, 1912.)    In addition, I have included more related images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

Follow Peter T Young on Facebook 

Follow Peter T Young on Google+ 

Follow Peter T Young on LinkedIn   

© 2014 Hoʻokuleana LLC

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The lighthouse is reached, no drop! the outer buoy, no stop!

This is a story about Joseph Lawrence Van Tassell.  But before we get to Van Tassell, let’s look at a predecessor and his attempts at the first successful aeronautical event in Hawaiʻi.  At the time, the technology was hot air balloons.

Emil L Melville had advertised a balloon show where he would hang from a trapeze in his 86-foot balloon.  For Melville, third time was the charm.

The headline on the first attempt tells the story, “An Immense Audience - No Ascension.”  It goes on to note, “The crowd continued to surge into the (Kapiʻolani) Park until about the time set for the ascension when there were from 3,000 to 4,000 persons within the enclosure and perhaps 2,000 more in the surrounding grounds.”

“Promptly at the advertised hour 2 o’clock (March 2, 1889) Prof Melville arose from a nap with which he was refreshing himself in a room near the grand stand and dressed himself in a gay suit of tights.”  (Hawaiian Gazette, March 5, 1889)

“What the process is actually remains a professional secret … the canvas in a few moments began to flutter and fill then bulge out into something like rotund shape. … Matters were in this struggling stage at 5:45 o’clock … a wreath of smoke curling up from the upper slope of the cloth … Another burst … Many of the helpers ran off panic-stricken … The next scene was a grand and speedy dispersion (of the crowd.”)   (Hawaiian Gazette, March 5, 1889)

A week later, the paper noted, “’There could not have been a better day,’ (March 11, 1889) was the universal remark, suggested by the very slight stir in the air and such motion as there was being off the sea. The balloon filled up beautifully - was in fact every moment looking more like an article of that name until it had about three fourths of its capacity-charged with concentrated caloric and smoke.”

“The furnace roars once and again and next thing the aeronaut thunders out ‘All let go!’ … and away the monster creeps laterally … off she goes and then up, only the spectators in the inner rings observing the gallant Professor Melville dragging headforemost to the trapeze - he had no time to fasten on the parachute.”

“Up through the wicked spikes of the young algeroba (kiawe) thicket the aeronaut was dragged … Now the balloon is fast sinking with the man’s weight. It disappears behind the bush and almost immediately soars majestically aloft but there is no man dangling from the trapeze.”  (Hawaiian Gazette, March 12, 1889)

Finally, on April 6, 1889, “ … Prof Emil Melville with the assistance of sailors from HBMS Cormorant was inflating his balloon, the one used in the two previous attempts to fly skyward.  About half-past 2 o’clock … the balloon was up.  Sure enough there it was sailing gracefully over the town at an elevation of two or three thousand feet.”

“… a little steady gazing was rewarded by the vision of a streak of red the aeronauts athletic costume … going through movements on the bar which made the balloon sag and sway at intervals.”

“At a point nearly over Palace Square the balloon was noticed to be descending which caused the rush of hundreds to the water front to see the finish of the aerial voyage.  … The aeronaut let go when near the surface of the water dropping in about four or five feet depth on the reef inside the breakers off Kakaʻako. His balloon in a few seconds took the water having careened on its side under a gust of wind.”  (Hawaiian Gazette, April 9, 1889)

Joseph Lawrence Van Tassell was another balloonist who came to Hawaiʻi.

Some credit him with the first flight in the islands, but it is clear from the above, that Melville made it on his third try (although unceremoniously with a dunking in the water.)

Like Melville, Van Tassell staged a flight from Kapiʻolani Park, collecting admission fees from spectators.  On November 2, 1889, “The attendance at Kapiʻolani Park … was not so large as it ought to have been. About five hundred persons were in the enclosure, but there was a much larger number outside. Many people witnessed the ascension from the top of Punchbowl and other commanding positions”.

“… It progressed so rapidly and in such a thorough manner that at four o’clock ‘let go’ was heard and the balloon ascended gracefully into the air. (At the appropriate time,) “the aeronaut partly opened the parachute and a few seconds later parted from the balloon, coming down in a very graceful manner”.  (Daily Bulletin, November 4, 1889)

What’s it like?  “We go up in a balloon which holds 75,000 cubic feet of gas and lifts 2,800 pounds. … The parachute is fastened to the side of the balloon with a rope. … Underneath the parachute is an ordinary trapeze. When we get ready to jump, we swing out of the balloon throwing one leg out of the trapeze under the parachute.”

“Then we cut it loose at the same instant pulling a cord that collapses the balloon. We fall the first two hundred feet with terrible rapidity and then comes the most dangerous part of the jump, next to landing, for in falling the two hundred feet the parachute opens and it brings up with a jerk that almost hurls you off the bar.”  (Hawaiian Gazette, November 26, 1889)

Then, a fateful event.

Van Tassell promised a special show to honor King Kalākaua on his 53rd birthday; he had no trouble selling tickets.  He promised to ascend from the crater Punchbowl then parachute to a landing in the palace grounds.  (hawaii-gov)

“The inflation commenced about 2 o’clock and the big bag was quickly filled. … At 2:19 pm the aeronaut declared himself ready and with a pleasant wave of the hand to a few friends he straddled the iron bar of the parachute and grasping the ropes gave the order ‘let go’ and started on his ride”.

“The point of starting was so well sheltered from the brisk trade wind that was blowing that the balloon had an excellent opportunity to rise upward which it did to a height estimated at between five and six thousand feet. “

“The balloon now caught the force of the trade wind and commenced to set slowly towards the south-west, passing over the Palace at which point it had been arranged by the aeronaut he would cut loose and begin his descent.”

“Slowly the balloon passed to a wind directly over the corner of Richard and King streets where it was discernable, now at 2:22 o’clock after being up three minutes, that Professor Joe had at last cut loose.”

“The parachute however instead of coming, as was hoped, directly earthwards seemed on the contrary to have been caught by the trade wind and lifted upward, and also drifted rapidly towards the sea.”

“And now commenced a race between the balloon and parachute to seaward, the parachute with its living freight for the first few minutes appearing to be equal in height with the balloon.”

“The lighthouse is reached, no drop! the outer buoy, no stop! On goes the parachute, on goes the balloon. Now appears the danger, there is no provision for assistance, the parachute is now two miles from shore and still receding. At last he drops …”

“From 3 o'clock until 5:30 search, diligent and careful was made, the sail-boats cruising in different courses, Minister Thurston in the "Hawaii" going well in shore and the tug making circles that covered all probable points.”

“No trace of man or parachute could be found ….”  (The balloon was later recovered,) “Prof. Joseph Lawrence Van Tassell had made his last leap, had jumped into eternity and had added his name to the list of those daring spirits of his profession who had joined the great majority.”  (Hawaiian Gazette, November 19, 1889)

On November 18, 1889, Van Tassell became Hawaiʻi’s first air fatality.  The image shows an advertisement for the November 2, 1889 ascent and jump from a balloon.

Follow Peter T Young on Facebook  

Follow Peter T Young on Google+ 

Follow Peter T Young on LinkedIn   

© 2014 Hoʻokuleana LLC