By 1874, Hilo ranked as the second largest population center in the islands. In 1910, H Hackfeld built a building spanning the entire block along Kamehameha Avenue; the two-story Hackfeld Building was the most substantial building in downtown Hilo when completed. Freiderich Wilheim “Fritz” Koehnen came to Hilo from Germany in 1909 to work for H Hackfeld Company.
In 1929, Koehnen and his wife, German-born Katherine Bocker, bought Hill Optical. They shut down the optical operation and started selling silverware, fine china, crystal and giftware as F Koehnen Ltd. Son-in-law Carl Rohner opened the furniture business in 1946. Fred J Koehnen, son of Fritz, oversaw the jewelry and giftware division; Rohner oversaw furniture sales. After 83-years and three generations in business, Koehnen’s closed at the end of 2012.