Saturday, May 31, 2014

Haiku Plantation

On May 31, 1858, H Holdsworth, Richard Armstrong, Amos Cooke, G Robertson, MB Beckwith and FS Lyman (shareholders in Castle & Cooke) met to consider the initiation of a sugar plantation at Haiku on Maui.

Shortly after (November 20, 1858,) the Privy Council authorized the Minister of the Interior to grant a charter of incorporation to them for the Haiku Sugar Company.

At the time, there were only ten sugar companies in the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi. Five of these sugar companies were on the island of Maui, but only two were in operation. The five were: East Maui Plantation at Kaluanui, Brewer Plantation at Haliimaile, LL Torbert and Captain James Makee's plantation at ʻUlupalakua, Hāna and Haiku Plantation.

The mill, on the east bank of Maliko Gulch, was completed in 1861; 600-acres of cane the company had under cultivation yielded 260 tons of sugar and 32,015 gallons of molasses. Over the years the company procured new equipment for the mill.

Using the leading edge technology of the time, the Haiku Sugar Mill was, reportedly, the first sugarcane mill in Hawaiʻi that used a steam engine to grind the cane.

Their cane was completely at the mercy of the weather and rainfall; yield fluctuated considerably. For example it went from 970-tons in 1876 to 171-tons in 1877.

(In 1853, the government of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i had set aside much of the ahupua‘a of Hāmākuapoko to the Board of Education. The Board of Education deeded the Hāmākuapoko acreage which was unencumbered by native claims to the Trustees of Oʻahu College (Punahou) in 1860, who then sold the land to the Haiku Sugar Company (Cultural Surveys))

In 1871 Samuel T Alexander became manager of the mill. Alexander and later his partner, Henry Perrine Baldwin, saw the need for a reliable source of water, and started construction of the Hāmākua ditch in 1876.

With the completion of the ditch, the majority of Haiku Plantation's crops were grown on the west side of Maliko gulch. As a result in 1879 Haiku mill was abandoned and its operations were transferred to Hāmākuapoko where a new factory was erected, which had more convenient access to the new sugar fields.

Other ditches were later added to the system, with five ditches at different levels used to convey the water to the cane fields on the isthmus of Maui. In order of elevation they are Haiku, Lowrie, Old Hāmākua, New Hāmākua, and Kailuanui ditches.

The “Old” Hāmākua Ditch was the forerunner to the East Maui Irrigation System.   This privately financed, constructed and managed irrigation system was one of the largest in the United States. It eventually included 50 miles of tunnels; 24 miles of open ditches, inverted siphons and flumes; and approximately 400 intakes and 8 reservoirs.

Although two missionaries (Richard Armstrong and Amos Cooke) established the Haiku Sugar Company in 1858, its commercial success was due to a second-generation missionary descendant, Henry Perrine Baldwin. In 1877, Baldwin constructed a sugar mill on the west side of Maliko Gulch, named the Hāmākuapoko Mill.

By 1880, the Haiku Sugar Company was milling and bagging raw sugar at Hāmākuapoko for shipment out of Kuau Landing. The Kuau Landing was abandoned in favor of the newly-completed Kahului Railroad line in 1881, with all regional sugar sent then by rail to the port of Kahului.

By 1884, the partnership of Samuel T Alexander and Henry P Baldwin bought the controlling interest in the Haiku Sugar Company.  (Dorrance)

Baldwin moved from Lāhainā to Hāmākuapoko, he first lived in Sunnyside, in the area of upper Pāʻia, and then moved further “upcountry,” building a family estate at Maluhia, in the area of Olinda.

The largest landowner of the upper Pāʻia region was the Haiku Sugar Company. By 1897, the Haiku Sugar Company and the Pāʻia Plantation had become business partners of Alexander & Baldwin, Ltd. Their company stores offered goods to the population of the plantation towns from Hāmākuapoko to Huelo.  (Cultural Surveys)

Brothers Henry Perrine and David Dwight Baldwin laid the foundation for the company in the late 1800s through the acquisition of land.  Experimentation with hala kahiki (pineapple) began in 1890, when the first fruit was planted in Haʻiku.

In 1903 the Baldwin brothers formed Haiku Fruit & Packing Company, launching the pineapple industry on Maui.  Maui’s first pineapple cannery began operations by 1904, with the construction of a can-making plant and a cannery in Haiku.

1,400 cases of pineapple were packed during the initial run. In time, the independent farmers for miles around brought their fruit there to be processed.

Haiku Plantation remained in operation until 1905 when it merged with Pāʻia Plantation, to form Maui Agricultural Company. In 1948, Maui Agricultural Company merged with HC&S (Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar Company.)

Remnants of the initial Haiku Mill remain on the east bank of Maliko Gulch.  It is partially restored and used in conjunction with various events (engagements, vow renewals, concerts, corporate events and other celebrations.)

The mill operated for eighteen years, from 1861-1879, and then was abandoned. The original structure was 50' in front by 160' deep. The front portion measured 50' x 50' and rose two stories in height, while the remainder of the structure had ten foot high walls enclosing an excavated interior, with a wooden floor (no longer intact) running the length on either side.

Seventy-five to eighty percent of the walls remain intact, although no roof, or traces of it, remain. The walls are made of basalt stone, with door and window openings framed in cut basalt brick and block, and vary in height from ten feet on the sides to thirty-five feet for the rear wall, and have a thickness of three to four feet.  (Lots of information here from NPS, Cultural Surveys and Haiku Mill.)

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

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Friday, May 30, 2014

Jean François de Galaup, comte de LaPérouse

“… the island of Mowhee (Maui) looked delightful …. We could see waterfalls tumbling down the mountainside into the sea …  the trees crowning the mountains, the greenery, the banana trees we could see around the houses, all this gave rise to a feeling of inexpressible delight.”

“… the waves were breaking wildly against the rocks and, like new Tantaluses, we were reduced to yearning, devouring with our eyes what was beyond our reach.”  (The first sight of Maui, as described by LaPérouse, May 30, 1786)

What LaPérouse saw, sailing down the coast from Hāna, and where he eventually landed, was known to the ancients as Keoneʻōʻio (“bonefish sand.”)

In this area, permanent Hawaiian occupation was based on use of marine resources and dryland crops (primarily ʻuala (sweet potato)) in mauka areas. Fish and other marine resources were important staples – as the name suggests, ʻōʻio (bonefish) were once abundant.  (DLNR)

In 1786, La Perouse noted as many as five villages in the area, each with 10 to 12 thatched houses. Those living at the shore focused primarily on fishing and had comparatively easy access to potable water at shoreline springs. The residents traveled between the uplands and the coast to trade products.

By the mid-1840s land use in Honuaʻula transitioned from primarily traditional subsistence to agricultural business activities.  An estimated 150-people were living at Keoneʻōʻio in 1853.  (DLNR)

The Bay is now more commonly called LaPérouse Bay, named after the first foreign visitor to the island of Maui.

Jean François de Galaup, comte de LaPérouse was born August 22, 1741, the eldest son of a well-to-do middle-class family of landowners from Albi in Southern France (Lapérouse was the name of a family property that he added to his name.)  (Dunmore)

After an early education at the Jesuit College in Albi, at the age of 15, he joined the French Navy.  Almost immediately, he was engaged in the struggle between France and England in Canada and was taken prisoner by the British at the disastrous naval battle of Quiberon Bay; he spent two-years in captivity.

Repatriated from England, he was posted again to sea duties; for five years he was engaged in defense of the French possessions in the Indian Ocean – again, in the rivalry between France and England.

Then, the American Revolutionary War began (1775–1783.)  In 1778, the French, through Treaty of Alliance, entered on the side of the Americans and provided military support to the Colonies.

As part of this support, in 1782, LaPérouse was given a commission to destroy British installations in the Hudson Bay compounds in Canada.  He captured three ships and conquered the forts.  However, in doing so, as a sign of his benevolent intentions, he did not destroy their food supply (providing the means for the conquered British to survive the Canadian winter.)

After the signing of the Treaty of Versailles (ending the American Revolutionary War for the foreign allies,) France’s King Louis XVI supported a French expedition around the world.  Interested in geography, and eagerly following the voyages of Captain Cook, he decided to send an exhibition on a voyage of discovery that would rival the achievements of Cook.  (LaPerouse Museum)

LaPérouse left the French port of Brest in August 1785 and headed south.  In the next 2 ½-years, his ships L’Astrolabe and La Boussole would sail many thousands of miles and cross the Indian, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans several times.

Two of the King’s personal instruction read as follows:
“On all occasions, Sieur de LaPérouse will act with great gentleness and humanity towards the different peoples whom he will visit during the course of the voyage.”

“His majesty will consider it as one of the happiest events of the expedition if it should end without costing the life of a single man.”

LaPerouse’s journal while at Maui notes he honored the first instruction: “Although the French are the first to have stepped onto the island of Mowee (Maui) in recent times, I did not take possession of it in the King’s name.”

“This European practice is too utterly ridiculous, and philosophers must reflect with some sadness that, because one has muskets and canons, one looks upon 60,000 inhabitants as worth northing, ignoring their rights over a land where for centuries their ancestors have been buried, which they have watered with their sweat, and whose fruits they pick to bring them as offerings to the so-called new landlords.”

“Modern navigators have no other purpose when they describe the customs of newly discovered people than to complete the story of mankind. Their navigation must round off our knowledge of the globe, and the enlightenment which they try to spread has no other aim than to increase the happiness of the islanders they meet”.  (LaPérouse)

LaPérouse stayed at Maui for only two days. He then sailed westward passing between Kahoʻolawe and Lānaʻi and into the channel between Molokaʻi and Oʻahu.

The places the expedition visited between 1785 and 1788 included Alaska, California, Hawaiʻi, Korea, Japan, Russia, Tahiti, Samoa and finally the east coast of Australia.

Unfortunately, the King Louis XVI’s second instruction was not met.

The last official sighting of the LaPérouse expedition was in March 1788 when British lookouts stationed at the South Head of Port Jackson saw the expedition sail from Botany Bay. The expedition was wrecked on the reefs of Vanikoro in the Solomon Islands during a cyclone sometime during April or May 1788.

A monument to LaPérouse stands at Keoneʻōʻio that reads:
On May 30th, 1786
French Admiral Jean-Francois Galaup Comte De LaPérouse,
Commanding The Two Frigates La Boussole And L'astrolabe,
Was The First Known European Navigator To Land
At Keoneʻoʻio Also Called LaPérouse Bay On The Island Of Maui.
Donated By The Friends Of LaPérouse On May 30th 1994

Other memorials in other parts of the Pacific also honor LaPérouse; in addition, there are many places named for LaPérouse, including LaPérouse Bay, Maui, and two other LaPérouse Bays in Canada and the Easter Islands - and, even a crater on the moon.

The area near Keoneʻōʻio is now the ʻAhihi-Kinaʻu Natural Area Reserve, the first designated Natural Area Reserve in Hawaiʻi in 1973. The 1,238 acres contain marine ecosystems (807-submerged acres – the only NAR that includes the ocean,) anchialine ponds and lava fields from the last eruption of Haleakala 200-500-years ago.

The image shows L’Astrolabe and La Boussole at anchor at Maui, 1786.  In addition, I have included other related images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

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Thursday, May 29, 2014


Huli ae au e nana ia Waipuhia, ua moni ia kona mau huna wai e ka makani ; me he lauoho kalole la i luhe i ka makani, i kiaweawe makalii i ka lau o ke kawelu, ka puaki i ka pua o ka ahihi o Malailua. (Kamakau, Ka Nūpepa Kū‘oko‘a, July 13, 1865)

I turned and looked at Waipuhia; its fine droplets of water were being absorbed by the wind. Like straight hair drooping in the wind, it streamed finely down the leaves of the kawelu grass and gathered on the blossoms of the ‘āhihi of Malailua.  (Kamakau; Cultural Surveys)

A story is told in the legend of two children who lived on two hills, one in Nuʻuanu and one in Kalihi.

The boy would visit his playmate on the neighboring hill.

When the girl’s godmother, who was the mist of the valley, saw how happy this made the girl, she enveloped the boy in a mist so he could not leave and return home.

The boy’s parents thought that the boy was dead and went on with their lives.

However, the parents angered the “Lady of the Ferns” a goddess of Kalihi Pass, when they collected lehua, sacred to this goddess, for their lei and forgot to make an offering.

The goddess summoned a horrendous storm to strike the family on its hill.

The cries of his family woke the boy from his spell and he tried to return home, but the lady created a great wind that picked him up and killed him. When the boy did not return, the girl began to weep.

“… lo! Her tears were wafted into the air. They rose in a silvery mist, and to this day the maiden weeps and the mist of her tears rises to caress the spirit voice of her youthful love.”  (Raphaelson; Cultural Surveys)

Waipuhia (blown water,) near the mauka boundary of Nuʻuanu Valley, are more commonly called the “Upside Down Waterfalls.”

At normal times (with typical tradewinds,) the falls only appear after a rain, and the water from the falls never reaches the base of the cliff; it is “blown” up by the winds and “in midair, it suddenly changes its course and rises upward to a cloud of mist”.

The image shows Waipuhia (on a rain-free day,) above and behind the car (early-1900s.)  In addition, I have added other related images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Kula Hospital

“Man vs. Tuberculosis, the strange, uncanny fight two thousand years of age, is, in Hawaii, in favor of Man. The tremendous exertion, the patience, the attention to incalculable minutae that this mere suggestion indicates is hard to realize unless one is in the fight, but success is on the banners of the Anti-Tuberculosis League of Hawaii at last.”  (Pacific Commercial Advertiser, December 20, 1913)

Tuberculosis attacks the lungs and organs; in the second decade of the twentieth century it was the leading cause of death in Hawaiʻi, with 400 to 500 annual deaths.  (Nordyke)  (Even today, Hawai'i ranks No. 1 with the highest rate of tuberculosis (TB) in the United States.  (HealthTrends))

The campaign against tuberculosis was inaugurated in Hawaii in 1909 as a result of the interest of James A Rath and others at Pālama Settlement in Honolulu.  Stimulated by the Anti-Tuberculosis League of Hawaiʻi, interest steadily grew – the Territorial Government took over the program in 1920.

A number of years ago - though not so very many - when the present Governor Pinkham was president of the Board of health of Hawaii, it was found necessary to survey the ravages of tuberculosis, a disease which to that time had received little attention. A commission was appointed. In an unofficial way it investigated and made a report. The report was alarming.  (MacKaye, Thrum’s Annual 1917)

Tuberculosis was a graver danger than was believed, although since then it has been shown that even that estimate was short of the mark. Mr. Pinkham referred the report to the various counties and urged them to do something to remedy the situation.  There was no answer from Honolulu until several years later, from Kauai not until the present day, and from Hawaii not at all, so far as county government went. (MacKaye, Thrum’s Annual 1917)

But the Maui county supervisors had more vision. There was land available on the slopes of mighty Haleakala and some money that could be spent. The territorial government lent a little bit more. A doctor was employed, a nurse secured. The beginnings of the Kula Sanitarium were made at Waiakoa, on the side of the "House of the Sun," an appropriate site, for medical science has yet to find a substitute for the sun and fair winds in its combat with consumption. (MacKaye, Thrum’s Annual 1917)

“The sanitarium is located at Keokea, Kula, Maui, at an elevation of some 3,000 feet, and is most singularly fortunate in being so situated that the regular trade winds coming between the Island of Lānaʻi and Molokini have a clear ocean sweep of thousands of miles, and reach this elevated area crisp and heavily laden with pure, unused oxygen.”

“It is free from dust, since it does not pass over one acre of cultivated land, and the view, which adds much to the cheer and content of the patients, is simply magnificent.” (McConkey, Report of the Maui County Farm and Sanitarium to the Board of Health, 1911)

The Kula Sanatorium began as a vision of Dr Wilbur Fiske Boggs McConkey, who was a practicing physician treating tuberculosis patients in the Keokea district. During his long drive across the rough roads of Kula in 1909, Dr. McConkey remarked on Kula's suitable climate for tuberculosis patients and began his quest to start a tuberculosis facility.  (NPS)

This first attempt at a sanitarium was a modest endeavor, a little shack protected with canvas, alone in the midst of a rather desolate countryside.  (MacKaye, Thrum’s Annual 1917)

“Two tent houses were built, with canvas sides, wooden floors, and corrugated iron roofing.  A cook-house of rough one by twelve inch lumber was thrown together; this had no floor but had a corrugated iron roof and was luxuriously fitted with an open lean-to and a rough board table, which served as the sanitarium dining-room. Canvas cots were used in the sleeping quarters; the lights were humble barn lanterns. The cook, a Korean, was a patient himself. Six patients from the plantations were accommodated, who took care of themselves.”  (Long)

The first patients were admitted into the then-named Maui County Farm and Sanitarium on September 14, 1910.   The June 1911 Official Patient Report reported 12-patients; over the years, the ethnicity of the patients reflected the Islands’ growing diversity, Americans, Australians, Hawaiians, Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Filipinos, Porto Ricans, Portuguese and Norwegian.

“We do not encourage the admission of patients suffering from diseases or injuries of a non-tubercular nature, but owing, in the main, to the difficulty which is met with in arranging for the means of transportation of such patients down the mountain to a general hospital, as well as the emergency cases which have been present from time to time, we have found it necessary to admit and care for these in order to avoid what would have caused hardship and extra suffering.” (Report of the Maui County Farm and Sanitarium to the Board of Health, 1913)

“Early in its history Mr. V. Woodburn Herron, a man with some hospital training, took charge as steward, nurse and non-medical superintendent. The sanitarium was a county institution with Dr McConkey regularly constituted physician. This regime lasted some months, when a change of administration brought Mr WE Foster up from Paia to act as superintendent. His wife, a trained nurse, accompanied him. Mr. Foster's untimely demise - he was himself a victim of the disease - ended this arrangement, but not before he had lighted the way for future progress.”  (Long)

With public funds and by private subscription, the Sanitarium staff and its Board of Supervisors built and equipped a plant for the treatment of tuberculosis very favorably comparable to anything on the mainland.  A favorite method of fund-raising/facility building was the contribution of a cottage for an individual by the latter's friends. After the patient has passed through the treatment the cottage became the property of the Sanitarium.  (Long)

In 1926, children were admitted into the Preventorium.  The overall facility was expanded into the Charles William Dickey-designed Kula Sanatorium (one of the largest designed by Dickey in his career,) with the first patients moving in on May 27, 1937.

The facility was designed to accommodate 166-patients in wards and 16-patients in private rooms and had facilities on the porches to accommodate 59-more patients in an emergency.  The primary consideration in treatment was rest, “rest to the body, mind, and lungs.”

The layout of the gardens at Kula Sanatorium was a combination of formal plantings and careful use of indigenous plantings. They were designed by the first registered landscape architect in Hawaii, Catherine Jones Thompson and her husband, Robert O Thompson.

In the 1950s when drugs were developed to control tuberculosis, Kula Sanatorium changed its focus to serving long-term care patients.  In 1960, psychiatric patients were admitted on an experimental basis.

In 1975, tuberculosis services were discontinued and on April 9, 1976, the complex was renamed Kula Hospital.  The Kula Hospital & Clinic is a five story Moderne style hospital ("traditionalism and modernism" popular from 1925 through the 1940s) that serves as a general hospital and clinic to residents within the Kula area.

The complex has acute care beds, 24-hour emergency room and outpatient clinic with lab and x-ray services.  Kula Hospital continues to provide long-term care for its residents.

The image shows an early image of facilities at Lula Sanitarium.  In addition, I have added related images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

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Monday, May 26, 2014

A Grateful Nation Pays Tribute - Freedom Is Not Free

The story of America’s quest for freedom is inscribed on her history in the blood of her patriots. (Randy Vader)

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.  (John F. Kennedy)

On thy grave the rain shall fall from the eyes of a mighty nation! (Thomas William Parsons)

Let us not forget.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Provincias Unidas del Río de la Plata (United Provinces of the River Plate)

Starting May 25, 1810, it is called the War of Independence Argentina (known as Provincias Unidas del Río de la Plata (United Provinces of the River Plate)) through a number of battles and military campaigns that took place in the framework of the Spanish American wars of independence in several countries in South America.

There are three main military fronts: the eastern front or the coast (Paraguay, the Banda Oriental, the Mesopotamia Argentina and the naval battles in the Rio de la Plata and its tributaries;) the northern front (upper Peru and the Municipality of Salta del Tucumán;) and the front of the Andes (Chile, Peru and Ecuador.)

There were also conflicts at sea.  Corsairs, sometimes called ‘pirates,’ would harass Spanish merchant ships wherever they found them.  From 1815 and 1816 corsair action caused great damage to the trade Spanish.

The war lasted fifteen years and ended in victory for the separatists, who managed to consolidate the independence of Argentina and collaborated in other South American countries.

On July 9, 1816, the independence of the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata was declared (which included modern-day Argentina, Uruguay and part of Bolivia) in a meeting of congress in Tucumán. Independence was put into effect in 1817, when General San Martín's troops won definitive victory over the Spanish army.

Viceroyalties continued to exist in Paraguay and in Upper Peru, causing constant confrontations between royalists (loyalists to the Spanish King) and revolutionaries.

OK, so where does Hawaiʻi fit into this story?

One Argentine corsair was Hipólito (Hypolite) Bouchard (1783–1843,) born in St. Tropéz, France, who by 1811 was sailing for the revolutionaries of the La Plata River region of Argentina. He was granted Argentine citizenship in 1813.

In 1817, Bouchard took his vessel, La Argentina, on a two-year trip, the first circumnavigation of the globe by a ship under the Argentine flag, and which included raids against ships and territories of the Spanish Empire.

One trip took him to Hawaiʻi.

On August 17, 1818, Bouchard arrived on ‘La Argentina’ at Kealakekua Bay.  He found the Argentine corvette ‘Chacabuco’ (‘Santa Rosa’) in the Bay and learned that the crew of the Santa Rosa had mutinied near Chile's coast and headed to Hawaiʻi, where the crew had attempted to sell the vessel to the Hawaiian king.

King Kamehameha bought the ship (for “6000 piculs of sandal-wood and a number of casks of rum.”) Bouchard found things to trade (reportedly Bouchard gave Kamehameha the honorary title of colonel together with his own uniform, hat and saber (nava-org)) and he took charge of the Santa Rosa, which he had to partially rebuild.

During negotiations with King Kamehameha, he also signed and Kamehameha placed his mark on an agreement.

In part, the agreement set to “consign to Senor Don Eduardo Butler, resident of the Sandwich Islands, the offices of agent of my nation with full authority in national matters, political affairs, national commerce and in mailers of the Cabinets”.

It also noted, “… when ships from the United Provinces of the Rio de la Plata arrive in that dominion that this gentleman (Butler) have authority, in company with Your Majesty Kamehameha, over all matters pertaining to the Government of the United Provinces of the Rio de la Plata … I beg Your Majesty to recognize Senor Don Eduardo as agent of the Government of the United Provinces”.

Reportedly, in the memoirs of Captain José María Piris Montevideo (member of the expedition) Bouchard asserts that Kamehameha signed a Treaty of Commerce, Peace and Friendship with Hipólito Bouchard, which recognized the independence of the United Provinces of Rio de la Plata.  (Some suggest this was that document.)

Under this claim, Hawaiʻi was the first country to recognize Argentina as an independent state, followed by Portugal in 1821 and then in 1822, Brazil and the United States of America in 1822.

The ‘Argentina’ (captained by Bouchard) and ‘Santa Rosa’ (captained by Peter Corney) left Hawaiʻi and headed to California.  They first visited California’s Fort Ross, a Russian settlement north of Monterey, to obtain needed supplies.

On November 20, 1818, the watchman of Punta de Pinos, located in a tip of Monterey Bay, sighted the two Argentine ships. The governor was informed; the Spanish prepared the cannons along the coastline, the garrison manned their battle stations, and the women, children, and men unfit to fight were sent to Soledad.  (MilitaryMuseum)

Before dawn, November 24, Bouchard ordered his men to board the boats. They were 200 of them: 130 had rifles and 70 had spears. They landed and the fort resisted ineffectively; after an hour of combat the Argentine flag flew over it.

He moved on; on December 14, 1818 Bouchard brought the La Argentina and the Santa Rosa to within sight of Mission San Juan Capistrano and sent some of his crew ashore with a demand for provisions.

There he requested food and ammunition; a Spanish officer said "he had enough gunpowder and cannonballs for me". Threats annoyed Bouchard; he sent one hundred men to take the town. After a short fight the corsairs took some valuables and burned the Spanish houses.

The Argentines held the city for six days, during which time they stole the cattle and burned the fort, the artillery headquarters, the governor's residence and the Spanish houses. The creole population was unharmed.

On April 3, 1819 Hipollyte de Bouchard's long expedition ended. He went to Valparaíso, in Chile in order to collaborate with José de San Martín's campaign to liberate Perú.

While Bouchard was authorized to seize the Santa Rosa, the reference of the ‘treaty’ and recognition of Argentina as an independent state were made by others. Bouchard does not make that claim and he apparently did not have the authority to do so, anyway.

In Argentina, Bouchard is honored as a patriot and several places are named after him (among these a major avenue in Buenos Aires.)  In addition, in recognition of the reported ‘treaty’ and recognition of Argentina as an independent state by the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi, there is a street in Buenos Aires, Argentina named Hawai (a bit misspelled, but the point was made.)

(Lots of information here from Alexander (Hawaiian Historical Society) and Military Museum; the inspiration for it came from Catherine Black.  A special thanks to the Hawaiʻi State Archives for allowing me to see and photograph the agreement between Bouchard and Kamehameha.)

The image shows the September 11, 1818 agreement signed by Bouchard and acknowledged with a mark by Kamehameha.  In addition, I have added some other images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

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Saturday, May 24, 2014


Nathaniel Portlock was born in Norfolk, Virginia in about 1748.  At about the age of 24, he entered the Royal Navy as an able seaman on the St Albans.

On March 30, 1776, he served as master’s mate on Captain James Cook's third Pacific voyage aboard the Discovery (Cook’s last voyage, Cook was killed in Kealakekua Bay on February 14, 1779.) Portlock was transferred to the Resolution, also on the expedition, in August 1779.

In 1785, a group of London merchants formed the "King George's Sound Co" (also known as Richard Cadman Etches and Company,) for the purpose of carrying on the fur trade from the western coast of America to China, bringing home cargoes of tea from Canton for the East India Company.  They bought two boats; Portlock and George Dixon were selected to sail them.

That year, the two traveled to the North Pacific. Portlock commanded the 1785-1788 expedition from the ship King George, while Dixon captained the Queen Charlotte. The purpose of the expedition was to investigate the potential of the Alaskan fur trade and to resume Cook’s search for a Northwest Passage through the continent.

The pair left England on August 29, 1785, and took nearly a year to reach Alaska, rounding Cape Horn and touching at Hawaiʻi on the way.  During the course of their 3-year expedition, they made three trips to Hawaiʻi, first arriving off the coast of Kaʻū, May 24, 1786.

(At about the same time, La Perouse, with the two frigates, La Boussole and L'Astrolabe, touched at Honuaʻula, East Maui, May 28, 1786.)

While in the Islands, Portlock named Oʻahu’s prominent landmark "Point Rose" (Lēʻahi (Diamond Head)) in honor of the secretary of the British treasury.

A favorite anchorage on Oʻahu for Portlock was at Maunalua Bay, between Koko Point and Diamond Head (which Portlock named King George's Bay.)

Maunalua was thought to be well-populated in ancient times. Maunalua was known for its offshore fishing resources, a large fishpond, and sweet potato cultivation. Taro was farmed in wet areas, sweet potato was grown in the drier regions and a series of fishing villages lined the coast.  (McElroy)

In June 1786, Portlock remained four days, buying fresh water by the calabash full, at the rate of a sixpenny nail for a two-gallon calabash full, and in this way obtained over thirty tons of water. Kahekili, the King, who was then residing at Waikiki, sent Portlock and Dixon presents, but did not come on board.  (Thrum)

While anchored in Maunalua Bay, Portlock reported:
"Soon after our arrival, several canoes came off and brought a few cocoa-nuts and plantains, some sugar cane and sweet root; in return for which we gave them small pieces of iron and a few trinkets."

"The old man (a kahuna) informed me, that his (Kahekili's) residence was in a bay around the West point (Black Point), and importuned me very much to carry ships there, as that place, he said, afforded many fine hogs and vegetables.”

“Indeed, I had some reason to think that the inhabitants on that part of the island were more numerous than in King George's Bay (Maunalua Bay), as I observed most of the double canoes came round the West Point ..."

"I determined to keep my present situation, it being in many respects an eligible one; for we hitherto had been favored with a most refreshing sea breeze, which blows over the low land and vallies being in a high state of cultivation, and crowded with plantations of taro, sweet potatoes, sugar cane, &c., interspersed with a great number of cocoa-nut trees, which renders the prospect truly delightful."

Finally, Portlock and Dixon headed separately for Macao (near Canton, People’s Republic of China,) traded their furs and both ships sailed for England with cargoes of tea belonging to the East India Company.

About this time, September 17, 1788, the first American ships made their appearance in Nootka Sound (Columbia.) Fitted out in Boston in August 1787, for several years they were engaged in the fur trade between the Northwest Coast and China, touching at the Hawaiian Islands to replenish their stocks and water.

Returning to service in the navy, Portlock was appointed to command the brig Assistant, in which he accompanied Captain William Bligh in 1791 on his second attempt to transport bread-fruit plants from Tahiti to the West Indies.  (Bligh’s first attempt to gather breadfruit trees from Tahiti and take them to Jamaica ended in mutiny (April 28, 1789) on the Bounty.)

When they returned, Portlock was promoted commander.  On September 28, 1799, he was advanced to captain, but does not appear to have had further employment at sea, perhaps owing to ill health. He died on September 12, 1817 in Greenwich Hospital.

In 1936, when landowner Bishop Estate planned a subdivision on its property at Maunalua Bay, estate Trustee Alfred Francis Judd named the subdivision after Portlock (who 150-years before, had anchored just off-shore.) (Clark)

The image shows surfing at Portlock, Maunalua Bay (in the early days.)  In addition, I have added others similar images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

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Friday, May 23, 2014

Judd Trail

Road making as practiced in Hawaiʻi in the middle of the 19th-century was a very superficial operation, in most places consisting of little more than clearing a right of way, doing a little rough grading and supplying bridges of a sort where they could not be dispensed with.    (Kuykendall)

The absence of roads in some places and the bad condition of those that did exist were common causes of complaints which found expression in the newspapers. But in spite of the complaints, it is clear that in the 1860s the kingdom had more roads and on the whole better ones than it had twenty or even ten years earlier.  (Kuykendall)

At its May 23, 1849 meeting, the Privy Council of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi (a private committee of the King's closest advisors to give confidential advice on affairs of state) sought to “facilitate communication between Kailua, the seat of the local government, and Hilo, the principal port.”

They resolved "that GP Judd and Kinimaka proceed to Kailua, Hawaiʻi, to explore a route from that place to Hilo direct, and make a road, if practicable, by employing the prisoners on that island and if necessary taking the prisoners from this island (Oʻahu) to assist; the government to bear all expenses". (Privy Council Minutes, Punawaiola)

(In 1828, Dr Gerrit Parmele Judd came with the Third Company of missionaries to Hawaiʻi.  A medical missionary, Judd had originally come to the islands to serve as the missionary physician; by 1842, he left the mission and served in the Hawaiian government.)

(He first served as "translator and recorder," then member of the "treasury board," then secretary of state for foreign affairs, minister of the interior and minister of finance (the latter he held until 1853, when by resignation, he terminated his service with the government.))

In planning the road, the words of the Privy Council’s resolution were taken literally, and the route selected ran to the high saddle between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa on a practically straight line between the terminal points.

What became known as the “Judd Road” (or “Judd Trail”) was constructed between 1849 and 1859; construction began at the government road in Kailua (what is now known as Aliʻi Drive) and traversed through a general corridor between Hualālai and Mauna Loa.  (Remnants of perimeter walls can still be seen at Aliʻi Drive.)

“This was the road that Dr. Judd ... would have built from Kona in a straight line across the island of Hawaii. It was meant, of course, as a road for horsemen and pack animals. In the generation of Dr. Judd it was a great work, and the manner of its building showed that he meant it to be a monument to him for all time.”  (Ford, Mid-Pacific, 1912)

When the road had been built about 12-miles from Kailua into the saddle between Hualālai and Mauna Loa, the project was abandoned - a pāhoehoe lava flow from the 11,000 foot-level of Mauna Loa crossed its path.

Though incomplete (it never reached its final destination in Hilo,) people did use the Judd Road to get into Kona’s mauka countryside.

“Up the long slope of Hualālai we ascended to Kaʻalapuali, following the old Judd trail through fields of green cane, through grass lands, through primeval forests, over fallen monarchs, finally out on that semi-arid upland which lies between Hualālai and Mauna Loa.  Here we turned up the slope of Hualālai, climbing through a forest cover of ʻōhiʻa lehua and sandalwood carpeted with golden-eyed daisies - another picture of Hawaii, never to be forgotten.”

“And then the summit with its eight or more great craters and that strange, so-called bottomless pit, Hualālai, after which the mountain is named, and the battle of the Kona and trade wind clouds over the labyrinthean volcanic pits, gray-white spectres of vapor—all these linger in retrospection as we cast our mind's eye back to that experience of one year ago.”

“Here on this weird summit, where the sun played hide and seek with the tumultuous clouds, the ʻiʻiwi, ʻelepaio, and ʻamakihi birds flitted and twittered from puʻu kiawe to mamani. Down the long southeast slope, beneath the white vapors, beautifully symmetrical cones arose from slopes, tree-clad and mottled by shifting clouds and sun.”

“Farther up the Judd trail, we came to that unique "Plain of Numbering", where King ʻUmi built his heiau over four centuries ago and called his people together from all the Island of Hawaii. There is a romantic glamor hanging around those heaps of rocks which numbered the people who gathered at Ahua ʻUmi that will remain as a fond memory throughout eternity.”  (Thrum, 1924)

(ʻUmi took a census at about 1500; for this census, each inhabitant of the Island of Hawaiʻi was instructed to come to a place called the "Plain of Numbering" to put a rock on the pile representing his own district. The result, still visible today, was a three-dimensional graphic portrayal of population size and distribution.   (Schmitt))

“It is a wonderful setting up there on that arid plateau with Hualālai to the left and Mauna Loa rising majestically and deceptively to the right, with lofty Mauna Kea, snow-patched and beckoning from the distance before us. There is something sublimely massive, rugged, uplifting about that arid, wild region of the "plain of numbering-' hidden away from the ordinary walks of men, off to the right and near the end of the old Judd trail.”  (Thrum, 1924)

This road was not the only attempt of linking East and West Hawaiʻi.  About 100-years after the Privy Council’s resolution to connect East with West, the US military completed the link by building a vehicular access route to its Pōhakuloa Training Area during World War II.

Like earlier roads in Hawaiʻi it was not originally designed to State highway standards.  Surfacing and nominal repairs over the subsequent decades left a roadway that island rental car companies banned its customers from use.

Today, route 200, known locally as Saddle Road, traverses the width of the Island of Hawaiʻi, from downtown Hilo to its junction with Hawaii Route 190 near Waimea.  It "represent(s) both literally and symbolically ... the physical bridging together of East and West Hawaii and the bridging of the bonds between people."  (SCR 43, 2013)

Saddle Road is the shortest and most direct route across the island of Hawai‘i, linking the historical main population centers of the island in East Hawai‘i with the growing West side, where the economy is anchored by tourism.

With realignment of portions and reconstruction starting in 2004, in 2013, the Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation (DOT) opened the last improved segment and renamed the 41-mile upgraded length of Hawaiʻi Saddle Road the Daniel K Inouye Highway (the renaming occurred on Inouye's birthday, September 7 (Inouye died December 17, 2012.))

The image shows Judd Road (L-to-R: GP Wilder, Leilehua Judd Eldridge, Nora Swanzy Bennett, Julie Judd Swanzy, Haunani Judd Farley.) (Mission Houses)  In addition, I have added other related images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Blaisdell Hotel

In 1877, Captain James Makee obtained a concession from King Kalākaua to build a sugar mill at Kapaʻa and establish a plantation there.  He was the first manager of the Plantation, and had agreed with Kalākaua to grind in his mill all the cane the King and his Hui Kawaihau had in nearby fields.

Upon Makee's death in 1878, his son-in-law, Col. ZS Spalding took over management of the both plantations - Keālia and Kapaʻa - and renamed the operation Makee Sugar Company.  The Kapaʻa mill was closed in 1884, and all processing was done in Keālia.

In 1933, the Līhuʻe Plantation Co. purchased all of the remaining/outstanding Makee Sugar Co stock and in the next year the Keālia mill was dismantled and combined with the Līhuʻe factory.  There were several subsequent managers at Makee Sugar Co; one of them was William Wallace Blaisdell.

William (Wm) Wallace Blaisdell, (August 2, 1856 - December 14, 1904) married Cora Ammie Shaw (January 1857-1920) and had 4 children.  (One of their sons, William Wallace Blaisdell II, served as fire chief of Honolulu.  His son, Wm & Cora's grandson, Neal Shaw Blaisdell (November 6, 1902 – November 5, 1975,) later became Mayor of the City & County of Honolulu (serving from 1955 to 1969.))

The elder Blaisdell was a "native of Honolulu and spent most of his boyhood and young manhood in the employ of Captain Makee. Later he became an employee and manager of Captain Spalding's Keālia plantation on Kauai."

"About ten years ago Mr. Blaisdell left the sugar business and for the last four or five years had been in the insurance line. ... Those who did not know him by name will recall him as the inseparable companion of Mr. Colburn, the Princes and of others connected with the Kapiʻolani estate."  (Hawaiian Gazette, December 20, 1904)  (John Francis Colburn (1859-1920) was Minister of the Interior for Queen Liliʻuokalani.)

Wm lived on Young street, near Piʻikoi.  He died in 1904.  It was after that that we start to see references to his widow, Cora.  Several notations note she was the proprietress of the Majestic Hotel in 'uptown."

"The Majestic Hotel is at the corner of Fort and Beretania Streets. Fort Street cars pass by. It accommodates 125 guests. No meals are served. $1 per day upward; $2.50 to $7 per week; $10 to $25 per month."  (Aloha Guide)

"The Majestic is the down-town home hotel, in the very heart and business center of the city, at the corner of Fort and Beretania streets. A splendid solid stone structure, with cool, spacious rooms. All cars pass the doors. Rooms, $1.00 per day, $10.00 per month up. A place for those who wish to dine at the restaurants. Mrs. Cora A. Blaisdell, phone 2744."  (Mid-Pacific Magazine)

We next see expansion of her operations with a new property.  "Mrs. Blaisdell, proprietress of the Majestic Hotel, was a passenger to San Francisco by the S. S. Sierra today. She goes to purchase furnishings and supplies for the new hotel to be built by her on the vacant lot on Fort Street opposite the Convent."  (The Hawaiian Star, May 1, 1912)

The Blaisdell Hotel was designed by Emory and Webb, the noted architectural firm formed in 1909 with the association of Walter L Emory ("the practical building man") and Marshall H Webb ("in charge of the designing;") they were prolific and sought after designers.

In addition to the Blaisdell Hotel, they designed the Hawaiʻi Theater, Union Trust Co., Central Union Church, Love’s Bakery, the Palama Theater, the remodeled Liberty House, Castle Hall dormitory at Punahou, Advertiser building, Cooke Art Gallery at Punahou, Elizabeth Waterhouse Memorial Tank (pool) at Punahou, James Campbell building and numerous other buildings connected with Oahu College, the Kamehameha Schools and public institutions.

Upon opening for business, the hotel boasts, “Honolulu’s Newest and Most Modern Hotel, Absolutely fire resisting, 64 rooms, 27 baths, millinery shop, grocery store, barbershop, manicure and hairdressing parlors, hatter, tailor. Telephone in every room.” (Honolulu Star-Bulletin, February 22, 1913)

"The Blaisdell Hotel, a three story, newly completed house, is presided over by Mrs. Blaisdell, a former and well known Kauai woman, being the widow of the late William W Blaisdell, formerly head luna of the Kealia (Makee) Sugar Plantation."

"The Blaisdell is situated on Fort Street, opposite the convent and in the very heart of the business district of the city and this, in addition to the popularity of the proprietress, makes it one of the most popular houses in the city. A big interisland trade is also a feature of the new house, owing to the wide acquaintance of the proprietress."  (The Garden Island, April 29, 1913)

Modern to its last degree, equipped with every convenience for the comfort of its guests, and, centrally located the Blaisdell hotel represents the last word in Honolulu hostelries, for with all its up-to-date advantages, it is built to suit the climate.  Occupying a new concrete building in the very heart of Honolulu, any section of the city may be reached by stepping from its palm hedged lobby to the street cars which pass its door. (Honolulu Star-Bulletin, November 28, 1914)

Operated on the European plan, it is situated within a block of a half dozen of the best restaurants and cafes in the city, several of which supply service to the rooms when desired. The theaters, post office and the principal stores of the city are close at hand. (Honolulu Star-Bulletin, November 28, 1914)

Naturally in a tropical country the bathing facilities are a prime consideration with visitors, and as regards this feature the Blaisdell hotel is without a rival. There has been no stinting as to the number of bath rooms of their equipment. Guests may have private baths, may share with an adjoining room, or may take advantage of the general baths of which there are three on each floor, two for men and one for women. (Honolulu Star-Bulletin, November 28, 1914)

Access to the hotel office and the various floors is given by an electric elevator, in operation until midnight.  At the office arrangements may be made for tours of the island and visits to points of interest, and cable or wireless messages for dispatch to the mainland will be received at the desk. (Honolulu Star-Bulletin, November 28, 1914)

Later (1914,) the hotel was leased to and operated by J Francis Child; he opened Child's restaurant within the facility in connection with hotel in 1920.

Improvements were made that included a modern hotel lobby on the main floor; the office of the hotel, on the second floor, was moved downstairs and the rooms now used as an office were converted into sleeping rooms.  (Honolulu Star-Bulletin, February 17, 1915)

Reportedly, in April 1933, following the end of Prohibition the Blaisdell Hotel was the first establishment in Hawaii to obtain a liquor license. The bar became one of the highlights of Honolulu’s nightlife.  (HawaiiBusiness)

Later, a later hospitality icon (and no apparent relation to the earlier operator,) Walter Dudley Child, Sr (who first worked in the agriculture industry with the Hawaiʻi Sugar Planters Association (HSPA,) left HSPA and entered the hotel industry, purchasing the lease on the Blaisdell Hotel in downtown Honolulu in 1938  along with his business partner, Dr Donald Burlingame.

With his start in hospitality with the Blaisdell, Child became a director of InterIsland Resorts, Ltd which grew out of the Inter-Island Steam Navigation Company. InterIsland Resorts began to grow into a chain, with the Naniloa, the Kona Inn and the Kaua‘i Inn. In those early days of Hawai‘i tourism, InterIsland Resorts became a pioneer in selling accommodations on the neighbor islands and later expanded with the Surf Resorts. (UH-TIM)

(While the Blaisdell did not have the first elevator in Hawaiʻi (the first were installed in the early 1880s, one was in the Beaver Block, a two-story structure at Fort and Queen Streets, completed in 1882,) it has the last of the manually operated elevators (the “Birdcage” Elevator,) here - the operator cranks a handle back and forth on its semi-circular path, making the elevator move up or down.)  (HawaiiBusiness)

Today, in addition to independent shops and offices, the Blaisdell (1154 Fort Street) is part of the Honolulu Downtown campus of Hawaiʻi Pacific University (which in 1968 moved to Fort Street.)  Here they house the Sea Warrior Center, 1st Floor; Athletics Training Room, 2nd Floor; Faculty Offices, Suite 204; Kalamalama (Student Newspaper), Suite 314; and Mail Processing and Distribution Center, Suite 319.

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

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

West Loch Tragedy

Despite its moniker, "Large Slow Target," the ‘Landing Ship, Tank’ (LST) was an important naval vessel created during World War II to support amphibious operations by carrying significant quantities of vehicles, cargo and landing troops directly onto an unimproved shore.

An LST, 382-feet long and 50-feet wide, carried a crew of 8-10 officers and 115 enlisted men; in addition, there were berths for over 200-troops and a capacity to carry a 2,100-ton load of tanks, trucks, jeeps and weapon carriers and associated munitions and supplies.

1,051 LSTs were constructed and used in the war effort; they were used in the Atlantic and the Pacific.  Only 26 were lost in WWII due to enemy action.

However, in Hawaiʻi, a once secret and often-forgotten tragedy struck at Pearl Harbor, in 1944.

At the time, the Allied forces were preparing for two assaults – one was in the Atlantic (D-Day, June 6, 1944 - nearly 200,000-Allied troops on 7,000-ships and more than 3,000-aircraft headed toward Normandy, France.)

The other was in the Pacific (Saipan, June 15, 1944 - more than 300-landing vehicles put 8,000-Marines on the west coast of Saipan; eleven support ships covered the Marine landings.)

In preparation for the Saipan assault, in late-May, crews were loading ships at the US Pacific Fleet base at West Loch, Pearl Harbor.  (Pearl Harbor is divided into a series of lochs that fan out from Ford Island that sits in the center of harbor. West Loch was the staging area for the invasion fleets of the Pacific.)

29-LSTs, plus a variety of other amphibious vessels that would support the initial landings and follow-on operations, were tightly clustered while their hulls and decks were being filled with ammunition, supplies and other material.

That list of items included munitions of all calibers and types, propellants, aviation gasoline, vehicle fuel and a variety of other volatile cargoes.

Nested beam-to-beam at piers off of Hanaloa and Intrepid Points opposite Lualualei (now known as Naval Magazine Pearl Harbor) were six compact rows of LSTs and other craft moored at "Tare" piers jutting into the adjoining waters of West Loch and Walker Bay.

At 1508 (3:08 pm) May 21, 1944, Lualualei's tranquility was shattered by a deafening explosion which thundered across most of Oʻahu. Without warning, an enormous mushroom of orange black fire encapsulated LST-353 at Tare 8, obliterating it and most of the seven other ships from view as the giant fireball burst into the cloudless sky.  (Oliver)

The explosions continued, damaging more than 20 buildings shoreside at the West Loch facility. For 24-hours fires raged aboard the stricken ships.  (NPS)

Had the Japanese struck again - another sneak attack on Pearl Harbor? ... No one knew.

Then the ground shook to a second blast. Earthquake?  Volcano?  Aerial bombs?  Alarms rang as another shattering blast of even greater magnitude jolted the air.  (Oliver)

Predictably, flaming gasoline and exploding ammunition soon began to take a frightful toll of the Soldiers, Sailors and Marines loading and manning the ships.  Fires and explosions drove back ships and craft engaged in firefighting efforts, each time those vessels re-entered the inferno to contain the fires and keep the disaster from spreading to the rest of the Fleet anchorage. (USNavalInstitute)

Several investigations sought to find the reason for such a disaster, but no conclusive evidence as how it occurred was decided upon.  Two major causes emerged as most likely: Either a fused mortar round was accidently dropped while unloading the LCT aboard LST-353, or the initial explosion was caused by gasoline vapors.  (Oliver)

The Navy put a “Top Secret” status on the tragedy.  Survivors and eyewitnesses to the calamity were warned under threat of prosecution not to make any mention of the disaster in letters or calls to family members. To the outside world the tragedy at West Loch simply never happened.  (Oliver)  (It was declassified in 1960.)

The total casualties were 392 dead; 163 sailors, the rest young Marines from the newly formed 2nd and 4th Marine Divisions, and 396 injured - eight ships were lost.

It was recommended that LSTs no longer be nested, so that disaster like that at West Loch could be avoided. Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz disagreed. He felt that facilities were too limited at Pearl and that the nesting was necessary. “It is a calculated risk that must be accepted.”  (NPS)

Despite the losses, the Saipan invasion force put to sea as scheduled on June 5, 1944, just as the largest invasion armada ever to sail was crossing the English Channel en route to the Normandy beaches.

On June 15, 1944, during the Pacific Campaign of World War II (1939-45,) Admiral Turner was in charge of the assault on Saipan.  At 05:42, his orders came – “Land the landing force.” In position, about 1,250 yards from the line of departure, 34-LSTs moved into line. Two huge doors on the bow of each ship opened and dropped their ramps into the water. (BattleOfSaipan)

US Marines (having earlier trained at Camp Tarawa, Waimea, Hawaiʻi Island and Camp Maui, Ha‘ikū, Maui) stormed the beaches of the strategically significant Japanese island of Saipan, with a goal of gaining a crucial air base from which the US could launch its new long-range B-29 bombers directly at Japan’s home islands.

Facing fierce Japanese resistance, Americans poured from their landing crafts to establish a beachhead, battling Japanese soldiers inland and forcing the Japanese army to retreat north. Fighting became especially brutal and prolonged around Mount Tapotchau, Saipan's highest peak, and Marines gave battle sites in the area names such as “Death Valley” and “Purple Heart Ridge.”  (history-com)

This was the first action of Operation Forager, the conquest of the Marianas, consisting of two Marine Divisions, a US Army Division, and the required force and support units from an amphibious armada of nearly 600-ships and craft.

When the US finally trapped the Japanese in the northern part of the island, Japanese soldiers launched a massive but futile banzai charge. On July 9, the US flag was raised in victory over Saipan.  (history-com)

The image shows USS LST-480 on fire in West Loch.  In addition, I have added some other images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Marine Dam

Marines and Sailors trained for what has been referred to as the toughest marine offensive of WWII. 1,300 miles northeast of Guadalcanal, the Japanese had constructed a centralized stronghold force in a 20-island group called Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands.

RADM Shibasaki, the Japanese commander there, proclaimed, “a million men cannot take Tarawa in a hundred years.”   Ultimately, the objective took 9,000 marines only four days (November 20 to November 23, 1943) - but not without a staggering 37% casualties.  US victories at Tarawa, New Guinea and the Solomon Islands marked a turning point in the war.

The Marines would reconstitute at Camp Tarawa at Waimea, on the Island of Hawaiʻi.  Originally an Army camp named Camp Waimea (when the population in town was about 400,) it became the largest Marine training facility in the Pacific following the battle of Tarawa.  

Pyramid tent cities and streets of long convoys of jeeps, trucks, half-tracks, tanks, artillery and amphibious ducks made up the formidable, but top secret, Camp Tarawa; over 50,000 servicemen trained there between 1942 and 1945.

A lasting legacy of the military presence in Waimea was an addition in the community’s drinking water system – “Marine Dam” – it’s still in use and is located above Waimea Town near the lower edge of the forest.

Marine Dam is a diversion dam in Waikoloa Stream at the 3,460-foot elevation, built during World War II by the US Engineering Department to supply water for the military encampment of several thousand Marines in Waimea.

Built in 1943, the 5-foot high dam captured stream water into a 12-inch lightweight steel clamp-on pipeline. In 1966, the steel pipeline was replaced by a more durable 18-inch ductile iron pipe.  A still basin and a cleanout were also added.

Today, the Marine Dam serves its original function and is a major source of drinking water for the South Kohala Water System, which provides drinking water as far east as Paʻauilo and west to the Waiemi subdivision on Kawaihae Road.

Hawai‘i County Department of Water Supply (DWS) relies on the streams of Kohala Mountain for its primary source of water.

The primary sources for the Waimea Water System are the mountain supplies from Waikoloa Stream and the Kohākōhau Stream diversion. The surface water sources are supplemented by the Parker Ranch groundwater well.  Surface water is treated at the Waimea Water Treatment Plant and blended with groundwater before distribution.

Raw water from the streams is stored in 4 reservoirs with a total capacity of over 150 million gallons (MG) and is treated in the DWS filtration plant. This system provides about 2-million gallons per day (mgd) (the system has a potential capacity of 4-mgd.)

There are three 50-million-gallon reservoirs in the Waimea system, although one of them is out of commission as a result of damage from the 2006 Kiholo Bay earthquake.  Two were initially damaged, but one has since been repaired.

The dam seems to also have helped native species; two Koloa ducks were observed on October 30, 1968 in a small pool of Waikoloa Stream approximately 400 yards above the Marine Dam, Kohala Watershed, and expressed the opinion that this was the "first sighting of wild Koloa on Hawaiʻi in more than 20 years”.

The work of the dam did not go unnoticed.  In 1997, the American Water Works Association designated the Marine Dam as an "American Water Landmark" (the only award for a neighbor island facility.)  Three other Water Landmark awards were issued to Kalihi Pump Station (1981,) Hālawa Shaft (1994) and the Beretania Pumping Station (1995.)

To receive a landmark status, the facility must be at least 50 years old and of significant value to the community.

DWS is permitted by the State’s Water Commission to take 1.427-mgd total from its diversions at the Marine Dam and Kohākōhau Dam, which is approximately 33% of the median daily discharge of Waikoloa and Kohākōhau streams combined.

The average or “mean” annual daily flow at Waikoloa stream is 9.12 cubic feet per second (cfs) (5.89 (mgd;)) however, this mean flow likely occurs only 20-30% of the time.

The median daily discharge for Waikoloa stream is 4.3 cfs (2.78 mgd.)  On a more typical day, streamflow is within the 70-75% range (meaning the percentage of time discharge equaled or exceeded this amount), or between 2.5-2.8 cfs (1.62-1.81 mgd.)  (MKSWCD)

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

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Monday, May 19, 2014

Historic Homes of Waikīkī

A Waikīkī historic home walking tour from the Historic Hawaiʻi Foundation is a self-guided itinerary, suitable for individual travelers, and focuses on sites of historic or cultural significance that are either open to the public or visible from the public way.

The Historic Homes in Waikīkī Walking Tour takes 45-minutes or more. The tour starts at the War Memorial Natatorium, then head towards Diamond Head to the Tahitienne apartment.

The traveler then weaves in between the Honolulu Tudor/ French Norman Cottages and other charming historic residential homes. At the end of the tour, the traveler will finish off with the Mediterranean inspired La Pietra School for girls.

1.  The War Memorial Natatorium is significant as a major social and recreational local landmark and for its association with the history of competitive swimming. The swimming complex was rendered in a Beaux-Arts style and was finished in the summer of 1927, the first "living" was memorial in the United States.

The property contains a 100 meter saltwater swimming pool, concrete bleachers that rises 13-levels high, and a main entryway that includes an elaborate sculpture and triumphal arch entablature. The memorial is dedicated to those from Hawai‘i who served in World War I.

2.  The Tahitienne is a nine-story apartment building rendered in a 1950 modern, utilitarian style. The Tahitienne was planned and built by California architects Bob Fraser and Paul Hammarbarg. Local Architect, Edwin L Bauer, helped design the layout and interiors of the apartments.

This building is associated with the commercial development of real estate in Hawaiʻi, and specifically with the co-operative apartments in Honolulu.  There are approximately 50 co-operative apartments which appeared during the 1950s and early 1960s in Honolulu, which remain functioning as a co-op.

3.  The Egholm Residence was built in 1926 in the Diamond Head Terraces subdivision.  It is significant as one of the few examples of small cottages in the Spanish Colonial Revival style popular in Hawai‘i in the 1920s and early 1930s. The hipped red clay tile roof, stucco exterior and arcaded entrance are characteristic features of this style.

The residence is the work of notable architect and builder Carl William Winstedt. The modest scale of this house is rare compared to the other palatial residences built in the Spanish Colonial Revival style during this time period in Hawai‘i.

4.  The Honolulu Tudor/French Norman Cottages Thematic Group are made up of fifteen different residences, built between 1923 and 1932. These homes display a high degree of craftsmanship and design detail and include the work of several local architects and builders, including: Earl Williams, Hart Wood, John Morley, Theo Davies & Co., and J Alvin Shadinger.

5.  The James JC Haynes Residence, built in 1926, is a two story, shingle sided house facing south. The house stands out as a well-constructed house, having been built by Lewers & Cooke, rendered in a distinctive colonial style distinguished by its high pitched, front facing gable roofs clad with cut shingles and closed eaves with 4" beaded tongue and groove soffits.

The house is also significant for its adaptation of this colonial revival form to Hawai‘i’s climate. Its easy access to the outdoors bespeaks a Hawai‘i architectural tradition for informal living.

6.  The CW Dickey Residence, built in 1926, is associated with the well-known local architect, Charles William Dickey, and the development of the Hawaiian style of architecture. This cottage, with its prominent double-pitched hipped roof, became the prototype for numerous modest cottages built in the Islands during the late 1920s and 1930s.

Through the use of graceful sloping roofs, overhanging eaves, extensive windows and screened openings, and lanai, Dickey said, “I believe I have achieved a distinctive Hawaiian type of architecture” (Honolulu Advertiser, March 14, 1926). The house appears intact and serves as a well-crafted, well-designed statement of Dickey’s development of an exclusive Hawaiian style of architecture.

7.  Doctor Frank and Kathryn Plum Residence was constructed by Rudolph Bukeley in 1929.  It is significant as an example of a Cotswold Cottage style residence constructed in Hawai‘i during the time period of the late 1920s and early 1930s.

It well reflects the style with its romantic asymmetric massing, and its use of such eclectic and picturesque elements as its skewed gable, front bay window, wrought iron mock-balconet in the round arched gable vent, canted walls with their wound arched doors, double pitched roof, and shed roof dormers.

8.  Built in 1923, Fred Harrison Rental Property is a one and a half story, shiplap sided, vernacular style house. It is a good example of a dwelling constructed as a middle class rental property.

Although a modest house, it presents a distinctive appearance to the street with the curved, sweeping roofline; prominent bay window; double gable ends on the west side; and a front doorway that does not face the street.

9.  The Adolph Egholm Kiele Avenue House is a single story, Spanish Mission Revival style cottage that was constructed in 1926. It features stucco walls and a red clay tile, hipped roof with overhanging eaves and exposed rafter tails.

The house sits on a lava rock basement and is distinguished by its centered, outset, flat roofed front porch with its round arched openings.  It is significant as a good exaple of a Spanish Mansion cottage built during the 1920s.

10.  The Mrs. Josephine Ketchum Residence is a Craftsman-style bungalow built in 1931.  It is significant for its architecture as an example of a Craftsman inspired house in Hawai‘i. The naturally-stained board and batten walls and use of heavy timbering are character-defining elements of the building's design.

In addition to these typical craftsman hallmarks, the house features the “Hawaiian” style, double-pitched hipped roof, which was very popular in the Islands during the late 1920s and early 1930s. This further accentuated the horizontal sense of the house, another typical Craftsman characteristic. The screened lanai and exterior bathroom door further fix its location near the beach, where a number of houses from this period featured such doors for use by beach goers.

11.  The Folk Residence, Tavares Residence and Coconut Avenue Residence were built by John Morley for the Pacific Trust Company and are part of the Honolulu (made up of fifteen different residences, built between 1923 and 1932.

These homes display a high degree of craftsmanship and design detail and include the work of several local architects and builders.)

12.  The Helene Morgan Residence is a single story, Hawaiian style duplex with a pair of double-pitched hipped roofs with overhanging eaves and exposed rafter tails.

Presently, the house is a single family dwelling, but originally it was two separate laid out units connected by a passage. The duplex sits on a raised, post and pier, foundation with lava rocks at the base.

13.  The Richard M Botley Residence was built in 1931.  It is significant for its architecture as a good example of a Spanish Mission Revival house built in Hawai‘i during the period 1920-1931.

It is characteristic of the style with its red tile roof and white masonry walls. The two-story, L-shaped house was designed by noted Honolulu architect Robert Miller.

14.  Constructed in 1929, Hibiscus Place is a two-family Mediterranean Revival style residence. The builder, Charles Ingvorsen and his wife, Mary M. Ingvorsen, came to the United States from Denmark. He developed a number of smaller homes in the Diamond Head Terrace subdivision, and retained this property high on the slopes of Diamond Head for his family.

Originally, the Hibiscus Place land consisted of approximately 17,739 square feet but, the property was subdivided in the 1950’s into three separate parcels. The current owner acquired and reassembled two of the three parcels of land into a single property that now consists of 12,495 square feet.

15.  La Pietra, which was constructed in 1921, is an extensive two-story Mediterranean Style building built to resemble an Italian Villa. Its two stories are arranged in a hollow square containing a central rectangular patio. The central patio is lined on all four sides with arcades supported by cut sandstone Doric columns.

La Pietra is significant as a representation of the kind of lifestyle enjoyed by the very wealthy in Hawaiʻi at that time as well as an example of Mediterranean architecture. The building was designed by prominent Chicago-based architect David Adler for Walter F Dillingham, a prominent Honolulu industrialist and businessman known as the Baron of Hawaiʻi Industry.

16.  Kapi‘olani Park was dedicated in 1877 and is a recreational open space of 160 acres. Kapi‘olani Park has an extensive and varied history. The park began as a private preserve that transitioned over the years into the present-day iconic public park. Kapi‘olani Park is historically significant for its past association with indigenous Hawaiian culture and royalty.

King Kalākaua envisioned the park as a place of recreation for all and named it after his famous Queen, Kapi‘olani. Long before the park was established, on Waikīkī/Kapiʻolani park area was the center of Hawaiian culture on Oʻahu. Agricultural cultivation, fishponds, coconut groves and indigenous settlements dotted the area.

17.  The Diamond Head Lighthouse is a 57 foot white concrete pyramidal tower with a red roof. It sits seemingly on the side of a sharp cliff when viewed from seaward, and at night the light can be seen up to 18 miles by the mariner.  It was first established in 1899 to guide mariners into the then budding port of Honolulu.

Constructed in the Monarchy period, the lighthouse and accompanying buildings have not changed since 1917. The lighthouse itself is of the classic lighthouse design - a thick white tower with a barn-red pointed roof.

Heritage Tourism Reminders
Please remember to be respectful and considerate towards the owners of the Historic Homes you are viewing.

  • Heed signs and respect the fact that each house is privately owned.
  • Please do not trespass.
  • Try not to loiter or display suspicious behavior around these houses.
  • Do not litter.

Metered parking is available along Kapiʻolani Park on Kalākaua Avenue, at Honolulu Zoo on Kapahulu Avenue.  (The Historic Homes of Waikīkī is a project of Historic Hawaiʻi Foundation (HHF;) the information and images here came from HHF.)

The image shows the location of the respective properties. (HHF) In addition, I have added other images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

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Sunday, May 18, 2014


“(S)everal islands were ruled by independent kings, who were frequently at war with each other, but more often with their own subjects. As one chief acquired sufficient strength, he disputed the title of the reigning prince. If successful, his chance of permanent power was quite as precarious as that of his predecessor. In some instances the title established by force of arms remained in the same family for several generations, disturbed, however, by frequent rebellions … war being a chief occupation …”  (Jarves)

At the period of Captain Cook’s arrival (1778-1779), the Hawaiian Islands were divided into four kingdoms: (1) the island of Hawaiʻi under the rule of Kalaniʻōpuʻu, who also had possession of the Hāna district of east Maui; (2) Maui (except the Hāna district,) Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi and Kahoʻolawe, ruled by Kahekili; (3) Oʻahu, under the rule of Kahahana; and (4) Kauaʻi and Niʻihau, Kamakahelei was ruler.

“At that time Kahekili was plotting for the downfall of Kahahana and the seizure of Oʻahu and Molokai, and the queen of Kauaʻi was disposed to assist him in these enterprises. The occupation of the Hāna district of Maui by the kings of Hawaiʻi had been the cause of many stubborn conflicts between the chivalry of the two islands.”  (Kalākaua)

Following Kalaniʻōpuʻu’s death in 1782, the Hawaiʻi Island kingship was inherited by his son Kīwalaʻō; Kamehameha (Kīwalaʻō's cousin) was given guardianship of the Hawaiian god of war, Kūkaʻilimoku.  Dissatisfied with subsequent redistricting of the lands by district chiefs, civil war ensued between Kīwalaʻō's forces and the various chiefs under the leadership of Kamehameha.

In the first major skirmish, in the battle of Mokuʻōhai (a fight between Kamehameha and Kiwalaʻo in July, 1782 at Keʻei, south of Kealakekua Bay on the Island of Hawaiʻi,) Kiwalaʻo was killed.  With the death of his cousin Kiwalaʻo, the victory made Kamehameha chief of the districts of Kona, Kohala and Hāmākua, while Keōua, the brother of Kiwalaʻo, held Kaʻū and Puna, and Keawemauhili declared himself independent of both in Hilo.  (Kalākaua)

Back on Maui, Kahekili prepared for an invasion against Oʻahu and Kahahana.  He landed at Waikīkī in the beginning of 1783.  Kahekili, dividing his forces in three columns, marched from Waikīkī by Pūowaina (Punchbowl,) Pauoa and Kapena to battle Kahahana and his forces.

Kahahana's army was routed, and he and his wife fled to the mountains.  For nearly two years or more they wandered over the mountains, secretly aided, fed and clothed by his supporters.  Kahekili's warriors finally found and killed Kahahana.

In 1790, Kamehameha moved to take Maui – heading first to Hāna.  Hearing this, Kahekili sent Kalanikūpule back to Maui with a number of chiefs (Kahekili remaining on O‘ahu to maintain order of his newly conquered kingdom.)

Helping Kamehameha were foreigners, John Young and Isaac Davis.  John Young, a boatswain on the British fur trading vessel, Eleanora, had been stranded on the Island of Hawai‘i in 1790.  Because of his knowledge of European warfare, Young is said to have trained Kamehameha and his men in the use of muskets and cannons.

Isaac Davis arrived in Hawaii in 1790 as the sole survivor of the massacre of the crew of The Fair American.  Davis also brought western military knowledge; Young and Davis fought alongside Kamehameha in his battles.

Kahekili’s brother, Kamehamehanui (uncle to Kamehameha I,) lost Hāna, which was isolated from the rest of Maui.  Kamehameha then landed at Kahului and marched on to Wailuku, where Kalanikūpule waited for him.

The ensuing battle was one of the hardest contested on Hawaiian record.  The battle started in Wailuku and then headed up ‘l̄ao Valley – the Maui defenders being continually driven farther up the valley.  Kamehameha's superiority in the number and use of the newly acquired weapons and canon (called Lopaka) from the ‘Fair American’ (used for the first time in battle, with the assistance from Young and Davis) finally won the decisive battle at ‘Īao Valley.

The Maui troops were completely annihilated, and it is said that the corpses of the slain were so many as to choke up the waters of the stream of ‘l̄ao - one of the names of the battle was "Kepaniwai" (the damming of the waters.)

Maui Island was conquered and its fighting force was destroyed - Kalanikūpule and some other chiefs escaped over the mountain at the back of the valley and made their way to Molokaʻi, then to O‘ahu.  With Kalanikūpule was Kalola, daughter of King Kekaulike, sister to Kahekili and aunt of Kalanikūpule.  Kalola was also grandmother to Keōpūolani.

Kamehameha followed Kalola to Molokai and made a “request that she (Kalola) should confide her daughters and granddaughter to his care and protection. To which Kalola is said to have replied, ‘When I am dead, my daughters and granddaughter shall be yours.’” (Fornander)

Kamehameha camped on Molokai until Kalola died.  This "capture" of the women by Kamehameha, a conquering chief taking the widow and female relatives of his defeated rival, was politically important.  Taking Keōpūolani as his new wife, Kamehameha returned to Hawaiʻi Island.

The abrupt departure of Kamehameha and his fleet from Molokai and his return to Hawaiʻi took a great weight off the mind of Kahekili, and plans of vengeance occupied his thoughts and brightened his vision in the immediate future. He was doubtless encouraged by Kāʻeokūlani, who by this time had obtained the supremacy of Kauaʻi, and who urged his brother to avenge the defeat of Kalanikūpule.  (Fornander)

Negotiations and preparations having been perfected between the Kauaʻi and Oʻahu sovereigns during the winter months of 1790-91, Kāʻeokūlani left Kauaʻi with a well-equipped fleet of war canoes, accompanied by a foreign gunner Mare Amara and arrived at Oʻahu in the spring of 1791.  (Fornander)

Kahekili decided that no better time could be chosen to attack Kamehameha.  The chiefs had massed their forces on Maui. Here Kāʻeokūlani, took the leadership role.  After a little rest, the Kauaʻi fleet swept across the channel and passed down the eastern side of Hawaiʻi.  They ransacked villages along the way.  Finally Kamehameha’s canoes and ships caught up with them off Waimanu, not far from Waipiʻo.

In former years a naval battle meant the clash of canoe against canoe.  This battle was different.

Unlike the prior battle at ʻĪao, here both sides had modern firearms and people who knew how to use them (this battle was the first in Hawaiʻi that saw both sides have foreign gunners, Mare Amara with Kahekili, and Isaac Davis and John Young with Kamehameha.)

The people on the bluffs saw the red flashes of the guns and noted the increasing noise of the artillery until they could no longer hear the voices of men. As the clouds of smoke crept over the sea the battle became, in the view of the watchers, a fight between red mouthed guns, and they shouted one to another the news of the progress of the conflict according to the predominance of flashing muskets and cannon.

It was soon seen that the invaders were being defeated. The man who had the best arms and the best gunners won the victory.  The Kauaʻi and Oʻahu Chiefs fled with their scattered fleets to Maui.

Kamehameha soon followed them, and during the next three years, step by step, passed over the islands until the kingdom was his.  (Westervelt)

The battle was so fierce that it was called Kepuwahaʻulaʻula (the Battle of the Red-Mouthed Gun.)  The image depicting the battle is artwork by Herb Kane (Kamehameha is in the Fair American.)

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Saturday, May 17, 2014


Some suggest the spelling was the way Captain James Cook spelled the Island chain he “discovered” in 1778, and the name of the island where he eventually died.

However, we need to remember that Cook first sighted Oʻahu on January 18, 1778. On February 2, 1778 his journal entry named the island group after his patron: “Of what number this newly-discovered Archipelago consists, must be left for future investigation. … I named the whole group the Sandwich Islands, in honour of the Earl of Sandwich.”  (Cook’s Journal)  (That name stuck for about 60-years, when the Hawaiian Islands replaced the Sandwich moniker.)

Likewise, in the dedication of his journals, the memorial (and in numerous references throughout) noted: “He raised himself, solely by his merit, from a very obscure birth, to the rank of Post-Captain in the royal navy, and was unfortunately killed by the savages of the of the island Owhyhee on the 14th of February, 1779; which island he had not long before discovered, when prosecuting his third voyage round the globe.”

When Captain Cook first visited the Hawaiian Islands, Hawaiian was a spoken language but not a written language.  Historical accounts were passed down orally, through chants and songs.  After western contact and attempts to write about Hawaiʻi, early writers tried to spell words based on the sound of the words they heard.  People heard words differently, so it was not uncommon for words to be spelled differently, depending on what the writer heard.

So the origin of the specific spelling of this place(s) is not clear.

The discussion of this place relates to a river on the continent (and some places it passes that are similarly named.)  There are many stories about other “Owyhee” continental place names; those are subjects of future stories – this one is about the Owyhee River.   The word Owyhee is the older spelling of Hawaiʻi.

The USGS Geological Names Information Systems note an 1838 map of Oregon Territory prepared by Samuel Parker (not Hawaiʻi’s Samuel Parker) as the citation for the river’s name (by Board action of the Board of Geographic Names, the river received that “Official” name in 1959.)

The Owyhee River (a 280-mile tributary of the Snake River) has its source in northern Elko County, Nevada, flowing northward into southwestern Idaho through Owyhee County, and continuing into extreme southeastern Oregon in southern Malheur County.

So how did Hawaiʻi (Owyhee) make it to the Oregon Territory?  And, why did a river receive that name?

To get there, we need to go back a bit … to 1811.

That year, the first two-dozen Kanakas (Hawaiians) were recruited to work the Pacific Northwest to support the expanding fur trading business (twelve as seamen and the remaining half to work at a proposed fur post.)

Thick, luxurious and water-repellent furs of sea mammals (from beavers, sea otters and fur seals) were highly valued in China as well as in Europe, where they were sewn into coats, hats and bed covers.  Furs were mostly traded in China in exchange for tea, silks, porcelain and other Chinese goods, which were then sold in Europe and the US.

Trading ships plying between the Northwest, China and Europe would stop in Hawaiʻi to replenish their stores.  Hawaiians had worked on many of the merchant ships.  Most served as seamen or contract workers; others manned their outposts and built structures or farmed food for the ships’ crews and others.

As the fur trade expanded, nearly every post had had a contingent of Kanakas, who were noted for their reliability, cheerful dispositions and hard work.

This leads us to Donald Mackenzie, a brigade leader for the Canadian North West Company, who led yearlong trapping expeditions on the Snake and Columbia Rivers in the Oregon Territory.

About one-third of Mackenzie’s men on his 1818-1820 Snake River expedition were Kanakas.  Mackenzie and his party wintered among the Snake Indians in 1819-1820.

Three of his Kanakas had been sent to another area to hunt beaver.  When they did not return, Mackenzie sent out a search party which “found the place where they had been hunting, and where they had been murdered (believed to be by a band of Bannock Indians;) the skeleton of one of them was found, but nothing else."  (Duncan)

The river in the area was thereafter known as the Owyhee (in honor of the three Hawaiians.)  (Some early references also note the name as “Sandwich Island River.”)

The earliest surviving record of the name is found on a map dating to 1825, drawn by William Kittson (who was previously with Donald Mackenzie in 1819-1820.)

Then, Peter Skene Ogden, who led subsequent Snake River expeditions for the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1825-1826, noted in his journal, “Saturday, (February) 18th (1826.) Severe cold. …  when we reached Sandwich Island River, so called, owing to 2 of them murdered by Snake Indians in 1819. This is a fine large river…”

Ogden later notes, “Thursday, June 15th (1826.) All along our route this day the plains were covered with women digging roots; at least 10 bushels were traded by our party; the men (Indians) all gone to join the Fort Nez Perces Indians. Reached a fork of Owyhee River.”

The Owyhee begins at its headwaters in Nevada, flows through Idaho, and crosses into southeastern Oregon, where it eventually flows into the Snake River. From the Oregon/Idaho border to the Owyhee Reservoir (formed by the Owyhee Dam), the river flows through deeply incised canyons in a remote, arid and almost unpopulated area.

Other places near or on the river received the same “Owyhee” name.

Owyhee Dam, the tallest in the world when completed in 1932, is significant as a proving ground for engineering techniques used later in construction of Hoover Dam. As construction of the Owyhee began in 1928, plans were being laid for the much larger Hoover Dam on the Colorado River; it was Hoover’s testing ground.  (NPS)

The Bureau of Reclamation’s Owyhee irrigation project is the largest in Oregon, with surrounding farmland used for a combination of livestock grazing and specialty crops such as potatoes, sugar beets, onions, and alfalfa seed. (In 1984, a hydroelectric powerhouse was built just downstream from the dam.)

The first known recreation use of the river occurred in 1951, when commercial outfitter Prince Helfrich floated from Three Forks to Rome utilizing surplus World War II rubber assault rafts. Boating use remained extremely light through the 1950s and 60s.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) began recording recreation use in 1974, when 482 persons floated the river. By 1980, 2,000 boaters were utilizing the Owyhee and popular campsites were beginning to show the effect of recreational use.  (Meyer)

In 1970 the state of Oregon designated the Owyhee River as a State Scenic Waterway.  On October 19, 1984, President Reagan signed Public Law 98-494, designating 120 miles of the Owyhee River from the Oregon-Idaho boundary to the Owyhee Reservoir, excluding the Rome Valley from China Gulch to Crooked Creek, as a "Wild River" to be included in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.

Oh, back to the fur trappers … they didn't last long. It was the discovery of gold that brought many more people to the Owyhee.  As prospectors fanned out throughout the state they eventually found their way into the Owyhee Mountain; a group discovered gold there in 1863.

The image shows a portion of William Kittson's 1825 map noting the Owyhee. (boisestate-edu)  In addition, I have added other images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

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