Saturday, February 28, 2015

Podmore Fire Control

Most folks call the Podmore Fire Control bunker the Lanikai Pillboxes; a misnomer.  The bunkers were built as an observation and command center for Battery Wailea and observation for Bellows Field.  Part of the defense of the facility was Battery Wailea, located at Wailea Point (at the dividing line between Waimanalo and Lanikai.)

Podmore, completed February 28, 1943 - named for a nearby triangulation station, observed for Battery Wailea. Initially armed with two mobile 155-mm guns (about 6-inches, that could send 96-lb projectiles 17,400-yds,) it was later replaced with two 5-inch guns (58-lb projectile, 10,000-yd range) (later supplemented with two 3-inch guns (15-lb projectile, 11,100-yd range.))

Click HERE for the full post and images.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Food Forest

It’s a forest managed to provide habitat and food for recovering endangered bird species.  The Keauhou Bird Conservation Center (KBCC) Discovery Forest is a project and part of Hawaiʻi Forest Institute’s (HFI) Mahalo ʻĀina: Give Back to the Forest Program.  KBCC is reestablishing self-sustaining populations of critically endangered Hawaiian birds in the wild.

The Hawai‘i Endangered Bird Conservation Program breeds endangered Hawaiian birds in captivity, for release back into the wild.   The trees planted school groups are the beginning of a new native tree forest that will support the native bird species in the future.

Click HERE for the full post and images.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Rock Silo to Bell Tower

In 1926, Carl W Winstedt’s National Construction Company, Ltd was reportedly the lowest bidder for the construction of a portion of the Kamehameha highway, designated “Job 4057.” Winstedt was to build Kamehameha Highway from Waimea Bay to Kahuku. Reportedly, to support it, in 1930, he built a rock quarry on the North edge of Waimea Bay to produce gravel.

A concrete rock silo was built for the quarry operations.  The facility was abandoned in 1932; it’s not clear what happened with it for the next 20-years. Then, St Michael's Church was looking for a church facility – the rock silo was converted into a 100-foot bell tower.  The former construction company machine sheds were converted into a patio and chapel.  The silo turned bell tower is a North Shore icon.

Click HERE for the full post and images.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Hilo Airport

In December 1920, a ramp was built by the Hawaiian Contracting Company in Radio Bay in Hilo to haul visiting seaplanes from the bay onto land.  On February 25, 1925, Speaker of the House Norman K Lyman of Hilo introduced a resolution requesting the governor to set aside land at Waiākea for a landing field.  Work on Hilo Airport began July 17, 1925.

Using tools donated by the County, the 46-prisoners began on September 8, 1925.  Use of prison labor had its problems; in 1926, several escaped (and later caught.)  The escapes and captures continued.  Most of the site was cleared by the end of the year.

A second and third runways were added and the airport was renovated (the renovation dedication ceremony was held May 2, 1941.)  The military used it during WWII.  It was later named to honor Brigadier General Albert Kualiʻi Brickwood Lyman (the first native Hawaiian (he was also part-Chinese) to attain the rank of general or admiral in the US Armed Forces.)

Click HERE for the full post and images.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Alexander & Baldwin Building

The Alexander & Baldwin Building was planned as a memorial to founders Samuel Thomas Alexander and Henry Perrine Baldwin and designed as a prestige home office, with sufficient budget to insure both. A primary concern of the owners was that the building be "uniquely Hawaiian" in appearance.

Originally designed with a 39-foot ceiling in the ‘public floor’ (the central first floor,) it started as a 3-story structure with basement.  Modifications in 1959 added a mezzanine level, lowering the lower-floor ceiling to 14-feet and creating a new second level that now houses the boardroom (mauka,) offices and lunchroom (makai.)

Click HERE for the full post and images.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Two Friends … Fellow Adventurers

The older was born February 25, 1821 in Sandy Hill, New York (In 1910, the village's name was changed to Hudson Falls.)  Stone quarried from there was used to construct the Brooklyn Bridge (1883.)  The younger was born January 25, 1822 in Glens Falls, New York, about 3-miles away; his father was a toll collector who worked on a toll booth in the middle of the Hudson River.

The older, William Little Lee, was the first Chief Justice of the Superior Court (1847-52) and then the Supreme Court (1852-57.)  The younger, Charles Reed Bishop, was primarily a banker (he has been referred to as "Hawaiʻi’s First Banker.”)  He met and married Bernice Pauahi in 1850.

Click HERE for the full post and images.

Sunday, February 22, 2015


How do you pronounce Atooi … and Kauai?

Cook’s Journal, the first writing of the Hawaiian words, generally notes the Island of Kauai as ‘Atooi.’  Others writers note Atooi, but also associate ‘Kawai’ and ‘Kauhai.’

Cook spelled the other Island names: Oreehoua (Lehua,) Tahoora (Kaʻula,) Oneeheow (Niʻihau,) Woahoo (Oʻahu,) Morotoi or Morokoi (Molokai,) Mowee (Maui) and Owhyhee (Hawaiʻi.)

Given how Cook spelled other Island names, it appears the Island name of ‘Atooi’ (Kauai) sounded like ‘ahh too eye.’

Hiram Bingham notes the Island name in his explanation of his understanding of the Hawaiian language suggested “Corrected in English” for the name as “Cowʻ-eyeʻ” and the “New” spelling as “Kauʻ aiʻ”.

Click HERE for the full post and images.

Saturday, February 21, 2015


Along the coast was an Alaloa.  In the vicinity of Hoʻokena, the ‘1871 Trail’ (the year noted the time of widening of the trail) was the main transportation artery for coastal travel from Hoʻokena to Nāpoʻopoʻo.  Initially single-file footpaths, the trail followed the contours of coast.  Over the years they were widened, straightened and curbstones were added.

A landing was built at Hoʻokena to accommodate the ships.  The Hoʻokena landing consisted of a rock pier off shore … the sea washing between it and the mainland.  The landing was named Kupa Landing in honor of Henry Cooper (Kupa,) road supervisor of the District of South Kona from 1871 to 1880.  Hoʻokena Village grew into a major sea port for Kona.

Click HERE for the full post and images.

Friday, February 20, 2015

C Brewer

The following are the various names which the C Brewer was known: James Hunnewell, Hunnewell & Peirce, Peirce & Hinckley, Peirce & Brewer, C Brewer & Co, SH Williams & Co, C Brewer 2d, C Brewer & Co Ltd. If an exact date and a single act are to be assigned, it was on Monday, December 8, 1817, when James Hunnewell, officer of the brig Bordeaux Packet, agreed with Andrew Blanchard, master, to remain at Honolulu after the sale of the vessel.

At first, business was generally in small transactions and by barter. American goods of nearly all sorts were received and sold on consignment.   C. Brewer & Co., Ltd, was incorporated on Feb. 7, 1883.  Five major companies emerged and dominated the state’s economic framework.  Their common trait: they were founded in agriculture - sugar and pineapple.  They became known as the Big 5: Amfac - starting as Hackfeld & Company (1849;) Alexander & Baldwin (1870;) Theo H. Davies (1845;) Castle & Cooke (1851) and C Brewer (1826.)

Click HERE for the full post and images.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

ʻEke Crater

Early Hawaiians considered ʻEke Crater near the summit of the West Maui Mountain to be Heaven's Gate, or a doorway between the physical and spiritual worlds.  "Mauna ʻEke is the name given to the circular range in the bosom of which lies the valley, whose sides, moistened with mists and trickling streams, are perennially green.”

ʻEke Crater is an extinct volcanic dome with eroded sides and gently concave summit. The summit bog is underlain by a clay hardpan over a compressed lava core and is characterized by numerous pits and open water ponds.  Towering at nearly 4,500 feet in elevation, the name 'Crater' is quite deceiving, as no visible crater remains today. The mountain is actually the remnants of an eroded volcanic cone.

Click HERE for the full post and images.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Honolulu Stadium

The Honolulu Stadium opened on November 11, 1926.  It served as one of the major recreational outlets for Honolulu; events held at the stadium included a wide spectrum of activities: football, baseball, stock car racing, boxing, reIigious ceremonies, carnivals and concerts.

Hawaiʻi’s first night game was held at the Honolulu Stadium in 1930; the UH Rainbows defeated Hackmen of Neal Blaisdell’s Honolulu Athletic Club (28-0.)  Its wood construction led to its later moniker …  the ‘Termite Palace.’  It was demolished in 1976, after Aloha Stadium was completed in Halāwa; the former site of the Termite Palace is now a public park.

Click HERE for the full post and images.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Ice Floe

With the advent of spring, large schools of whales make their appearance in the Arctic, forcing their way under the floes and through the leads in the ice, bound to the northward.  Hardly a season passed that one or two whaling ships were not trapped or wrecked by the arctic ice pack; more than 160 whaling ships were lost.

In August 1871, 41-whaling ships from Hawaiʻi, New England and California came to the icy waters of the Arctic in the pursuit of the bowhead whale. The ice blocked their passage south.  In the storm, they abandoned ship; 1,200-crew set out in small whale boats to make their way across 60-miles of water to safety.

The boats reached the rescue fleet safely without the loss of a single life. The overcrowded ships then made their way uneventfully to Hawaiʻi. Although whaling in the Arctic did continue for a number of years, the industry never recovered from this disaster.

Click HERE for the full post and images.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Papaʻi Bay

In 1783, following an unsuccessful battle against Keawemauhili and Keōua; Kamehameha sailed to Puna for a surprise attack.   He went to Papaʻi Bay (Lit. Crab fishermen’s shed - now called Kings Landing.)  Nearby is a māwae (crack, fissure, crevice,) the boundary between Waiākea, Hilo and Keaʻau, Puna.  Kamehameha, commanding the others not to follow, attacked two stalwart natives who had been aiding the weak to escape.

A fisherman turned and threw his fishnet over the pursuing chief, causing him to fall down upon the sharp lava – they struck him with their paddles, but after a few blows the paddles were destroyed.  The men ran away.   Years passed, they were captured by Kamehameha – recalling the prior engagement, he said, I make the law, the new law, for the safety of all men under my government - Māmalahoe Kānāwai.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

‘Him of the Low, Sweet Voice’

Failing health for some months past made it seem advisable that King Kalākaua should seek to regain it by a voyage to the more bracing climate of California, and inspired with this hope, he left his kingdom in November 1890. The voyage and change of circumstances at first seemed to benefit him.

Then, the sad news … he passed away at 2:35 pm of Tuesday, January 20, 1891; there were close friends and advisors at his bedside.  His body was returned to the Islands and he was buried with great state on February 15th, 1891 at Mauna Ala.

Click HERE for the full post and more images.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine’s Day

"We’re all a little weird.  And life is a little weird.  And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness - and call it love - true love."  Robert Fulghum

Click HERE for more images.

Friday, February 13, 2015

A Connecticut Yankee in Captain Cook’s Crew

John Ledyard, the son of a ship captain, was born in Groton Connecticut in 1751. He headed to sea.  He joined Captain Cook on the Resolution and Discovery (the only American on Board;) in Tahiti, he is reportedly the first Westerner to be tattooed – with “Otaheite marks on my hands”.

With cold weather setting in, Cook decided to head to the Sandwich Islands for winter quarters.  He was there when Cook was killed.  A final journey, begun in June 1788, would be Ledyard's last.  On an expedition in Africa, he suffered a digestive ailment that eventually claimed his life in January 1789. John Ledyard was 38 years old.

Click HERE for the full post.

Thursday, February 12, 2015


Although Kalākaua had been elected and serving as King since 1874, upon returning from a trip around the world, in 1883, it was determined that Hawaiʻi’s King should also be properly crowned.  The Coronation Pavilion (Keliʻiponi) was considered the “finest specimen of this kind of work that has ever been produced in Honolulu.”

“On Monday, 12th February, the imposing ceremony of the Coronation of their Majesties the King and Queen of the Hawaiian Islands took place at ʻIolani Palace.”  Following the coronation festivities, “The Pavilion in which His Majesty was crowned has been moved to the west side of the Palace, and now stands as a permanent ornament to the grounds.”

Three years later, in November 1886, Kalākaua threw another large celebration in honor of his fiftieth birthday, and the Jubilee activities included the usual lūʻau, hula and a grand ball. The Royal Hawaiian Band played from the pavilion.

Click HERE to see the full post and images

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


Areas where fishponds existed and potable water could be easily obtained were the primary areas of settlement; by 1800, many of the remote area residences were abandoned, a few residents at ʻAnaehoʻomalu, several families at Puako, and the strongest population at Kawaihae.

Fast forward a few centuries … looking down on the sandy beach on a helicopter tour, Governor Bill Quinn and RockResorts head Laurence Rockefeller were scouting for beachfront sites for a possible resort use to help turn around the fledgling State’s troubled sugar-based economy.  He built Mauna Kea Beach Hotel; it opened on July 24, 1965.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


The moku (district) of Waialua includes fourteen ahupuaʻa and stretches from Kaʻena Point to Kāpaeloa (just before Waimea.) With its extensive cultivated fields of kalo (taro,) it was considered the ‘poi bowl’ of the island.

“The whole district of Waialua is spread out before the eye with its cluster of settlements, straggling houses, scattering trees, cultivated plats & growing in broad perspectives the wide extending ocean tossing its restless waves”.

Click HERE for a link to the full post.

Monday, February 9, 2015

New Things on the Horizon …

The ‘regular’ post will come later in the day; we have been working on a new website and new formatting of the posts and it’s making an early debut, today.

(There are still some indexing to finish and other stuff to fix, but the gist of it is ready to share … in a few of hours.)

In the meantime, here’s a photo I haven’t shared yet.  The littlest girl near the middle is my mother; my grandparents are the couple on the right.

The others are noted as the “Scotts.” They were taking a tour around the Island of Hawaii, June 5-15, 1928.

They are sitting at the archway fronting Mokuʻaikaua Church in Kailua-Kona.  Construction of the church was started in 1835; it was dedicated in early-1837 (under the leadership of missionary Asa Thurston.)

The archway was built in 1910 to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the arrival of the first Protestant missionaries (1820.)

My grandfather was great grandson of Hiram and Sybil Bingham; Hiram was the leader of the Pioneer Company of missionaries to the Islands.

This year marks the 195th anniversary of the arrival of the Pioneer Company.  Plans are already underway for the celebration of the bicentennial of their arrival.  I am honored and proud to serve on the Board of the Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site and Archives.

If you haven’t recently visited the Mission Houses, I encourage you to visit – there are lots of things to see and learn there.

It’s on King and Kawaiahaʻo Streets (Diamond Head side of Kawaiahaʻo Church (designed by Hiram Bingham;) across King Street from the red brick Mission Memorial Building (dedicated in 1916 in anticipation of the centennial celebration.))

The Mission Memorial Building is on the site of the former Kawaiahaʻo Seminary; my great great aunt, Lydia Bingham, was principal of the seminary; her sister Lizzy later took over.

Kawaiahaʻo Seminary (for girls) and Mills School (for boys - started by Francis Damon) later merged and relocated to a site in Mānoa.  It’s now called Mid-Pacific Institute.

OK, back to the posts …

So, just to prepare you, the formatting of the posts will change – the full posts will be on the new website and short summaries will be posted in Facebook, Blogger, Google+ and LinkedIn – with links noted in the latter to get you directly to the website and the full posts.  (Special thanks to Jen Barrett for setting it up.)

An alternative (and preferred) way to get the posts is to subscribe on the website (no charge) – that way, you will receive an e-mail notice as soon as the post is made (with links to the full post.)  (Subscription sign-up is noted on the new website.)

Some other things are also in the works: ‘soon,’ podcasts, with imagery and reading of the full text, will be available.

Likewise, I am still looking for an economical way to get the posts noted on a web-based map – so you can see where these people, places and events took place.

I have a prototype on my computer … it is waaay cool and helps put a modern perspective (location) to the historical context.

Other ideas are in the works, as well.

So, stand by, the ‘regular’ post for today will be available soon.

© 2015 Hoʻokuleana LLC

Sunday, February 8, 2015

“Admiral of the Sandwich Islands”

On November 27, 1823, Kamehameha II (Liholiho) was the first Ali‘i to travel to England.  He was accompanied by Kamāmalu, the queen, Boki and his wife, Liliha, Kekūanāoʻa, Manuia, James Young and Kapihe.  (Alexander)

Kapihe (Naihekukui) “was very intelligent, had an excellent memory, and spoke English tolerably. He was remarkably skillful in the game of draughts (Kōnane,) which he played with uniform success.”  (Byron)

He was son of the chief Hanakāhi and also known as Jack the Pilot or Captain Jack. He had been the pilot for the Russian explorer Golovnin in 1818 and piloted Freycinet from Kailua Bay to Kawaihae in August 1819.  (Birkett)  Lord Byron referred to him as ‘Admiral.’

“He was decently clad in European clothes and spoke passable English; he showed me papers authorizing him to pilot us through these waters.”  (Camille de Roquefeuil; Birkett)

Back to Liholiho’s trip … it was taken partly by curiosity to see foreign lands, and partly by a desire to secure protection for his country, especially against Russia.

A council of the high chiefs was held at Lahaina to consider the subject, at which Kaahumanu was acknowledged as regent with Kalanimōku as her prime-minister, and Kauikeaouli confirmed as heir-apparent.

The king embarked in an English whale-ship, “L’Aigle,” commanded by Captain Starbuck, an American.  (Alexander)

L’Aigle arrived on May 17, 1824 in Portsmouth, and the next day the entourage moved into the Caledonian Hotel in London.  On the 12th of June, Manuia, was attacked by the measles; the next day, the king sickened, and by the 19th, all of the party were afflicted with the same disease … in a few days, the queen became dangerously ill.  (Jarves)

Kapihe was the only one of the followers who had suffered from the disorder in a degree at all equal to the king and queen.  Boki and Kekūanāoʻa rapidly recovered; and Kapihe soon grew better.

On the 4th of July, Liholiho was sufficiently well to give an audience to Richard Charlton, Esq., the newly appointed consul to his dominions. By the 8th, no hopes of the queen were entertained; the mutual grief of the royal couple was affecting.

They held each other in a warm and protracted embrace, while the thought of dying so early in their career, so far from their loved islands and friends, caused the tears to gush freely. In the evening she died.  (Jarves)

The king was supported by pillows, and said little, but repeated the words, "I am dying, I am dying:" within the curtains of the bed one of the chiefs sat continually, with his face towards the king, and his eyes fixed on him, in conformity, as they said, with their native customs.

The day of the 8th of July was a very painful one, and the dying agony of the sufferer was long; for it was not until four o'clock of the morning of the 14th that Tamehameha II breathed his last.  (Byron)

The grief-stricken Kamehameha II (age 27) died six days later on July 14, 1824.  Prior to his death he asked to return and be buried in Hawai‘i.

Shortly thereafter, the British Government dispatched HMS Blonde to convey the bodies of Liholiho and Kamāmalu back to Hawaii, along with the entourage.  The Captain of the Blonde, a newly commissioned 46-gun frigate, was Lord Byron (a cousin of the poet.)

The remains of the sovereigns had been placed in lead coffins, enclosed in wood, covered with crimson velvet, and richly ornamented. Suitable inscriptions in English and Hawaiian told the rank and age of the deceased.

The group headed back to the Islands on the 28th of September. On their voyage they had an opportunity of observing several other countries. The frigate touched at Rio, St. Catherines, at Valparaiso.  (Jarves)
Early in the morning of February 8, 1825, “Kapihe was affected with an apparent determination of blood to the head, and, notwithstanding every effort to save him, he died in the course of the day.”

“The attack seemed to have been coming on for some days; and, as it afterwards appeared, an abscess had formed on the brain.”

“The death of Kapihe may be considered as a serious loss to his native country: his natural intelligence had been cultivated and improved by his various voyages, and he had the most anxious desire to be useful at home.”

“We buried him out at sea off the Couronilla point, because the bigotry of the Chilians scarcely permits permanent repose to the remains of such as are not within the pale of the Roman church; and as Kapihe was not even christened, we substituted a prayer, written on the occasion, for the church service, when we committed his body to the deep.”  (Byron)

The Blonde arrived back in Honolulu on May 6, 1825.  Liholiho and Kamāmalu were buried on the grounds of the ʻIolani Palace in a coral house meant to be the Hawaiian version of the tombs Liholiho had seen in London.  They were eventually moved to Mauna ‘Ala, the Royal Mausoleum.

Kamehameha II was succeeded by his younger brother Kauikeaouli, who became King Kamehameha III.

Kapihe had one daughter, Kalama.

When it came to selecting a wife, Kamehameha III chose Kalama, although Kamanele, daughter of Gov. Adams, had been proposed as the most suitable, as to age, rank and education.

“Princes, doubtless, have a right to choose their own companions, though if they expect their offspring to enjoy a peaceful possession of the throne, the constitution, established usage, or will of the nation, should be respected. No small agitation existed for a time. His wishes in this matter, however, eventually prevailed.”  (Bingham)

The image shows Kipahe (Naihekukui, Captain Jack, Jack the Pilot.)  It was drawn by Arago.

© 2015 Hoʻokuleana LLC

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Sereno Edwards Bishop

Sereno Edwards Bishop was born at Kaʻawaloa on February 7, 1827; he was son of Rev. Artemas and Elizabeth (Edwards) Bishop (part of the Second Company of missionaries to Hawaiʻi (arriving April 27, 1823) and first stationed at Kailua, on the Big Island.)

Mrs Bishop had been a girlhood friend of Mrs Lucy G Thurston, who had preceded her to Hawaii as a missionary, some four years earlier. Mrs Bishop died February 28, 1828 at Kailua, the first death in the mission.

Mr. Bishop, Sr subsequently married Delia Stone, who was a member of the Third Company of missionaries (December 1, 1828.)

The missionaries’ house was usually in a thickly inhabited village, so the missionary and his wife could be close to their work among the people; the missionary children were typically cooped up in their home.

With hundreds of children all about them, missionary children had no playmates except the children of other missionaries, most of whom were scattered over the Islands, meeting only a few times a year.  (Thurston)

“In the early-(1830s,) Kailua was a large native village, of about 4,000 inhabitants rather closely packed along one hundred rods of shore (about 1,650-feet,) and averaging twenty rods inland (about 330-feet.)”

“Near by stood a better stone house occupied by the doughty Governor Kuakiui. All other buildings in Kailua were thatched, until Rev. Artemas Bishop built his two-story stone dwelling in 1831 and Rev. Asa Thurston in 1833 built his wooden two-story house at Laniākea, a quarter of a mile inland.”

“The people had ample cultivable land in the moist upland from two to four miles inland at altitudes of one thousand to twenty-five hundred feet. It is a peculiarity of that Kona coast that while the shore may be absolutely rainless for months gentle showers fall daily upon the mountain slope.”  (Bishop)

Sereno Bishop was sent back to the continent at age 12 for education (he graduated from Amherst College in 1846 and Auburn Theological Seminary in 1851,) he married Cornelia A Session on May 31, 1852 and returned to Hawaiʻi on January 16, 1853.

His observation of Honolulu at the time noted, “The settled portion of the city was then substantially limited by the present
Alapaʻi and River streets and mauka at School street. There was hardly anything outside of those limits and the remainder was practically an open plain.”

“Above Beretania street, on the slopes and beyond Alapaʻi street, there was hardly a building of any nature whatever.”

“At that time there was a small boarding school for the children of the missions at Punahou, under direction of Father Dole. This little structure alone intervened between the city and Mōʻiliʻili, where about the church there were a few houses.”  (Bishop)

Bishop assumed the position of Seaman’s Chaplain in Lāhainā.  The Bishops remained nine years at Lahaina, where five children were born to them (two of the boys died at a young age.)

After 10-years in Lāhainā, he moved to Hāna and later returned to Lāhainā and served from 1865 to 1877 as principal of Lahainaluna. Mr. Bishop considered the work which he did among the native students at Lahainaluna was among the most fruitful of his life.

He left his mark at Lahainaluna, physically, in the shape of the grand avenue of monkey pods on the road to Lahaina, which he personally planted.  (Thurston)

Bishop had a reputation as an amateur scientist with interests particularly in geology.  Bishop’s contributions as an atmospheric scientist were sufficiently prominent to be mentioned in the Monthly Weather Review.  (SOEST)

Rev. Sereno Bishop, a missionary in Hawaiʻi, was the first to provide detailed observations of a phenomenon not previously reported - he noted his observation on September 5, 1883.  It was later named for him – Bishop’s Ring (a halo around the sun, typically observed after large volcanic eruptions.)

Bishop’s observations followed the eruption at Krakatoa (August 23, 1883.)  His findings suggested the existence of the ‘Jet Stream’ (this used to be referred to as the 'Krakatoa Easterlies.')

"It now seems probable that the enormous projections of gaseous and other matter from Krakatoa (Krakatau) have been borne by the upper currents and diffused throughout a belt of half the earth's circumference, and not improbably, as careful observation may yet establish, even entirely around the globe."  (Sereno Bishop)

Bishop made other volcanic observations; a hundred years ago, he noted Diamond Head was made in less than a hour’s time and is “composed not of lava, like the main mountain mass inland, but of this soft brown rock called tuff.” (Bishop, Commercial Advertiser, July 15, 1901)

In 1887, he moved to Honolulu and became editor of "The Friend," a monthly journal, founded in Honolulu in 1843, "the oldest publication west of the Rocky Mountains."

Bishop was identified as “the well-known mouthpiece of the annexation party” and criticized by royalists for his comments.  He remained in Honolulu and died there March 23, 1909.

The image shows Sereno Bishop. (1902)   In addition, I have added others similar images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

© 2015 Hoʻokuleana LLC

Friday, February 6, 2015

King’s Daughters Home

A small number of women banded together as a King’s Daughters’ Circle for the purpose of learning more how to care for others, taking the motto, ‘Not to be ministered unto, but to minister.’

At the time, Honolulu had no haven for friendless and lonely old persons who were aging.  Then, the distress of two such old ladies inspired the King’s Daughters with the determination to meet this need.

The aim was to comfort and care for those in need, just as one would care for a relative or friend.  “No efforts are spared in removing all trace of the institution from this home, where each person is given a pleasant, private room in which to spend declining years among little, treasured possessions.”  (Honolulu Star-bulletin, April 9, 1914)

On July 15, 1910, they rented and furnished a house in Makiki and called it the King’s Daughters’ Home.

The aim of the Circle was first “to furnish a genuine home to all those in need because of age or weakness, and second, to furnish a Christian home for persons in middle life or past who receive but a trifle for their labor and are unable to pay the usual boarding-house rates”.

“(L)astly, (the goal was) to furnish for convalescents released from the care of hospital and physician, without a home or means and unable to work for a while, a place where they may go and have loving care for a few weeks and someone to help nurse them back to strength.  (Honolulu Times, December 1, 1910)

“Viewed from a progressive standpoint, it may be said that there is scarcely a county in the United States which has not its home for old people without means. Honolulu has its Lunalilo Home for aged Hawaiians.”

“There are homes for the people of other races and hospitals for the white plague sufferers and those afflicted with other ills, but nowhere in this city of wealth is there a place where an aged Anglo-Saxon, whose younger days have been spent in faithful service, can enter and say, ‘This is my home.’”  (Thrum)

The first home “installed these two dear old ladies with a matron to care for them. Later more women and some men were joined to the little family, the house was enlarged to meet the increasing demands for more accommodations”.

“(A)ssistants were engaged, and the work grew steadily, until now several small cottages have been added to the establishment, Yet, with these added facilities, the Old Folks’ Homes is taxed to capacity”.  (Honolulu Star-bulletin, April 9, 1914)

“(T)here are scores of working women, very worthy women, Christian women, employed on meager salaries, by the week or by the day or the month, and that can afford to pay a small part only for room and meals. It is really hard, very hard, for them to make that little income meet the demands of food and raiment (clothing.”)

“Often they are constrained to live in the most frugal manner as to lodging and table board. But, if there can be a Home, plain, sweet, neat, with a good nourishing menu, three times a day, what a blessing!”  (Honolulu Times, December 1, 1910)

“No sooner was the first home secured and opened with furnishings befitting the needs of those in the afternoon of life who had seen better days, but what its capacity was taxed, and from that time … there have been applicants for admission kept on the waiting list owing to its limited accommodations”.

“Thus from its inception, almost, has the need of enlargement been insistent and has sorely taxed the handful of promoters to meet this want of the community.”  (Thrum)

“The King’s Daughters’ Circle has undertaken the work which the community has so far omitted. It has done what it could with limited means, secured from private sources, and now feels justified in asking the aid of the community for a building enterprise … like the magnificent YMCA structure”.

“Confident that their trust in this appeal is not misplaced, the organization of King’s Daughters engaged Mr HL Kerr, an architect who has designed a number of the finest buildings in the city, to draw plans for an Old People’s Home, to be erected on the Kaimuki site which the organization now owns”.

“The building as designed will afford ample and comfortable housing for fifty (occupants,) with additional quarters for nurses and other attaches of the institution. The structure as planned has all the essential provisions for insuring comfort to the (occupants,) and at the same time is artistic in design, supplying an edifice which, from an architectural point of view, will prove a credit to the city and a monument to the progressive spirit of the community.”

“The general idea of the architect has been to give a home effect inside and out, and to provide a building which will insure a maximum of comfort and convenience with a minimum of expenditure for its economical maintenance. The lanais and veranda are as generous in size as they are essential.”

“The dining hall and dining lanai may be operated separately or thrown together as desired, and the rooms which will be for general use are centrally located in order to be of the greatest service to all. … The rooms are large and airy, each provided with a generous clothes press, and there are ample toilet facilities included.”

“The upper floor is designed primarily for the use of the caretakers and assistants, and will also provide room for those among the old people who are able to mount the easy stairway.”

“One feature of the plans to which the attention of contributors is particularly called, is that it may be constructed in five parts or wings grouped about a central building, permitting any one person or group of persons who may so desire to build a wing as a memorial.”  (Thrum)

There is a sad side to this story … reported in the Hawaiian Gazette, February 6, 1912.  It relates to Mrs Margaret Jerome Healy and her friend Mrs Elisabeth Stevenson; both lived in the King’s Daughters Home.

Unfortunately Healy passed away.

“The old ladies of the home were all anxious to attend the funeral of their late companion, who was a general favorite among them … The superintendent demurred but it was finally decide that a refusal would result in unnecessary grievings and the permission was granted.”

“The aged women gathered about as the body was lowered and reverently bowed their heads as the last words of the service were spoken. Most of them were crying quietly and the moment, always so sadly dramatic, was doubly tense to those who felt the severing of the ties so poignantly.”

“Mrs. Stevenson’s heart, which has been weak, was unable to stand the tension of emotion and dropped quietly, the old lady sinking to the ground amidst her companions and peacefully passing across the borders to join her friend.”

Stevenson (who had been a nurse for the greater part of her life) died “before the open grave as the body of her departed friend was laid to rest.” (Hawaiian Gazette, February 6, 1912)

“They were two woman who shared the bonds of aloha in their last days of their lives on this earth, and they left together to the other side, without one feeling sadness for the other in one dying before the other, and one being left behind in this world grieving.”  (Kuokoa, February 9, 1912)  The image shows Oʻahu Cemetery.

Follow Peter T Young on Facebook  

Follow Peter T Young on Google+ 

Follow Peter T Young on LinkedIn   

© 2015 Hoʻokuleana LLC

Thursday, February 5, 2015


What is commonly referred to as the “ahupuaʻa system” is a result of the firm establishment of palena (place boundaries.)  This system of land divisions and boundaries enabled a konohiki (land/resource manager) to know the limits and productivity of the resources that he managed.

Ahupuaʻa served as a means of managing people and taking care of the people who support them, as well as an easy form of collection of tributes by the chiefs.  Ultimately, distribution of people throughout the Islands helped in preserving resources.

A typical ahupuaʻa (what we generally refer to as watersheds, today) was a long strip of land, narrow at its mountain summit top and becoming wider as it ran down a valley into the sea to the outer edge of the reef.  If there was no reef then the sea boundary would be about one and a half miles from the shore.

Defined palena brought greater productivity to the lands; lessened conflict and was a means of settling disputes of future aliʻi who would be in control of the bounded lands; protected the commoners from the chiefs; and brought (for the most part) peace and prosperity.  (Beamer, Duarte)

Typically, natural features served as boundary markers: summit peaks, ridge crests, streams, volcanic cones, etc.  Additional markers were placed to note the ahupua‘a boundary - so called because the boundary was marked by a heap (ahu) of stones surmounted by an image of a pig (pua‘a,) or because a pig or other tribute was laid on the altar as tax to the chief.

Māʻilikūkahi is recognized as the first great chief of O‘ahu and legends tell of his wise, firm, judicious government.  He was born ali‘i kapu at the birthing stones of Kūkaniloko; Kūkaniloko was one of two places in Hawai‘i specifically designated for the birth of high ranking children, the other site was Holoholokū at Wailua on Kauaʻi.

Soon after becoming aliʻi, Māʻilikūkahi moved to Waikīkī.  He was probably one of the first chiefs to live there. Up until this time, Oʻahu chiefs had typically lived at Waialua and ‘Ewa.  From that point on, with few exceptions, Waikīkī remained the Royal Center of Oʻahu aliʻi, until Kamehameha I moved the seat to Honolulu.

Māʻilikūkahi is noted for clearly marking and reorganizing land division palena (boundaries) on O‘ahu.  Defined palena brought greater productivity to the lands; lessened conflict and was a means of settling disputes of future aliʻi who would be in control of the bounded lands; protected the commoners from the chiefs; and brought (for the most part) peace and prosperity.

Fornander writes, “He caused the island to be thoroughly surveyed, and boundaries between differing divisions and lands be definitely and permanently marked out, thus obviating future disputes between neighboring chiefs and landholders.”

Kamakau tells a similar story, “When the kingdom passed to Māʻilikūkahi, the land divisions were in a state of confusion; the ahupuaʻa, the ku, the ʻili ʻāina, the moʻo ʻāina, the pauku ʻāina, and the kihāpai were not clearly defined.”

“Therefore, Māʻilikūkahi ordered the chiefs, aliʻi, the lesser chiefs, kaukau aliʻi, the warrior chiefs, puʻali aliʻi, and the overseers (luna) to divide all of Oʻahu into moku, ahupuaʻa, ʻili kupono, ʻili ʻaina, and moʻo ʻāina.”

On Maui, Kalaihaʻōhia, a kahuna (priest, expert,) is credited with the division of Maui Island into districts (moku) and sub-districts, during the time of the aliʻi Kakaʻalaneo at the end of the 15th century or the beginning of the 16th century.  (McGerty)

On the Island of Hawaiʻi, ʻUmi-a-Līloa (ʻUmi) from Waipiʻo, son of Līloa, also started to divide the lands following this similar mauka-makai orientation.

ʻUmi also started a significant new form of agriculture in Kona; archaeologists call the unique method of farming in this area the “Kona Field System.” (These are long, narrow fields that ran along the contours, along the slopes of Mauna Loa and Hualālai; farmers then planted different crops, according to the respective rainfall gradients.)

The Kona Field System was described as “the most monumental work of the ancient Hawaiians.”  The challenge of farming in Kona is to produce a flourishing agricultural economy in an area subject to frequent droughts, with no lakes or streams for irrigation.

Traditionally, the Island of Kaua‘i was divided into five moku (districts): Haleleʻa, Kona, Koʻolau, Nāpali and Puna. However, after the battle of Wahiawa in 1824, the land of Kaua‘i was redistributed and district boundaries changed. The new district names became: Hanalei, Kawaihau, Līhuʻe, Kōloa and Waimea.  (Cultural Surveys)

The size of the ahupuaʻa depended on the resources of the area with poorer agricultural regions split into larger ahupuaʻa to compensate for the relative lack of natural abundance. Each ahupuaʻa was ruled by an aliʻi or local chief and administered by a konohiki.

These natural land divisions were the result of the flow of water over the land (streams or springs.)  In keeping with the concept of wealth being fresh water, the traditional land tenure system in ancient Hawaiʻi had at its very core the presence of water.  Although of many shapes and sizes, the typical ahupuaʻa consisted of three area types: mountain, plain and sea.

Later, during the Mahele and subsequent testimony before the Land Commission, properties were identified by the ahupuaʻa and the boundaries were known.

Fearing the loss of knowledge of the ancient palena, on June 26, 1862 a bill providing for Commissioners of Boundaries notes, “Owners of said lands require a settlement of the boundaries of said lands, for the reason of the death and consequent loss of the testimony of witnesses necessary for the just settlement of such boundaries.”  (Beamer, Duarte)

More formal mapping was made to preserve the traditional locations, with provisions noting, “Lands will be mapped to make clear the ancient ahupuaʻa boundaries, or in some cases maps will be made to make clear `iwi (boundary of a land division smaller than an ahupuaʻa), at the place where one’s land ends.”

Surveys conducted and maps produced during the Māhele and Boundary Commission era were some of geography’s earliest encounters with Hawaiʻi and its people.

Mapping was applied to aid in the transition from the traditional system of land “tenure” to that of fee simple and leasehold ownership and to record traditional knowledge of boundaries and places. (Beamer, Duarte)

The image shows what is believed to be an ahupuaʻa marker on the ridge at Kuliʻouʻou valley (from a collection from John Dominis Holt (DMY.))

© 2015 Hoʻokuleana LLC

Wednesday, February 4, 2015


“The town (Kailua-Kona) wore an interesting appearance, and at a distance looked much like a flourishing fishing village at home.”  (The Polynesian, July 28, 1840)

“A short distance … is the cotton factory which has attracted so much curiosity.  It is a thatched building, containing two native looms, and some dozen spinning jennies.  The cotton grows luxuriantly in the stony, dry soil of Kailua.”  (The Polynesian, July 28, 1840)

“Cotton may yet be king in the Hawaiian Islands and all the world may come to the Territory for its best supply of the staple.  For nowhere else in the world … is better cotton grown that is raised in Hawaiʻi.”

“Moreover, cotton growing is adapted to the small farmer. The man who has only one acre can do as well in proportion as the man who has an island barony.”  (Pacific Commercial Advertiser, October 21, 1909)

“(A)bout 150-acres of cotton were grown experimentally in the Territory.  Small areas were planted on all of the four principal islands.”  (Hawaiian Gazette, November 12, 1909)

There was a time when there was an effort to expand cotton and replace the growing sugar industry with cotton.

“People will want cotton just as long as they will want cane sugar, and perhaps longer. … If the planters of Hawaiʻi could suddenly change their sugar interest into fields of growing cotton with gins and other necessary machinery … they might be better off.”  (Pacific Commercial Advertiser, May 13, 1904)

“Cotton is one of the abandoned industries of Hawaiʻi. In 1836 it was planted at Hana, Maui, and in parts of Hawaiʻi.  In 1837, Governor Kuakini erected a stone cotton factory at Kailua and some very durable fabrics were produced by the simple machinery of that period.”

“During the civil war … when the seaports of the southern states were blockaded and cotton was made a very costly staple, the Hawaiian growers exported hundreds of bales to Boston.”

“It was not long after this, however, when sugar asserted almost complete sway over the planting interests and fields of cotton became only a memory.”  (Pacific Commercial Advertiser, May 13, 1904)

Maʻo, Hawaiʻi cotton, is actually native to the islands; it’s a member of the hibiscus family.  Genetic studies indicate that the Hawaiian cotton is a close relative of the Mexican species.

The name maʻo comes from the Hawaiian word ʻōmaʻo for green and shares the same name as the native Hawaiian thrush, ʻōmaʻo which has a greenish cast to its feathers.

Maʻo’s ancestors may have come to the islands from Central America as seeds on the wind, on the wings or droppings of birds or on the waves as floating debris. (hawaii-edu)

Once they arrived, they developed several genetic differences but the close relationship to other cottons has made Hawaiian cotton very important in the industry.

Although closely related to commercial cotton, the fibers of maʻo have not been used to produce cotton on a large scale.  (usbg)

Maʻo is genetically resistant to some diseases and pests of commercial cotton and through careful breeding programs has offered its resistance to the worldwide cotton crop. (hawaii-edu)

The early Hawaiians used the flower petals to make a yellow dye; the leaves were used for a light green (ʻōmaʻomaʻo) or a rich red-brown dye.

Isabella Abbott noted that “any green kapa deserves close scrutiny, too, for the green obtained from maʻo leaves is fleeting, fading within a few days. The Bishop Museum collection contains no kapa that has retained its green coloration, but a few pieces may once have been green, judging by their overall design.”  (hawaii-edu)

Although it lasted for about a century, cotton never became an important trade Hawaiʻi item.  (HTH)

The image shows cotton in Kunia on Oʻahu. (Hawaiian Gazette, November 12, 1909)  In addition, I have added other related images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

Follow Peter T Young on Facebook  

Follow Peter T Young on Google+  

Follow Peter T Young on LinkedIn  

© 2015 Hoʻokuleana LLC

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Colonel Zephaniah Swift Spalding

“(He) was most emphatic in his conviction – the conviction of personal experience, that Sherman’s verdict, ‘War is Hell’ is the nearest thing to an adequate characterization of it that can happen.”

“‘In all reverence, War is hell – nothing else, and no effort to prevent war can be too assiduous or too costly.  The supreme effort of every people should be not to get out of war, but to keep out; - not to win a war, but to prevent it.’”  (Spalding, The Garden Island, June 1, 1920)

Colonel Zephaniah (Zeph) Swift Spalding fought in the US Civil War.  “The Colonel was in command of the famous Seventh New York Regiment, which was the second to reach Washington, even before the regular mobilization of the union troops. … “

“They found that Washington was practically a Southern city in sentiment and population – there were more Southerners than Union men there…”  (The Garden Island, June 1, 1920)

Spalding first enlisted in the 7th New York City Regiment. Within forty days, he had received a commission as a major in the 27th Ohio Regiment and held the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in that regiment at conclusion of that war.

It was reported that, because of his service record with the 27th Ohio during that war, he gained the favor and recommendation of Ohio Governor, David Todd, and, in 1867 was appointed by President Andrew Johnson to serve as American Consul to the Kingdom Hawaiʻi in Honolulu.

Spalding, born at Warren, Ohio, near Akron, September 2, 1837, was son of Rufus Paine Spalding - Representative and Speaker of the House of the Ohio Legislature, Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of Ohio and member of the US Congress.  Spalding was named after his father’s mentor, Zephaniah Swift, Chief Justice of Connecticut, whose daughter, Lucretia, was Zeph’s mother.

Shortly after the war, Zeph was tasked by Secretary of State William H Seward to serve as a ‘secret agent’ in Hawaiʻi (December 1867) to gauge “what effect the reciprocity treaty would have on future relations of the United States and Hawaiʻi.”  (They were weighing reciprocity versus annexation.)

His mission was said to have been known only to his father, Congressman RP Spalding, to Secretary Seward and to Senator Grimes of Iowa. His reports were made in the form of letters to his father, who delivered them to Seward.

Spalding was strongly opposed to the reciprocity treaty, and was in favor of annexation, which he thought would be hastened by rejection of the treaty. (Kuykendall)  That treaty, under consideration over 3-years (1867-1870) failed to pass.

On July 25, 1868 Andrew Johnson in a message to the US Senate nominated “Zephaniah S. Spalding, of Ohio, to be consul of the United States at Honolulu, in place of Morgan L. Smith, resigned.”  (US Senate Journal) He served as such until June 1, 1869, when President Ulysses S Grant suspended Spalding and nominated Thomas Adamson, Jr to replace him.

Soon after leaving the consulate in Honolulu, Spalding associated himself with Kamehameha V, Minister Hutchison and Captain James Makee in a sugar venture on the island of Maui.

Spalding's association and work with the West Maui Sugar Association apparently caused a personal change of heart, transforming him into a strong supporter of reciprocity, and, in 1870, he wrote to President Grant suggesting …”

“… ‘to admit duty free Sugar’ and other articles from Hawaiʻi, in exchange that the Hawaiian Government grant or lease “sufficient land and water privileges upon the Island of Oahu near the port of Honolulu … to establish a Naval Depot”.  (Papers of Ulysses S Grant, September 27, 1870)

On July 18, 1871, Spalding married Wilhelmina Harris Makee, first-born daughter of Captain James Makee, at McKee’s Rose Ranch in Ulupalakua, Maui.  In that same year, Makee's eldest son, Parker, took over management of the West Maui Sugar Association.

Zephaniah and Wilhelmina had five children: Catharine “Kitty” Lucretia Spalding; Rufus Paine Spalding; Julia “Dudu” Makee Spalding; Alice “Flibby” Makee Spalding and James "Jimmy" Makee Spalding.

The Treaty of Reciprocity finally passed in 1875, eliminating the major trade barrier to Hawai‘i’s closest and major market.  The US negotiated an amendment to the Treaty of Reciprocity in 1887 giving the US exclusive right to establish and maintain a coaling and repair station at Pearl Harbor.

In 1876, Captain Makee and Col. ZS Spalding purchased Ernest Krull’s cattle ranch in Kapaʻa, intending to start a sugar plantation and mill.  After a brief stay in San Francisco (1875-1878) Spalding returned to the Islands, living on Kauai. Where Makee was already operating the Makee Sugar Company and mill at Kapaʻa.

King Kalākaua and others formed a hui (partnership) to raise cane.  About the first of August, 1877, members of Hui Kawaihau moved to Kauai.  Makee had an agreement to grind their cane.

Upon Makee’s death in 1879, Spalding took over management of the new sugar venture.  Spalding also started the neighboring Keālia Sugar Plantation, in which King Kalākaua had a 25% interest. The Kapaʻa mill was closed in 1884, and all processing was done at Keālia. (In 1916, Colonel Spalding sold a majority of his holdings to the Līhuʻe Plantation Company, which kept the Keālia mill in operation until 1934, when it was dismantled and sent by rail to Lihue to become Mill "B".)

 In the 1880s, Spalding built the "Valley House," a Victorian-style wooden mansion, one of the finest on the island.

From 1877 to 1881, Hui Kawaihau was one of the leading entities on the eastern side of the Island of Kauaʻi, growing sugar at Kapahi, on the plateau lands above Kapaʻa.  (In 1916, Colonel Spalding sold his holdings to the Līhuʻe Plantation Company.)

On October 30, 1889, having traveled to Paris as the appointed representative of the Hawaiian Government, Spalding was presented the French order and ribbon of the Legion of Honor (Chevalier) during 1889 Universal Exposition in Paris.

Prior to the turn of the 19th century, Spalding had already developed a unique diffusion process for the refining of sugar at the Keālia Mill and was processing 24-hours a day. In 1900, with the construction of a new mill from Australia, sugar production was greatly increased.

Spalding expanded his business interests in Hawaiʻi, US and Europe.  In 1895, the idea of a Pacific communication cable caught his interest.

He formed the Pacific Cable Company of New Jersey and on August 12, 1895, he entered into agreement with the Republic of Hawaiʻi “to construct or land upon the shores of the Hawaiian group a submarine electric telegraph cable or cables to or from any point or points on the North American Continent or any island or islands contiguous thereto.”  (Congressional Record)

However, a rival company, Pacific Cable Company of New York formed to compete with him.  Congress split its support, the Senate favored Spalding and the House favored his rival.  In the end the two projects killed each other off.  (Pletcher)

“I tried to bring it about some years ago. We had a concession from the Hawaiian Government which we proposed to turn over to any company that might be formed under the auspices of the United States, but we could not get the aid of the United States in building the cable, and, of course, there was not enough business to attempt it without that.”  (Congressional Record)

(Ultimately, in 1902, the first submarine cable across the Pacific was completed (landing in Waikīkī at Sans Souci Beach; the first telegraph message carried on the system was sent from Hawaiʻi and received by President Teddy Roosevelt on January 2, 1903 (that day was declared “Cable Day in Hawaiʻi.”))

Spalding expanded his business interests in Hawaiʻi, US and Europe. During part of this time, Spalding moved his family to Europe to provide his children with a European education and Wilhelmina, “an accomplished musician,” who had suffered a debilitating stroke, with access to “concerts, opera and other musical events.” (Diffley)

In 1924, due to his failing health, Spalding left Kauai for California, to live with his son, James Makee Spalding, in the family home on Grand Avenue in Pasadena.  The last few years of his life were spent in California due to failing health, and he died in Pasadena on June 19, 1927 at the age of 89.

On the afternoon of April 20, 1930, a monument was dedicated to Col ZS Spalding, built by his Keālia Japanese friends. It is located at the corner of what was then known as Main Government Road and Valley House Road, a high point within the lands of the Makee Sugar Plantation. (Garden Island April 22, 1930)  (Lots of information also from Tyler.)

The image shows Zephaniah Swift Spalding.   In addition, I have included more related images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

Follow Peter T Young on Facebook 

Follow Peter T Young on Google+ 

Follow Peter T Young on LinkedIn   

© 2015 Hoʻokuleana LLC

Monday, February 2, 2015

Old Mission School House

“Very soon I gathered up 12 or 15 little native girls to come once a day to the house so that as early as possible the business of instruction might be commenced. That was an interesting day to me to lay the foundation of the first school ever assembled”.  (Sybil Bingham)

“Mother Bingham … teaching at first in her own thatched house, later in one room of the old frame house still standing on King Street … until the station report of 1829 finally records, in the Missionary Herald of September, 1830:”

“As evidence of some progress among the people, we are happy to mention the erection of a large school house, 128 feet in length by 37 feet in breadth, for the accommodation of our higher schools, or classes, on the monitorial plan.” (The Friend, December 1, 1924)

“That such structures of native thatch were frail and temporary is evidenced by the next mention of this huge school house which was more than twice as long as the present one, its successor.”

“The fine large school house built at our station was blown down last fall and all the benches, doors, etc., were crushed in the ruins. It was altogether too large, 120 feet long - badly lighted, having no glass windows, the seats and desks of the rudest kind imaginable”.

“Mr Bingham has succeeded in inducing the natives to rebuild it, and when I left home, the work had commenced. It will he almost 66 feet by 30. It will be more permanent than before, and as it is for the accommodation of the weekly meetings, it will be a very useful building."  (Judd, October 23, 1833; The Friend)

"When I was little, very little, I mean, we always spoke of that adobe school house as Mrs Bingham's school house. The Hawaiians and everybody always thought of it and spoke of it as her school house, because she was the only one of the mission mothers who could manage to carry on school work even part of the time.”  (The Friend, December 1, 1924)

“I cannot tell you when the old school house was first opened for a Hawaiian school. It must have been when I was very little, perhaps even before I was born. But I do know that Mrs Bingham and occasionally some of the other ladies taught the Hawaiian Mission School there all the year, until it came time for the general meeting of the Mission in May or June.”

“That was the time when the whaleships might be expected from around the Horn, and if there was to be a reinforcement of the mission, it was appropriate to have it arrive when all the members of the mission were gathered at Honolulu.”  (Henry Parker, Pastor of Kawaiahaʻo Church; The Friend)

“We have a very good school house built of mud and plastered inside and out with lime made of coral. It is thatched with grass, has a floor, seats and benches in front to write upon… All our scholars assemble in it and after prayers the native teachers take their scholars into the old grass meeting house, leaving us with about 60, which we manage ourselves.” (Juliette Cooke; The Friend)

“(T)his old room speaks so unmistakably of other days, of other modes of building as of other modes of thought, that one is led instinctively to make inquiry into its origins.”  (Ethel Damon; The Friend)

“The desks were long benches, running from the center aisle to the side of the long single room of the building. Attached to the back of each seat or bench was the sloping desk or table, at a proper height for the sitter, and under this desk, was a shelf for books, slates, etc.”

“The school furniture was all made of soft white pine and it was not long before it began to show that not even missionary boys with sharp knives could resist the temptation to do a little artistic carving.”  (William Richards Castle; The Friend)

The early Mission School House, built about 1833-35 was also the regular meeting place of the annual missionary gathering, known as the “General Meeting.” This building stood south of Kawaiahaʻo Church, at the foot of a lane.  (Lyons)

Very prominent in the old mission life was the annual “General Meeting” where all of the missionary families from across the Islands gathered at Honolulu from four to six weeks.

“The design of their coming together would naturally suggest itself to any reflecting mind. They are all engaged in one work, but are stationed at various and distant points on different portions of the group, hence they feel the necessity of occasionally coming together, reviewing the past, and concerting plans for future operations.”  (The Friend, June 15, 1846)

The primary object of this gathering was to hold a business meeting for hearing reports of the year's work and of the year's experiences in more secular matters, and there from to formulate their annual report to the Board in Boston.

Another important object of the General Meeting was a social one. The many stations away from Honolulu were more or less isolated-some of them extremely so.  (Dole)

Later (1852,) the Hawaiian Mission Children’s Society (HMCS – members were typically referred to as ‘Cousins’) was formed in the Old Mission School House as a social organization, as well as to lend support for the Micronesian mission getting started at the time.  (Forbes)

At its first annual meeting its president spoke of its year's survival as having been “amid the sneers of a few, the fears of some, and the ardent hopes and warm good wishes of many.” It is pleasant to feel that sneers have been hushed, fears have been banished and that hopes have been largely realized.  (Annual Report of HMCS, 1892)

In 1855, Ann Eliza Clark became a bride in the old school house to young Orramel Gulick, the second president of HMCS.  “I was only seven or eight, too little to be allowed to take any part; but I can tell you it was the most wonderful wedding I ever saw in all my life.”

“I can remember all of the bride’s party. There was Charles Kittredge and William Gulick, and Caroline and Sarah Clark. The two girls wore little leis of papaia buds in their hair. I had worked hard all day stringing those leis, so that they should be just right, without any broken petals.”

“I was too little to be privileged to adorn the bride with jasmine buds and her veil, but I remember her lei, too, just as well as if I had strung it myself - it was made of jasmine, of the just-opening buds. And that wedding was the most wonderful one I ever saw in all my life." (Julia Ann Eliza Gulick, sister of the groom; The Friend)

In 1895, the Free Kindergarten and Children's Aid Association was formed, one of Hawaiʻi’s first eleemosynary organizations.  It offered the first teacher training program and free kindergarten to all of Hawaiʻi’s children.

Some of the children were taught in the old Mission School House, “the great single room … on Kawaiahaʻo Street. Cool, spacious, dignified, generous in the proportions of its ample length and breadth, of its lofty ceiling, of its deeply recessed windows….” (The Friend, December 1, 1924)

The teacher training program was eventually moved to what became the University of Hawaiʻi, and the kindergartens were taken over by the Territorial Department of Education.  The image shows the Old Mission School House.

Follow Peter T Young on Facebook 

Follow Peter T Young on Google+ 

Follow Peter T Young on LinkedIn  

© 2015 Hoʻokuleana LLC

Sunday, February 1, 2015


In ancient times, native Hawaiians drew their water supplies from fresh water streams, springs, lakes and shallow wells.

For centuries, Hawaiians recognized the life giving qualities and significance and value of water to their survival.  Water is life; water is wealth.

You could draw water from only the upper parts of the stream. Bathing was to be done downstream. Damaging irrigation systems or harming the water source was severely punished. Water conservation was a preeminent law of the land.  (HBWS)

The Hawaiian word for ‘law’ is kānāwai - it is interesting to note that the literal translation of kānāwai is ‘relating to water.’  Traditional Hawaiian law initially developed around the management and use of water.  (Sproat)

The first laws or rules of any consequence that the ancient Hawaiians ever had are said to have been those relating to water.  The rules were undoubtedly simple at first.  The supply of water was usually ample to satisfy the requirements of the land; cultivation on a large scale for purposes of export was unknown. (Perry, Hawaiʻi Supreme Court)

In pre-Captain Cook times, taro played a vital role in Hawaiian culture. It was not only the Hawaiians’ staple food but the cultivation of kalo was at the very core of Hawaiian culture and identity.  The early Hawaiians probably planted kalo in marshes near the mouths of rivers.

Over years of expansion of kalo lo‘i (flooded taro patches) up slopes and along rivers, kalo cultivation in Hawai‘i reached a unique level of engineering and sustainable sophistication.  The irrigation systems enabled them to turn vast areas into farm lands, feeding a thriving population over the centuries before Westerners arrived.

Kalo lo‘i systems are typically a set of adjoining terraces that are typically reinforced with stone walls and soil berms. Wetland taro thrives on flooded conditions, and cool, circulating water is optimal for taro growth, thus a system may include one or more irrigation ditches, or ‘auwai, to divert water into and out of the planting area.  (McElroy)

Dams that diverted water from the stream were a low loose wall of stones with a few clods here and there, high enough only to raise water sufficiently to flow into the ʻauwai, which entered it at almost level.

The quantity of water awarded to irrigate the loʻi was according to the number of workers and the amount of work put into the building of the ʻauwai.  Water rights of others taking water from the main stream below the dam had to be respected, and no ʻauwai was permitted to divert more than half the flow from a stream.  (Handy & Handy)

In some ʻauwai, not all of the water was used; after irrigating a few patches, the ditch returned the remainder of the water to the stream.  (YaleLawJournal)  By rotation with others on the ʻauwai, a grower would divert water from the ʻauwai into his kalo. The next, in turn, would draw off water for his allotted period of time.  (KSBE)

Loʻi dependent on an ʻauwai also took their share of water in accordance with a time schedule, from a few hours at a time day or night up to two or three days. In times of drought the luna wai (water boss) had the right to adjust the sharing of available water to meet needs.  (Handy & Handy)

With ‘contact’ (arrival of Captain Cook in 1778,) Western influence played into the management and use.  Kingdom laws formalized and reduced Hawaiian customs and traditions to writing.

The Declaration of Rights and Constitution of 1839-40, which was the first Western-style constitution of the Hawaiian Kingdom, expressly acknowledged that the land, along with all of its resources, “was not (the King’s) private property. It belongs to the Chiefs and the people in common, of whom (the King) was the head and had the management of landed property.”

In 1860, an act was passed providing for the appointment in each election district throughout the Kingdom of three suitable persons to act as commissioners to decide on all controversies respecting rights of way and rights of water between private individuals or between private individuals and the government (the powers and duties of the commissioners were finally, by act of 1907, transferred to the circuit judges.) (Perry)

Then groundwater was pursued when James Campbell envisioned supplying the arid area of ʻEwa with water.  He commissioned California well-driller James Ashley to drill a well on his Honouliuli Ranch.  In 1879, Ashley drilled Hawaiʻi’s first artesian well; Campbell's vision had made it possible for Hawaiʻi's people to grow sugar cane on the dry lands of the ʻEwa Plain.

Subsequent well production expanded and diversified the collection and distribution of water.  (Now, nearly all of Hawaiʻi’s drinking water comes from groundwater sources.

Constitution amendments in the 1978 Constitutional Convention (later ratified by the people,) put water as a public resource.  Under the State Constitution (Article XI,) the State has an obligation to protect, control and regulate the use of Hawaii's water resources for the benefit of its people.

Ground and surface water resources are held in public trust for the benefit of the citizens of the state.  The people of Hawaiʻi are beneficiaries and have a right to have water protected for their use and/or benefit.

Legal challenges and subsequent decisions by the Hawaiʻi Supreme Court identified four public trust purposes: Maintenance of water in their natural state; Domestic water use of the general public, particularly drinking water; Exercise of Native Hawaiian traditional and customary rights; and Reservations of water for Hawaiian Home Lands.

In 1987, the State Water Code was adopted by the Hawaiʻi Legislature, which set in place various layers of protection for all waters in the Hawaiian Islands; it formed the Commission on Water Resource Management.

The Hawaiʻi Water Plan adopted by the Water Commission (that includes the Water Resource Protection Plan, Water Quality Plan, State Water Projects Plan, Agricultural Water Use and Development Plan and Water Use and Development Plans for each County) is critical for the effective and coordinated protection, conservation, development and management of the State's water resources.

A comment by an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court 100-years ago holds true today,  "Water rights are destined to play an important part in the future of Hawaiʻi as they have in its past.”

“The growth of urban communities and the agricultural development of the territory render inevitable the conservation and use in an increasing degree of the available waters, with probably consolidation of some rights and new distributions of others. The subject will lose none of its interest with the passage of time.”  (Perry)

We are reminded of the importance of respect and responsibility we each share for the environment and our natural and cultural resources - including our responsibility to protect and properly use and manage our water resources.

I was honored to have served for 4½-years as the Chair of the State’s Commission on Water Resource Management overseeing, managing and regulating the State’s water resources.

We are fortunate people living in a very special place.  Let's continue to work together to make Hawaiʻi a great place to live.

The image shows Loʻi kalo near Līhuʻe, Kauaʻi (Mitchell, Bishop Museum, ca. 1886.)  In addition, I have added other related images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

© 2015 Hoʻokuleana LLC