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.

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