Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Richard Armstrong

By the time the Pioneer Company of American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) Protestant missionaries arrived in 1820, Kamehameha I had died and the centuries-old kapu system had been abolished.

The missionaries first lived in the traditional Hawaiian hatched house, the hale pili.  In addition to their homes, the missionaries had grass meeting places and, later, churches.  One of the first was on the same site as the present Kawaiahaʻo Church.

On December 31, 1820, Levi Sartwell Loomis, son of Elisha and Maria Loomis (the first white child born in the Sandwich Islands) and Sophia Moseley Bingham, daughter of Hiram and Sybil Bingham (the first white girl born on Oʻahu) were baptized.

Within a year, Hiram Bingham began to preach in the Hawaiian language.  4-services a week were conducted (3 in Hawaiian and 1 in English.)    Congregations ranged from 100 – 400; by the end of the year, the thatched church was expanded.

Between 1836 and 1842, Kawaiahaʻo Church was constructed.  Revered as the Protestant “mother church” and often called “the Westminster Abbey of Hawai‘i” this structure is an outgrowth of the original Mission Church founded in Boston and is the first foreign church on O‘ahu (1820.)

Kawaiahaʻo Church was designed and founded by its first pastor, Hiram Bingham.  Hiram left the islands on August 3, 1840 and never saw the completed church.  Reverend Richard Armstrong replaced Bingham as pastor of Kawaiahaʻo.

Richard Armstrong was born in 1805 in Pennsylvania, the youngest of 10-children; he attended three years at Princeton Theological Seminary.  He married Clarissa Chapman, September 25, 1831; was ordained at Baltimore, Maryland, October 27, 1831; and sailed from New Bedford, Massachusetts, November 26, 1831 for Hawaiʻi.

Armstrong was with the Fifth Company of missionaries (which included the Alexanders, Emersons, Forbes, Hitchcocks, Lymans, Lyons, Stockton and others. They arrived on May 17, 1832.

Shortly after arrival, Clarissa wrote about a subject most suspect was not a part of the missionary lifestyle … On October 31, 1832, she noted, “Capt Brayton has given me a little beer cask - it holds 6 quarts - Nothing could have been more acceptable.”

“I wanted to ask you for one, but did not like to. O how kind providence has been & is to us, in supplying our wants. The board have sent out hops - & I have some beer now a working. I should like to give you a drink.”

Armstrong was stationed for a year at the mission in Marquesas Islands; he then replaced the Reverend Green as pastor of Kaʻahumanu Church (Wailuku) in 1836, supervised the construction of two stone meeting houses one at Haiku, and the other at Wailuku.  Reverend Green returned to replace Armstrong in 1840.

He was pastor of the Kawaiahaʻo Church in Honolulu from 1840 to 1848.  “Mr. Armstrong preached to congregations of twenty-five hundred and often three thousand people. The ground about the church looked like an encampment when the people came from valley and shore on horseback and spent their noon hour in the rush-covered basement awaiting the afternoon session.”  (The Friend, July 1932)

Following the re-raising of the Hawaiian flag above the Islands on July 31, 1843 for Ka La Hoʻihoʻi Ea - Sovereignty Restoration Day, religious services were held that evening in Kawaiahaʻo Church.

A sermon apropos of the occasion was preached by Rev. Richard Armstrong, the text being taken from Psalms 37, 3 – ‘Trust in the Lord and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.’ There could have been no question but that his hearers had been fed on that day.  (Thrum)

In 1848 Armstrong left the mission and became Minister of Public Instruction on June 7, 1848, following the death of William Richards. Armstrong was to serve the government for the remainder of his life. He was a member of the Privy Council and the House of Nobles and acted as the royal chaplain.

He set up the Board of Education under the kingdom in 1855 and was its president until his death.   Armstrong is known as the “the father of American education in Hawaiʻi.”

The government-sponsored education system in Hawaiʻi is the longest running public school system west of the Mississippi River.  To this day, Hawaiʻi is the only state to have a completely-centralized State public school system.

Armstrong helped bring better textbooks, qualified teachers and better school buildings.  Students were taught in Hawaiian how to read, write, math, geography, singing and to be “God-fearing” citizens. (By 1863, three years after Armstrong’s death, the missionaries stopped being a part of Hawaiʻi’s education system.)

The Armstrongs had ten children. Son William N Armstrong (King Kalākaua’s Attorney General) accompanied Kalākaua on his tour of the world, one of three white men who accompanied the King as advisers and counsellors (Armstrong, Charles H Judd and a personal attendant/valet.)

Armstrong and Judd were Kalākaua’s schoolmates at the Chiefs' Children's School in 1849.  (Marumoto)  “Thirty years afterward, and after three of our schoolmates had become kings and had died (Kamehameha IV & V and Lunalio) and two of them had become queens (Emma and Liliʻuokalani,) it so happened that Kalākaua ascended the throne, and with his two old schoolmates began his royal tour.”  (Armstrong)

Another Armstrong son, Samuel Chapman Armstrong, became a Union general in the American Civil War and was founder of Hampton Agricultural and Industrial School (later called the Hampton Institute, then Hampton University.)  (King Kalākaua visited Hampton Normal and Agricultural School on one of his trips to the continent.)

Among the school’s famous alumni is Dr Booker T Washington, who became an educator and later founded Tuskegee Institute.  President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation was read to local freedmen under the historic “Emancipation Tree,” which is still located on the campus today.

Richard Armstrong’s home was a stone building on Beretania adjoining Washington Place (called “Stonehouse,” named after the residence of Admiral Richard Thomas in England.  It later served as temporary facilities at different times for what became St. Louis and Punahou Schools.

Reverend Richard Armstrong died on September 23, 1860; on his way to preach in Kāneʻohe “he had been thrown from his horse and seriously hurt. He was a good rider, but the horse had been suddenly startled and a girth gave way.”

He is buried “in the shadow of the great Kawaiahaʻo church where he had preached for so many years.”  Clarissa, moved to California in 1880; she died in 1891 (the reverse of her tombstone says “Aloha.”)

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

© 2014 Hoʻokuleana LLC

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

ʻĀina Mauna

ʻĀina Mauna, or mountain lands, reflects a term used affectionately by elder Hawaiians to describe the upper regions of all mountain lands.

In pre-Contact times, these upper forested lands were left relatively untouched, as they were integral to the functioning of the ahupua‘a due to the water they provided to the lowlands. These upland forests were considered wao akua ("realm of the gods") and were therefore protected by kapu.  (Iwashita)

Small cultivated areas were located primarily in the lowlands, which were extensively cleared for agriculture.  Most permanent settlement initially was near the ocean and at sheltered beaches, which provided access to good fishing grounds, as well as facilitating convenient canoe travel.

Koa tree canoe logs were cut from the ʻĀina Mauna; it is estimated that it takes up to 125-years or more to grow a koa tree large enough for a voyaging canoe.

Traditional dwellings (hale pili) were constructed of native woods lashed together with cordage most often made from olonā. Pili grass was a preferred thatching. Lauhala (pandanus leaves) or ti leaf bundles, called pe‘a, were other covering materials used.

In addition, implements incorporated into hula were made of wood and other forest products.  Weapons used wood products for spears, daggers, clubs, shark tooth and other wooden weapons.

With ‘Contact’ came changes to the ʻĀina Mauna.

In 1778, Captain Cook left goats and pigs.  In 1793, Captain George Vancouver gave Kamehameha cattle (which he placed a kapu on to allow herds to grow.)  In 1803, American Richard Cleveland presented horses ‐ a stallion and a mare ‐ to Kamehameha.

The goats, pigs and cattle started to have negative impacts on the Islands’ mauka lands.

On top of that, ʻiliahi (sandalwood) became first recognized as a commercial product in Hawai‘i in 1791 by Captain Kendrick of the Lady Washington, when he instructed sailors to collect cargo of sandalwood.

Trade in Hawaiian sandalwood began in the early-1790s; by 1805 it had become an important export item. Unfortunately, the harvesting of the trees was not sustainably managed (they cut whatever they could, they didn’t replant) and over-harvesting of ʻiliahi took place.

By 1830, the trade in sandalwood had completely collapsed.  Hawaiian forests were exhausted and sandalwood from India and other areas in the Pacific drove down the price in China and made the Hawaiian trade unprofitable.

Through King Kamehameha III's Act No. 2, Chapter III, Article I, Chapter VI, Section VII of April 27, 1846, ‘forestry’ began in Hawaiʻi.

“The forests and timber growing therein, shall be considered as government property, and under the special care of the minister of the interior, who may from time to time convert the products thereof into money for the benefit of government.”

By the late-1800s, the sugar industry had been lobbying for forest protection, as the cattle grazing and denudation of upland forests threatened the water supply critical to sustaining the sugar economy.

A lasting legacy of that era was the implementation of the Forest Reserve System, created by the Territorial Government of Hawai’i through Act 44 on April 25, 1903.

That year, on May 13, 1903, the Territory of Hawaiʻi, with the backing of the Hawaiʻi Sugar Planters' Association, established the Board of Commissioners of Agriculture and Forestry.  (HDOA)  By 1930, a million acres of land – nearly 25% of Hawaii’s land area – were in the Forest Reserve System.

Forest reserves were useful for two primary purposes: water production for the Territory's agricultural industries, and timber production to meet the growing demand for wood products.

The forest reserve system should not lead to "the locking up from economic use of a certain forest area." Even in critical watersheds the harvesting of old trees "is a positive advantage, in that it gives the young trees a chance to grow, while at the same time producing a profit from the forests. (Ralph Sheldon Hosmer; LRB)

And, forests are not just about trees.

Virtually all our fresh water comes from the forest, also clean air, recreation areas, habitat for native species, plants for cultural practices and woods for fine arts are among the thousands of forest benefits.

Our forests present endless opportunities for both residents and visitors; Hawaii’s forests offer employment, recreation and resources – including ecological goods and services.

Ecological goods include clean air, and abundant fresh water; while ecological services include purification of air and water, plant and wildlife habitat, maintenance of biodiversity, decomposition of wastes, soil and vegetation generation and renewal, groundwater recharge, greenhouse gas mitigation and aesthetically pleasing landscapes.

Water, wildlife and wood are just a few of the products found in our forests.

A little side note related to the ʻĀina Mauna … we prepared the ʻĀina Mauna Legacy Program, its Implementation Work Plan  and Environmental Assessment for the Hawaiian Homes Commission (they unanimously approved all.)

The ‘Āina Mauna Legacy Program is DHHL’s long‐range planning document geared to restore and protect approximately 56,000‐acres (about ¼-of all the DHHL lands in the Islands) of native Hawaiian forest on Mauna Kea that is ecologically, culturally and economically self‐sustaining for the Hawaiian Home Lands Trust, its beneficiaries and the community.

We were honored and proud when our planning document, the ‘Āina Mauna Legacy Program, received awards: the “Environment/Preservation Award” from the American Planning Association‐Hawai‘i Chapter and the “Koa: Standing the Test of Time Award” by the Hawai‘i Forest Industry Association.  The image shows some forest of the ʻĀina Mauna.

© 2014 Hoʻokuleana LLC

Monday, December 29, 2014


A messenger sent by Maui,
Sent to bring Kane and his set,
Kane and Kanaloa, Kauokahi,
And Maliu.
Throwing out sacred influences, uttering prayers,
Consulting oracles, Hapuʻu the god of the king.
The great fish-hook of Maui,
The whole earth was the fish-line bound by the knot
(A Song for Kualiʻi – Kualiʻi was a celebrated chief of Oahu, who reigned in about 1700 AD. (Journal of the Polynesian Society))

The demi-god Māui is the subject of extraordinary stories throughout Polynesia. In many of the accounts he is a mischievous trickster, stealing the secret of fire and helping his mother to dry kapa by lassoing the sun to slow its progression across the sky.  (Bishop Museum)

A Manaiakalani story suggests that Maui pulled up the islands by tricking his brothers into letting him come out to fish with them.

The brothers never took him out because whenever they did he would catch a scrawny little fish.  He said he sought to prove that he is as skilled as they were.

He prepares the sacred hook, baiting it with the wing of the pet bird of the goddess Hina. Māui tells his brothers that once he starts to haul in the catch, not to look back until he is finished.

Māui casts the hook into the water and catches the enormous ulua fish Pimoe.

The brothers strain against the fish and soon parts of Pimoe are above the surface of the water, immediately turning to stone. The brothers cannot resist any longer and turn around to see their catch.

But when they do, the line breaks and rather than one enormous island, Māui, the earth-fisher, is only able to raise up the eight separate Islands of Hawaiʻi.

Another story related to Manaiakalani tells of Māui’s attempt to rearrange the Islands of the group and assemble them into one solid mass.”

“Having chosen his station at Kaʻena Point, the western extremity of Oʻahu, from which the island of Kauai is clearly visible on a bright day, he cast his wonderful hook, Mana-ia-ka-Iani, far out into the ocean that it might engage itself in the foundations of Kauai.”

“When he felt that it had taken a good hold, he gave a mighty tug at the line. A huge boulder, the Pōhaku O Kauai, fell at his feet.”

“The mystic hook, having freed itself from the entanglement, dropped into Pālolo Valley and hollowed out the crater, that is its grave.”  (Manaiakalani, therefore, formed Kaʻau Crater.) (Emerson)

Finally, in frustration, Māui throws his hook into the sky where it becomes a constellation, still easy to see in the spring and summer months, known by Western astronomers as the tail of Scorpio.  (Bishop Museum)

In the Hawaiian sky of Kau (summer season, May to October), Manaiakalani (The Chief's Fishline) is visible for most of the night, just as Ke Ka o Makali‘i (The Canoe- Bailer of Makali'i) is visible for most of the night in the sky of Hoʻoilo (winter season, November to April.)

Like other stars and groups of stars, Manaiakalani is used in celestial navigation as directional clues when they rise and set. On cloudy nights, when only parts of the sky are visible, navigators may recognize isolated stars or star groups and imagine the rest of the celestial sphere around them.  The image shows a depiction of Maui and Manaiakalani.

© 2014 Hoʻokuleana LLC

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Isabella Bird, Estes Park … and Hawaiʻi

“She was continuously being reminded of experiences in the Sandwich Islands and the event of her travels seemed to have been the ascent of the volcano of Kilauea” … she wanted to climb Long’s Peak (near Estes Park, Colorado.)    (Mills)

Whoa … let’s look back.

Isabella Bird was born in England in 1831. Her father was a Church of England minister.  She was very sick as a child and she spent most of her life struggling with various illnesses.  In 1850 Bird had an operation to remove a tumor from her spine, which was only partially successful.

Her doctor recommended that she travel; so, in 1854, when she was just 23 her father gave her 100 pounds and said she could visit family in the US until her money ran out.  Bird headed to America, and then published her first book about the experience in 1856.

This was just the beginning of her travels, she couldn’t stand the thought of being cooped up at home, she just wanted to travel and write. So she traveled to Canada, then Scotland and Australia.

Bird then spent six months in the Sandwich Islands (Hawaiʻi) – the title to another of her books - she climbed an active volcano and then travelled to Colorado.  (Walsh)

First, her impressions of Hawaiʻi …

“I was travelling for health, when circumstances induced me to land on the group (Sandwich Islands,) and the benefit which I derived from the climate tempted me to remain for nearly seven months.”

“During that time the necessity of leading a life of open air and exercise as a means of recovery, led me to travel on horseback to and fro through the islands, exploring the interior, ascending the highest mountains, visiting the active volcanoes and remote regions which are known to few even of the residents, living among the natives, and otherwise seeing Hawaiian life in all its phases.”

“I had so completely lived the island life, and acquainted myself with the existing state of the country, as to be rather a kamaʻāina than a stranger”.  (Bird, 1875)

“The undeserved and unexpected kindness shown me here, as everywhere on these islands, renders my last impressions even more delightful than my first ("Bright blossom of a summer sea! Fair Paradise of the Pacific!”)

“The people are as genial as their own sunny skies, and in more frigid regions I shall never sigh for the last without longing for the first. ... Farewell for ever, my bright tropic dream! Aloha nui to Hawaii-nei!”  (Bird)

“The open-air life is most conducive to health, and the climate is absolutely perfect, owing to its equability and purity.  Whether the steady heat of Honolulu, the languid airs of Hilo, the balmy breezes of Onomea, the cool bluster of Waimea, or the odorous stillness of Kona, it is always the same.”

“The grim gloom of our anomalous winters, the harsh malignant winds of our springs, and the dismal rains and overpowering heats of our summers, have no counterpart in the endless spring-time of Hawaiʻi.”  (Bird)

While in the Islands, Bird learned about a place that supposedly was “the most beautiful country in all of the Americas”. She set out for Colorado, heading to the mountain town of Estes Park.

Gold had been discovered in Colorado in 1859. Among the thousands of adventurers who joined the rush was a Missouri native named Joel Estes. Joel moved his wife Patsy and their four other children to the mountains year-round in 1863. His son Milton had married and fathered two sons by then. The first known white child born in Estes Park was Milton’s third son in February, 1865.

The word “park” was in common usage at that time to describe an open area. William Byers, editor and publisher of the Rocky Mountain News, visited in September, 1864 to attempt a climb of Longs Peak. He wrote an account of his trip which included hospitality extended to him by the Estes family and extolled the virtues of “Estes’ Park.”  (Estes Valley Library)

Like the draw of visitors to the natural wonders of Hawaiʻi, Estes Park drew guests to see the mountain wilderness.  After several sales of the property there, the 4th Earl of Dunraven arrived in late-December 1872.  He opened the area's first resort, the Estes Park Hotel.

It was about that time the Isabella Bird visited the valley.  As with her other adventures, Bird wrote a memoir of their travels.  Bird had seen Long’s Peak on first arriving in Estes Park “rising above (the other peaks) in unapproachable grandeur”.  (Long’s Peak is named for Major Stephen H Long who came to the mountains on a government scientific expedition in the summer of 1820.)

Fairly soon after her arrival, Bird ascended Long’s Peak with a local guide. Despite her bragging of physical feats and shows of courage elsewhere in her narrative, the difficulty of the climb to Long’s Peak seems to have mastered Bird. She writes: “‘Jim’ dragged me up, like a bale of goods, by sheer force of muscle”.  (DeVine)

“I have dropped into the very place I have been seeking, but in everything it exceeds all my dreams... The scenery is the most glorious I have ever seen, and is above us, around us, at every door.”  (Bird, A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains)

Bird's published letters and book were the first thorough account of a tourist experience in the area that later became Rocky Mountain National Park, and she praised everything from the cool temperatures to the brilliant sunsets and the dark evergreens.  (NPS)

Considering the influence of the book that told the story of her travels in Colorado, Bird might easily merit the label ‘Mother’ of Rocky Mountain National Park.  (The Rocky Mountain National Park was officially formed in 1915.)

Bird’s book sold like hotcakes, mostly in the eastern US and Britain, where a reading public just becoming interested in wilderness travel and conservation was hungry for news of far-flung scenery.  (NPS)  By the middle of the 1880s, there were sometimes 200 tourists a summer in Estes Park.

A giant boost in tourism to Estes Park came after the turn of the century with the arrival of Freelan Oscar Stanley in 1903 (he was co-inventor with his brother of the Stanley Steamer.)

Impressed by the beauty of the valley and grateful for the improvement of his health, he decided to invest his money - and himself - in the future of Estes Park. The first requirement was a first-class hotel; so, in 1909 he opened the Stanley Hotel. (NPS)

(A later guest to Estes Park and the Stanley Hotel was Stephen King (in room #217.)  The story of the Torrence family and the Overlook Hotel is one of the most well-known in horror (“The Shining.”)  The work of fiction was inspired by the Stanley.)

Bird stayed in Colorado for a little while before going home to England; and then a marriage offer that she didn’t want inspired her to travel throughout Japan, China, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia. She eventually succumbed and married an Edinburgh-based doctor John Bishop.

Bird has been featured in journals, magazines and books.  She has inspired plays, and even during her lifetime she was a legend. She wrote over a dozen books and hundreds of articles. (Walsh)

Again, of Hawaiʻi, it “is at last, as it was at first, Paradise in the Pacific, a blossom of a summer sea."  (Bird)   (As this post gets distributed, we are enjoying another winter visit to Estes Park.)

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

© 2014 Hoʻokuleana LLC

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Bombing the River of Fire

Like most Hawaiian eruptions, the eruptive activity was immediately preceded by a swarm of earthquakes, followed by tremor.  Mauna Loa (“Long Mountain”) began erupting at 6:20 pm on November 21, 1935.

The eruption started with a curtain of fountains near North Pit within the summit caldera, Mokuʻāweoweo. The vents migrated 2-miles down the northeast rift zone.

During the six days of the main event, fissures opened up along the northeast rift zone of the mountain, fountaining lava 200- to 300-feet into the air.

On November 26, the summit eruption died and the northeast rift activity was reduced to a single vent at the 11,400-foot elevation.  A small vent also opened up further below on the north flank of the mountain at the 8,600-foot elevation.  (USGS)

Lava flows from Mauna Loa were generally fast-moving and voluminous.  Lava moved relentlessly at a rate of five-miles each day; it pooled up between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa at about where the Saddle Road is situated.

The ponded lava eventually began to follow the lay of the land, a natural drainage ... Then, things “got interesting.”  Lava was heading directly toward Hilo. (USGS)

Dr. Thomas A Jaggar Jr, the government volcanologist, estimated that the flow would reach Hilo by January 9, 1936. He suggested using dynamite to collapse lava tubes near the source of the flow in order to stop or divert it.

Explosives were first suggested as a means to divert lava flows threatening Hilo during the eruption of 1881.  However, Jaggar’s plan of mule teams hiking the explosives up the mountain would take far too long - the lava flows were moving a mile a day.

Guido Giacometti, a friend of Jaggar, had suggested using US Army Air Corps bombers to precisely deliver explosives. Jaggar agreed, and the call was made.

The US Army Air Corps approved, and the mission and plans to strategically bomb Mauna Loa were set into motion. Lieutenant Colonel George Smith Patton was called on to oversee the Army operation.  (He’s the same Patton who would go on to WWII fame.)

Lava tubes are cooled and hardened outer crusts of lava which provide insulation for the faster-flowing, molten rock inside. Such a conduit enables lava to move faster and farther.

The theory was bombs would destroy the lava tubes, robbing lava of an easy transport channel and exposing more of the lava to the air, slowing and cooling it further.  (BBC)

On December 26, 1935, six Keystone B-3A bombers of the 23d Bomb Squadron and four Keystone LB-6A light bombers from the 72d Bomb Squadron joined the rendezvous circle in the predawn darkness off Diamond Head, and then headed to Hilo.

Jaggar briefed the crews on the methods he had in mind to divert the lava flow. He then flew over the volcano to assess the flows and select the right points for bombing.

8:30 am, December 27, 1935, the first five bombers departed on the bombing mission.  (A second flight of five aircraft was planned for the afternoon.)  Each plane carried two 300-pound practice bombs (for practice and sighting,) as well as two 600-pound Mk I demolition bombs (355 pounds of TNT each.)

The bombers opened formation and fell into a huge circle for a follow-the-leader dummy run over the target area.  They were flying at about 12,500-feet, not far above the 8,600-foot altitude of the volcano’s flows.

As the lead pilot tipped the control column forward for his run he lowered the wheels, so that by the time he neared the clump of koa trees which served as reference point his plane would be moving only a little faster than the 65-mph landing speed.

‘OK?’ he called to his bombardier as they began their climb after passing over the flow. Standard radio-voice procedure was unneeded. … ‘OK,’ the bombardier grunted.  (Johnson)

Five of the twenty bombs struck molten lava directly, most of the others impacted solidified lava along the flow channel margins; one of them turned out a dud.

“Colonel William C Capp, a pilot who bombed the lower target, reported direct hits on the channel, observing a sheet of red, molten rock that was thrown up to about 200′ elevation and that flying debris made small holes in his lower wing.”

“Bombs that impacted on solidified, vesicular pāhoehoe along the flow margin produced craters averaging 6.7-m diameters and 2.0-m depth….”  (Swopes)

“Pilots observed that several bombs collapsed thin lava tube roofs, although in no case was sufficient roof material imploded into the tube to cause blockage.”

Jagger wrote that “the violent release of lava, of gas and of hydrostatic pressures at the source robbed the lower flow of its substance, and of its heat.”

The lava stopped flowing on January 2, 1936.  The effectiveness of the lava bombing is disputed by some volcanologist.  (USGS)

Here’s a link to a video of the Army bombing runs in 1935.  (Lots of information here from Army, USGS, hawaii-gov, 4GFC, Johnson, Lockwood & Torgerson, Swopes and This Day in Aviation History.)

The image shows a Keystone B-3A Bomber, the type used in the bombing of the volcano above Hilo in 1935.  In addition, I have added others similar images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

Follow Peter T Young on Facebook 

Follow Peter T Young on Google+ 

Follow Peter T Young on LinkedIn  

© 2014 Hoʻokuleana LLC

Friday, December 26, 2014

Boudoir Serenaders

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Secret Service did not have a vehicle with adequate protection, so President Roosevelt made use of a heavily armored Cadillac that was originally owned by gangster Al Capone – Roosevelt rode in it to give his “Infamy” speech to Congress the day after the attack.  (CBS)

Alphonse Gabriel Capone (“Al Capone,” “Scarface”) was born of an immigrant family in Brooklyn, New York on January 17, 1899.  He quit school after the sixth grade and later became a member of a notorious street gang. Johnny Torrio was the street gang leader, among the other members was Lucky Luciano.

About 1920, Capone joined Torrio in Chicago where he had become an influential lieutenant in the Colosimo mob. The rackets spawned by enactment of the Prohibition Amendment, illegal brewing, distilling and distribution of beer and liquor, were viewed as “growth industries.”

The mob also developed interests in legitimate businesses in the cleaning and dyeing field, and cultivated influence with receptive public officials, labor unions and employees’ associations.

Torrio soon succeeded to full leadership of the gang; in 1925, Capone became boss when Torrio, seriously wounded in an assassination attempt, surrendered control and retired to Brooklyn.

The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre on February 14, 1929, might be regarded as the culminating violence of the Chicago gang era, as seven members or associates of the “Bugs” Moran mob were machine-gunned against a garage wall by rivals posing as police. The massacre was generally ascribed to the Capone mob, although Al himself was in Florida.

On October 18, 1931, Capone was convicted of tax evasion and prohibition charges and served his sentence in the US Penitentiary in Atlanta and at Alcatraz.

After serving his term, suffering effects from syphilis, he had deteriorated greatly and became mentally incapable (in 1946, doctors concluded Capone then had the mentality of a 12-year-old child.)  He died of a stroke and pneumonia on January 25, 1947.  (FBI)

The Capone automobile link post-Pearl Harbor attack noted above is not the only connection of the gangster to the Islands.

Al Capone’s brother, Ralph, liked Hawaiian music.  His reputed favorite Hawaiian musician was Johnny Kaʻaihue (Johnny Ukulele.)  Johnny left the Big Island in 1916 when Duke Kahanamoku hired him as a member of the band that accompanied the Duke’s surfing demonstrations in Atlantic City and other spots on the mainland.

When Johnny was in town, Ralph would let Johnny stay in a suite in one of the hotels run by the mob.

Besides being an entertainer, Johnny was also an expert swimmer, and when he wasn't playing music, he was appearing and competing against the likes of Johnny Weissmuller and Buster Crabbe.

But that’s not the extent of the connection of the Capones to Hawaiʻi.

It turns out Al Capone liked Hawaiian music, too.

Ralph Kolsiana was born on Oahu in 1912. When he was six, the family moved to Philadelphia, where there was a sizable Polynesian community, as there was in Atlantic City, Cleveland and Chicago.

His father played woodwinds with John Philip Sousa; he introduced his son to the Royal Hawaiian School of Music in Philadelphia, where Ralph and his brother John were taught by Jimmy Kahanalopua and Henry Kamanuwai.

At some point in the late-twenties the two brothers entered a talent show, the Major Bowes Amateur Show, and won the first prize of $1,000.

In the early thirties the two of them and Kamanuwai were invited to play at the Steel Pier in Atlantic City, as part of a large group called Aldridge’s Steel Pier Hawaiians.

Ralph Kolsiana was one of the early greats of the steel guitar but is largely unknown because he played clubs instead of radio dates and only recorded a handful of records – he also performed as the Ralph Kolsiana Islanders.

I’ll let Kolsiana tell the rest of the story …

“It was in the early 30s that we were hired by the infamous gangster Al Capone in Miami.”

“(H)e had us come and play on one of his small islands that were connected by small arch-type bridges in a group near the Miami Area.”

“You may find this as amusing as we did at the time, but he and his cohort were really hung up on Hawaiian music. We were to serenade his guests who stayed overnight in the master bedroom of his mansion.”

“This room had alcove-like sections which were closed in by beautiful blue velvet curtains. We would serenade them while they made love after the big party downstairs was over.”

“We did the same at his posh hotel suites in New York City. He called us his ‘Boudoir Serenaders.’”  (Kolsiana; Ruymers; Brookes)  The image is Al Capone.

© 2014 Hoʻokuleana LLC

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!!!

Wishing you and your loved ones peace, health, happiness and prosperity in the coming New Year!  Merry Christmas!!!

Click HERE for a link to Henry Kapono's – Merry Christmas to You.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Saved by Chairman Mao

Wake is a small tropical coral atoll in the Pacific Ocean consisting of three islands (Peale, Wake and Wilkes) enclosing a shallow, central lagoon and surrounded by a narrow fringing reef.

From reef to reef, the atoll is approximately 5 miles long and 2.5 miles wide.  The atoll lies just west of the International Date Line and is about 2,460-miles west of Hawaiʻi, 1,600-miles east of Guam and 700-miles north of Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands.

The location of Wake Island made it a strategic location for both the US and Japan.   It was recognized that if war broke out between Japan and the US, Wake could: provide for a defensive outpost; enable long range reconnaissance deep into enemy territory; enable the disruption of shipping; serve as staging ground for offensive operations and be utilized as an emergency air station.  (Butowsky)

In August 1941, Marine and civilian workers began to construct barracks, defensive fortifications and an airfield.  Wake Island was being transformed from a desolate expanse to a formidable military garrison.

In response to receiving coded messages indicating that Pearl Harbor was under attack, at 0650 on December 8 (December 7th Honolulu time,) 1941, a “call to arms” rang out across Wake.  Just hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Wake was targeted by the forces of the Imperial Japanese Navy.

Wake was defended by about 500-military personnel (about one-quarter of its intended size.)  In addition, there were about 1,200-civilian workers on the atoll.

The atoll's defenses included three artillery batteries, each with two 5-inch guns; three anti-aircraft batteries, each with four 3-inch guns; eighteen 50-caliber machine guns; and thirty 30-caliber machine guns, with an insufficient amount of military personnel to operate all of the weapons. (LOC)

Despite the earlier preparations, none of the defensive installations were sufficiently completed by the time of the Japanese attack.  (The facilities were estimated to have been only 65-percent finished.)

The first attack was successfully repelled. A secondary attack occurred on December 11, but a small force of American soldiers managed to once again fight the Japanese off.

The island finally fell on December 23, 1941; more than 700-Japanese were killed during the attacks, while only 52-US military personnel lost their lives.

(A sad side story notes that on October 7, 1943 when the Japanese saw subsequent invasion of Wake, Rear Admiral Shigematsu Sakaibara ordered the execution of the 98-American civilian’prisoners. They were taken to one side of the island and shot with machine guns.)

(One prisoner escaped and carved a memorial into a large rock “98 US PW 5-10-43;” it’s still there. This prisoner was caught and also executed shortly after.  After the war, Sakaibara and his subordinate, Lieutenant-Commander Tachibana, were sentenced to hang for this massacre.)

The result of losing the Battle of Wake Island in 1941 was 1,616-Americans being captured and most in turn being evacuated then to Japan and even China.  Among the survivors was William Lorin Taylor, a 24-year-old civilian construction worker who was signed on with Morrison-Knudsen Company for a nine-month construction job.

In January 1942, Taylor and hundreds of other civilian and military prisoners were shipped to mainland China in the cargo hold of an ocean liner. After 10-months at a POW camp on the Yangtze River, Taylor was moved to a larger camp nearby, where he spent the next 2 1/2 years.

Taylor and the other prisoners were aware that if US troops invaded Japan and China, the Japanese would likely kill their prisoners, and themselves, before surrendering. Fearing he would die if he didn't escape, Taylor was always on the lookout for a chance to flee. One finally came, when he and his fellow prisoners were loaded onto trains bound for the coast and, eventually, Japan.  (Griggs)

“It was May 9, 1945, in Shanghai, China.  We were being herded into railway cars like animals.  The talk was that we were being transferred to POW camps on the mainland Japan, camps that were notorious for their malicious treatment of prisoners – starving them, beating them, and working them to the bone.”

“I felt that this was not a good move for us.  This period of transit was my best – maybe my only – opportunity for escape and perhaps survival.  So I made a critical decision in that railway car.  Then I pulled out my pliers and got to work”. (Taylor)

"At about eleven o'clock that night, I started working on the window with my pliers.  There was a bedroll hung from the roof of the car and this partially shielded the upper half of my body as I worked on the window. Every half hour the guard would count us off.”

“One time when he came in, he shined his light twice on me. He must have become suspicious because the second time, he let it linger on me for awhile. I knew I was in a pretty tight spot and that he was watching me pretty closely, so I just pretended I was getting enough fresh air and then turned around and sat down. When I sat down, the guard turned his light off.”  (Taylor)

Aided by fellow prisoners who kept an eye on the guards, Taylor and another man (Jack Hernandez) climbed out the window of a cramped railway car about 1 am and leapt out. The train was moving about 40 mph, and Taylor injured his ankle in the fall. He was lucky; Hernandez broke his leg. Hearing search dogs, Taylor reluctantly left his friend behind and hobbled away alone. (Later, he learned Hernandez had survived the war.)

“I was captured three times. I'm not an especially brave person. And I don't think I really did anything special. I had luck and help.”  (Taylor)

Skirting villages, sleeping in wheat fields and aided by kindly peasants, Taylor made his way across China. Once he was captured by Chinese soldiers sympathetic to Japan, but escaped moments later, fleeing on a zigzag course to avoid gunshots.

The next day he was found by Communist Party troops, who he quoted as saying: “You're OK now, we are friends with the Americans.”   They ferried him to safety and, eventually, he had a meeting with their leader, Chairman Mao Tse-tung.

The two men had a brief conversation through an interpreter, during which Taylor praised the Chinese people and told Mao he would never forget their kindnesses. Three weeks later, Taylor was back home. Twelve days after that, US dropped the bomb on Hiroshima.

Taylor later wrote a book, ‘Rescued by Mao: World War II, Wake Island, and My Remarkable Escape to Freedom Across Mainland China.’  “He was an impressive man,” said Taylor. Of the Communists, he said simply, “They saved my life.”  (SF Chronicle)

After the war, Taylor, a devout Mormon, was asked to move to North Las Vegas to be the bishop of the Fourth Ward. He supervised the building of the Fourth Ward Chapel and served as bishop until 1960, when he became president of the Las Vegas North Stake.  He also served as Mayor of North Las Vegas from 1961-1968.

Taylor has Hawaiʻi ties.  In 1982, he moved to Hawaiʻi, where he continued his construction trade and built 90-homes on Maui (he reportedly lived in Upcountry.)  Involved in Boy Scouts wherever he lived, he was board chairman for the Maui Council for Eagle Scouts.

The Boy Scouts of America presented him with the Silver Beaver Award for his work with scouts in Las Vegas, Maui and Provo.  The Department of Navy awarded Taylor the Legion of Merit with a V for Valor.

He retired to Utah, his birth state, in the early 1990s.  Folks referred to him as the “Flag Man.” (He watched as the Japanese took down the American flag and stomped on it back in 1941. He never forgot that moment; he placed flag poles and American flags at many of the homes in his neighborhood and other homes.  (Daily Herald))  William Lorin Taylor was born May 18, 1917; he died May 25, 2011.

The image shows William Taylor with Mao Tse-tung.

©2014 Hoʻokuleana LLC

Monday, December 22, 2014

Lalani Village

"In this idyllic setting, you will thrill to the romance of Island yesterdays.  Delicious foods of the lūʻau will please the discriminating, Ancient Hula ... native maids ... weird chanting ... thumping gourds ... strumming ukulele ... plaintive Island melodies ... majestic palms ... quaint grass huts."

In 1932 George Paele Mossman opened the Lalani Hawaiian Village in Waikiki with demonstrations of traditional crafts, music and lūʻau as a way of preserving and teaching what he termed “Hawaiian lore that is fast vanishing.”

The village, conceived of as living museum, archive, school and tourist entertainment center, of 8-grass houses was erected on 1-acre and a program of classes (in Hawaiian language, hula, music, food preparation, surfing and fishing.)

For $2, the visitor received a 1-hour lecture on village life, followed by a lūʻau and a show, with performances led by the Mossman family.

Born March 28, 1891, Mossman was one of 11 children.  His father was Scottish and his mother, Nahua Kealoha, was Hawaiian. George grew up fluent in Hawaiian culture.  On January 21, 1910, Mossman married Rebecca G Kainapau.

The earliest written account of the life of George Mossman appeared in a Time magazine article describing a teenage Mossman’s attempt at the craft of violin making in 1908.

But it was not the violin that became Mossman’s musical instrument; Mossman turned his craftwork efforts to building ukuleles.

Mossman entered the ukulele business the year before the 1915 Pan Pacific International Exposition, in San Francisco.  The Exposition featured Hawaiian culture of music and dance - including a new and curious instrument, the ukulele.

As an ukulele maker, Mossman was a major influence during the golden era of ukulele popularity and innovation.  In 1927, he claimed to have perfected a ukulele which could be heard from half a mile away and yet still retain its clarity and tonal sweetness (he called it the Bell Tone.)

By 1933, he suspended the manufacture of ukuleles and devoted his time to Lalani Village.  Lalani Village was designed to look and feel like an ancient Hawaiian community, one that had existed before western contact and long before the development of Waikiki as a visitor destination.

Lalani Village was the first of its kind and “probably the first ‘Hawaiian cultural center’” ever “for what (Mossman) hoped would be a great cultural awakening”.  (Kealoha)

The Village, situated at the corner of Kalākaua and Paoakalani Streets (where the family was residing and now is the present site of the Waikiki Beach Marriott,) conducted hula and musical performances, featuring the entire Mossman family dressed in the fashion of the ancient aliʻi; Mossman himself in a loincloth and feather cape.

The family operation included every member of Mossman’s immediate family: his wife, Emma; several sons; and three daughters: Leilani, Piʻilani and Pualani.

Pualani was known for her “Volcano hula” dance, the highlight of the show. She would dance alone on a raised platform with another performer blowing fire and lighting a model of a volcano.   (Pualani later performed at the Hawaiian Room in the Hotel Lexington.)

It was “called the last stronghold of real Hawaiian culture. It is encircled by a high wail and every day a cross-section of life as lived by Hawaiians 200 years ago is reenacted. There are grass huts for the men and grass huts for the women.”

“The native dances, the language, the customs are taught and preserved. There is a heiau (temple), and an imu (underground oven) where pigs are roasted.”

“Guides take you from point to point, lecturing on a picturesque form of living that has practically disappeared. It is Mossman's idea to a preserve this culture through education.  (The News, Frederick Maryland, August 11, 1938)

In 1934 the hula teachers, kapa makers, and canoe builders were joined by the 87-year-old Kuluwaimaka, who became a resident of the village; Kuluwaimaka was court chanter for the King David Kalākaua.

There were also afternoon shows targeting the regularly arriving ocean liner passengers, where a presumably less elegant show that could be enjoyed for a mere 50 cents.  Also, for those who were residents or staying for a while, 40 hula lessons cost $10. Ukulele and language lessons were also available.

The Lalani village provided a restaurant, Lalani’s Poi Inn, where the visitors would adventure and where the kamaʻāina would savor genuine tradition.

A Lalani Village was considered for New York, as well.  An August 24, 1938 newspaper article noted, "Yes, I like this.  It will do.  I don't know just where it will be, but New York is the right place for it."  (Mossman quoted in the Free Lance-Star after a driving and aerial tour of Manhattan.)

During World War II, the military took over the property and used it for army bathhouses and a post exchange. The Mossmans finally reopened the village in 1946, and it stayed open until 1955 (the year Mossman died.)  (Lots of information here is from Imada, Tucker, Desmond, Reynolds and King.)

The image shows a Hula Show at Lalani Hawaiian Village. (ca. 1935) (Bishop Museum)   In addition, I have added other images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

Follow Peter T Young on Facebook  

Follow Peter T Young on Google+    

Follow Peter T Young on LinkedIn   

© 2014 Hoʻokuleana LLC

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Liberty Ship SS Quartette

Liberty ships were cargo ships built in the US during World War II. They were inexpensive and quick to build, and used for deliveries of war materiel to Britain and to the Soviet Union.

Liberty ships were products of early prefabricated mass production, in large part an industrial response to wartime needs and a definite response to the threat of submarine attacks against merchant vessels.

Eighteen American shipyards built 2,751 Libertys between 1941 and 1945, easily the largest number of ships produced to a single design.  (Ships had an original design life of five years.)

They were relatively simple in design and operation, reducing both construction time and time needed to train engineers. The Liberty ships and their crews of merchant seamen faced, and some falling victim to, surprise attacks from unseen enemy submarines.

The first Liberty ships required about 230 days to build, but the average eventually dropped to 42 days. The record was set by SS Robert E. Peary, which was launched 4 days and 15½ hours after the keel was laid.

The ships were made assembly-line style, from prefabricated sections. In 1943, three Liberty ships were completed daily. They were usually named after famous Americans, starting with the signatories of the Declaration of Independence.

The keel of the USS James Swan was laid June 23, 1944 and launched in Savannah, Georgia, August 12, 1944; she was built for the US Maritime Commission by the Southeastern Ship Building Corporation.

James Swan was a member of the Sons of Liberty and participated in the Boston Tea Party. Swan was twice wounded at the Battle of Bunker Hill, he later became secretary of the Massachusetts Board of War and the legislature.

During the time he held that office, he helped fund the Continental Army. After the American Revolution, Swan privately assumed the entire United States French debts at a slightly higher interest rate (which he later sold.) The US no longer owed money to foreign governments, although it continued to owe money to private investors both at home and in Europe.

Following the war, the USS James Swan was sold to Standard Steamship Company of Wilmington Delaware and used to deliver freight.  She was renamed the Quartette.

The Quartette was a three-masted single-screw triple-expansion steam engine vessel, 422-feet long, 57-feet in beam, and with a draft 35 feet deep. Her two water-tube boilers and triple expansion engine were capable of 2,500 horse power.  She had three cargo holds forward and two aft.

In 1952, the Quartette was chartered by the Military Sea Transportation Service and en route from Galveston Texas to Pusan, South Korea (via an interim stop at Honolulu) with a load of 9,000-tons of milo yellow grain, consigned to the US Army.

Then, at 7:10 am on the morning of December 21, 1952, navigation fixes had placed the ship some nine to ten miles further away from any danger – it was wrong.

The lookout had reported a line of white breakers to the chief mate shortly after 7:00 AM, but allegedly no action to avoid the approaching obstacle was taken.

Then, heavy seas and 35-mph winds drove the 7,200-ton SS Quartette into the eastern reef crest of Pearl and Hermes Atoll, damaging two forward holds.

The ship was firmly aground, but in no immediate danger of sinking.  Attempts to back the vessel off from the reef with the engines failed.

The Navy dispatched a Catalina flying boat and 170-foot patrol craft from Midway. Thirty-six crewmen were rescued on the following day, thirty-three of them being taken to Midway Island. The ship's captain and two others (the chief engineer and radio operator) remained standing by on the patrol boat, waiting for the salvage tug.

The Ono arrived on December 25th; seas were expected to increase as a storm passed to the northwest, raising concerns that salvage efforts would be postponed.

In an effort to stabilize the vessel, anchors were dropped and a tow line attached.   On January 3rd, the tug's anchors parted at the shank, and the Quartette was blown broadside onto the reef.

She was deemed unsalvageable, a total loss.

Weeks later the ship broke her back (keel) and snapped in two, the bow portion forward of the superstructure was pushed into the shallow lagoon, and the stern and midsection (where engine was) remained in deeper water.

After three successive investigations (2007, 2008 & 2010,) teams of maritime archaeologists documented the shipwreck. Debris of the ship are scattered across the reef, including an impressive propeller, steering gear, triple-expansion steam engine and 4 massive anchors.

The image shows the Quartette on Pearl and Hermes reef.  I have added other images to a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

Follow Peter T Young on Facebook  

Follow Peter T Young on Google+  

Follow Peter T Young on LinkedIn   

© 2014 Hoʻokuleana LLC

Saturday, December 20, 2014


Holoikauaua (literally, Hawaiian monk seal that swims in the rough) is a large oval coral reef with several internal reefs and seven sandbar/islets above sea level along the southern half of the atoll. The land area is just under 100-acres (surrounded by more that 300,000-acres of coral reef) and is 20-miles across and 12-miles wide.

The highest point above sea level is about 10-feet; the islets are periodically washed over when winter storms pass through the area.

Holoikauaua (estimated age is 26.8-million years) is a true atoll, fringed with shoals, permanent emergent islands and sandy islets.  These features provide vital dry land for monk seals, green turtles and a multitude of seabirds, with 16-species breeding here.

Seal Island lies just inside the reef, in the southwestern section of the lagoon.  It is 1,400-feet from east to west, and 300-feet wide at its broadest point, with an area of 10.6-acres.  An area of the western half has almost all of the island's vegetation.

Kittery Island is a low sand and coral rubble triangle and has no vegetation.  Troughs eroded in the sand of the island's interior suggest that it is periodically inundated during severe weather. The island covers 11.9-acres; the northwestern side is highest, about 5-feet above sea level – the rest is just barely above normal high-water level.

Grass Island is just inside the reef – it is 1,800-feet east to west, and only 400-feet wide at its broadest (near the western end;) it has an area of 11-acres. In 1923, Wetmore, who named this island, noted that the crest of the island was covered with grass and a few of the shrubs.

Bird Island and Planetree Island are continually changing sandspits along the inner margin of the southern reef between Southeast and Grass Islands.  They have been described as "merely part of a three-mile chain of shifting sandspits just inside the south reef."  A small-boat channel  runs between Bird and Planetree Islands.

Southeast Island, the largest of the group, lies in the eastern corner of the atoll; it is nearly cut into two unequal portions by a seaward extension of the lagoon.  The entire island is 2,600-feet long east to west with a maximum width of 1,100-feet.  It has a land area of 34 acres.

Little North Island was officially named on February 11, 1969 – it was sometimes referred to as Humphrey Island.   At low tide, it is less than 200 feet wide and is about 1,100 feet long in a north-south direction. The central portion of the main island, 400 feet long and 1.4 acres in area, is 6 to 10 feet above sea level, and has a meager flora of 4 species of grass and herbs.

North Island lies in the northeastern corner of the lagoon; it has an area of 15.9-acres.  The body is about 1,000-feet long north to south, and 800 feet wide; it is 10-feet above sea level.

An early visitor to the atoll, Captain Benjamin Morrell (from July 8 to 10, 1825) wrote of seeing  “earl-oysters and biuche de
mer (sea cucumber,)” as well as green turtles, seal elephants and sea leopards.

Captain John Paty of the Hawaiian schooner Manokawai stopped at the atoll in May 1857 to determine its position and map the islands.  In 1859, Captain NC Brooks sailed the Hawaiian bark Gambia there and on July 5 of that year took possession  in the name of Hawaiʻi.

When Westerners first arrived, the atoll abounded with birds. Presently, about 160,000 birds from 22 species are seen. They include Black-footed albatrosses, Tristram’s storm petrels, and one of two recorded Hawaiian nest sites of Little terns.

Since 1891, the North Pacific Phosphate and Fertilizer Company was harvesting guano from Laysan. On February 15, 1894, the agreement was expanded to cover other nearby islands and atolls, including Holoikauaua.  The 25-year lease, at $1 per year, also royalties of 50 cents for each ton taken.

Interest in birds expanded; beginning in 1902, Japanese feather poachers visited the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and killed thousands of albatrosses but the extent of their poaching here is not clear.

On February 3, 1909, President Roosevelt signed an executive order creating the largest and most important Bird Reservation, known as the Hawaiian Islands Reservation and consists “of a dozen or more islands, reefs, and shoals that stretch westward from the Hawaiian Islands proper for a distance of upwards of 1,500 miles toward Japan (including Holoikauaua.”)

“The Hawaiian Islands Reservation was established by Executive order in 1909 to serve as a refuge and breeding-place for the millions of sea birds and waders that from time immemorial have resorted there yearly to raise their young or to rest while migrating.”   It’s also part of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.

From 1926 to 1930, fishing operations became important in the history of the atoll. Pearl oysters, which yield mother-of-pearl shell, had been discovered in May 1928 by Captain William B Anderson who commanded the schooner Lanikai for the Lanikai Fishing Company; Hawaiian Tuna Packers, Ltd, partnered with them.

A third, Hawaiian Sea Products Company, quickly organized and established a fishing station (with buildings) on the atoll.  They sought a license to develop the pearl beds. (Smithsonian)

Because of the increased interest in the fishing station and cold storage plant and in the development of the pearl oyster beds, “the Territorial Government requested the US Bureau of Fisheries to outline methods for conservation and development” of the pearl oyster bottoms of the atoll.

Over the next few years they conducted surveys and studies; some fishing activity continued there from the schooner Lanikai, but by October 1931 the fishing base operated by Hawaiian Sea Products was abandoned and the Lanikai was to be laid off.

The modern name of the atoll is “Pearl and Hermes.”  But it’s not named because of the oyster discovery.  Rather, it reflects and memorializes the twin wrecks of British whalers, the ‘Pearl’ and the ‘Hermes,’ lost 100-years before.

During the night of April 26, 1822, these British whaling ships ran aground almost simultaneously.  The 327-ton Pearl (with Captain E Clark) grounded into a sandy coral groove, pressing its wooden keel into the sediment, while the smaller 258-ton Hermes (with Captain J Taylor) hit the hard sea bed.

The two ships had been making a passage from Honolulu to the newly discovered Japan Grounds, a track which took them through the uncharted Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

The Pearl and the Hermes (wrecked to the west of the Pearl) are the only known British South Sea whaling wreck sites in the world.

The combined crews (totaling 57) made it safely to one of the small islands and were castaway for months with what meager provisions they could salvage.  Using salvaged timbers and other parts of the lost ships, one of the carpenters on board the Hermes, James Robinson, supervised the building of a small 30-ton schooner named ‘Deliverance’ on the beach.

Before launching the beach-built rescue vessel, the castaways were rescued by a passing ship.   Though most of the crew elected to board the rescue ship, Robinson and 11 others were able to recoup some of the financial losses from the wrecks by sailing the nearly finished Deliverance back to Honolulu, and eventually sold her there.

From there, Robinson went on to found the highly successful James Robinson and Company shipyard in 1827 (the first shipyard at Honolulu) and became an influential member of the island community (his descendants became a well-known island family and his fortune founded the Robinson Estate.)  (This family is different than the Robinson’s associated with Niʻihau.)  (Lots of information here from Smithsonian.)

Click HERE for a link to several Google ‘Street Views’ on Holoikauaua.

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

Follow Peter T Young on Facebook  

Follow Peter T Young on Google+  

Follow Peter T Young on LinkedIn   

© 2014 Hoʻokuleana LLC

Friday, December 19, 2014

Founder’s Day

(The following is an address delivered on Founder’s Day at Kamehameha Schools by Charles R Bishop – published in Handicraft.)

The trustees of the estate of the late Hon. Bernice Pauahi Bishop, deeming it proper to set apart a day in each year to be known as Founder’s Day, to be observed as a holiday by those connected with the Kamehameha Schools, and a day of remembrance of her who provided for the establishment of these schools, have chosen the anniversary of her birth, the 19th of December, for that purpose, and this is the first observance of the day.

If an institution is useful to mankind, then is the founder thereof worthy to be gratefully remembered. Kamehameha I by his skill and courage as a warrior, and his ability as a ruler, founded this nation.

Kamehameha II abolished the tabu and opened the way for Christianity and civilization to come in. Kamehameha III gave to the people their kuleana and a Constitutional Government, and thus laid the foundation for our independence as a nation.

Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma were the founders of the Queen's Hospital. Kamehameha V was a patriotic and able sovereign, and Lunalilo was the founder of the Home which hears his name. All these should be held in honored remembrance by the Hawaiian people.

Bernice Pauahi Bishop, by founding the Kamehameha Schools, intended to establish institutions which should be of lasting benefit to her country; and also to honor the name Kamehameha, the most conspicuous name in Polynesian history, a name with which we associate ability, courage, patriotism and generosity.

The founder of these schools was a true Hawaiian. She knew the advantages of education and well directed industry. Industrious and skillful herself, she respected those qualities in others. Her heart was heavy, when she saw the rapid diminution of the Hawaiian people going on decade after decade, and felt that it was largely the result of their ignorance and carelessness.

She knew that these fair islands, which only a little more than a century ago held a population of her own race estimated at 300 000 or more would not be left without people; that whether the Hawaiians or not, men from the East and from the West would come in to occupy them: skilful, industrious, self-asserting men, looking mainly to their own interests.

The hope that there would have come a turning point, when, through enlightenment, the adoption of regular habits and Christian ways of living, the natives would not only hold their own in numbers, but would increase again like the people of other races, at times grew faint, and almost died out.

She foresaw that, in a few years the natives would cease to be much if any in the majority, and that they would have to compete with other nationalities in all the ways open to them for getting an honest living; and with no legal preferences for their protection, that their privileges, success and comfort, would depend upon their moral character, intelligence and industry.

And so, in order that her own people might have the opportunity for fitting themselves for such competition, and be able to hold their own in a manly and friendly way, without asking any favors which they were not likely to receive, these schools were provided for, in which Hawaiians have the preference, and which she hoped they would value and take the advantages of as fully as possible.

Could the founder of these schools have looked into the future and realized the scenes here before us this day, I am sure it would have excited new hopes in her breast, as it does in my own.

If the Hawaiians while continuing friendly and just toward all of those of other nationalities, are true to themselves, and take advantage of the opportunities which they have, and are governed by those sound principles and habits in which they have been instructed, and in which these youths now present are here being taught day by day both in precept and example, there is no reason why they should not from this time forth, increase in numbers, self-reliance and influence.

But on the other hand, if they are intemperate, wasteful of time, careless of health and indifferent as to character; and if they follow those evil examples, of which there are so many on every side, then, nothing can save them from a low position and loss of influence, in their own native-land, or perhaps from ultimate extinction as a race.

But let us be cheerful and hopeful for the best, and see to it that from these schools as well as from the other good schools - shall go out young men fitted and determined to take and maintain, a good standing in every honest industry or occupation in which they may engage.

These schools are to be permanent and to improve in methods as time goes on. They are intended for capable, industrious and well-behaved youths; and if Hawaiian boys of such character fail to come in, other boys will certainly take their places.

We look to those who may be trained in the Kamehameha Schools to honor the memory of the founder and the name of the schools by their good conduct, not only while in school, but in their mature lives as well.

So long as we are in the right, we may reasonably trust in God for his help; let us always try to be in the right.

The image shows Charles Reed Bishop and his wife Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop.  In addition, I have added other images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

Follow Peter T Young on Facebook  

Follow Peter T Young on Google+    

Follow Peter T Young on LinkedIn   

© 2014 Hoʻokuleana LLC

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Haraguchi Rice Mill

The Royal Hawaiian Agricultural Society was formed in 1850 to develop Hawaiʻi’s agricultural resources.  It was then that rice made its mark in the Hawaiʻi economy. The group purchased land in the Nuʻuanu Valley and rice seed from China and planted in a former taro patch.

At first the Society offered the rice seed to anyone in Hawaiʻi who wanted to plant it. King Kamehameha IV also offered land grants for cultivation of rice.  Because there were no proper milling facilities in Hawaiʻi, it didn’t take off as a viable crop right away.

Then, in 1860, imported rice seed from South Carolina proved very successful and yielded a fair amount of crop.  This, combined with the collapse of the taro industry in 1861-1862 (as the Hawaiian population declined, the demand for taro also declined,) added value to the numerous vacant taro patches and a boom in the rice industry.

In 1899, Hawaiʻi’s rice production had expanded so that it placed third in production of rice behind Louisiana and South Carolina.

The Agricultural Extension Service of the University of Hawaiʻi encouraged rice production, primarily in Hanalei.  As a result the acreage planted in rice on the island rose from 759 acres in 1933 to 1,058 in 1934.

For areas like Hanalei Valley, such efforts, coupled with the valley's general remoteness and absence of competing demands for the land, allowed rice cultivation to continue as a regional activity.

The Hanalei Valley of Kauaʻi led all other single geographic units in the amount of acreage planted in rice. The valley was one of the first areas converted to this use and continued to produce well into the 1960s.

The Commercial Pacific Advertiser noted on October 3, 1861, “Everybody and his wife (including defunct government employees) are into rice - sugar is nowhere and cotton is no longer king. Taro patches are held at fabulous valuations, and among the thoughtful the query is being propounded, where is our taro to come from?”

When the Japanese immigrants arrived in Hawaiʻi, their tastes preferred a shorter grain rice than the Chinese long-grain variety. With the decline of the Chinese population and increase in the Japanese population, more of the Japanese rice was being imported from Japan.

As the Japanese left the plantations, they started their own farms and cultivated their own staple rice.

It was at Hanalei where some Chinese built a rice processing facility; it as later purchased by the Haraguchi family in 1924.  At one time, the Haraguchis cultivated about 75-acres in Hanalei Valley.

Fire destroyed the original wooden mill in March of 1930; a new mill consisted of a 3-foot thick concrete foundation with corrugated iron for its roof and siding.  Interior spaces included engine room, milling area, and storage area for both finished and unprocessed rice.

This main engine operated all the mill machinery by turning a main shaft that connected all the other machines by a pulley system.  The rice in a pit would be delivered up by cups on a belt located on a "triple chute" system. One chute served the belts going downward, another chute for the belts returning upwards and a third to suck the dust up which traveled to the blower.

The cups carried the rice over the wall onto another chute and into the strainer. This strainer would shake the rice and separate any rubbish or stones to prevent it from entering the husking machines.  From the strainer, the rice would proceed to the first husker that removed part of the husk.

About 80% of the husks would be removed by this husker. The husks would travel up the air 'chute to the blower which blew the husks out the back of the mill into a ditch that carried the husks into the river.

The partly husked rice would exit the first husker and was taken up a chute by belted cups and dropped onto another chute into the second husker. The second husker would remove the rest of the husks and the grains would continue up another "triple chute" which would carry it up and over into the polishing machine.

The fine dust from the second husker was collected in a basket under the machine and also taken up the chute into the blower.  Cowhide was used to polish the rice which prevented the grains from cracking which ensured high quality rice.  The rice would exit the polisher and taken up another chute to the grader.

The grading machine constantly shook to move the rice to the three different grades of rice. The whole grain would bypass the grading holes and a trowel was used to push the rice onto a small trough into the rice bag which hung at the end of the funnel.  From there the bags were scaled, sewn by hand and then stacked.

Despite the competition from the California grown rice, the Japanese farmers continued to produce on a smaller scale than the Chinese farmers. By the early 1950s there were about 50 growers cultivating 170 acres of rice on Kauaʻi. Hanalei Valley held 90 acres, 48 acres in Wailua and the rest was split between Hanapepe and Waimea valleys.

In addition to the staple rice, “mochi rice,” used for traditional Japanese cake on New Year’s and other special occasions, was grown.

The mochi rice from Hanalei Valley was noted for its quality throughout the Islands. It was largely a luxury crop and most of it was consumed in the Islands; about 200-bags were shipped to the Mainland.

Some mochi rice was imported from the Mainland but local buyers preferred the local crop since it was said to produce a larger yield of mochi per pound.

In 1959, Hurricane Dot left the mill intact except for an air vent at the roof peak that was torn off and not replaced.  The mill ceased operating in 1960 when Kaua`i's rice industry collapsed. Hurricane Iwa on November 23, 1982 toppled 85% of the building onto the machinery; then came Hurricane Iniki in 1992.

The Haraguchi Rice Mill was the last mill to operate in Hanalei Valley and the only remaining rice mill in the State of Hawaiʻi.  A nonprofit organization was formed to preserve and interpret the mill; the organization is guided by an unpaid Board of Directors (many of them are members of the Haraguchi family.)  The Haraguchi family now farms taro on the adjacent lands that once supported rice.

Today, the Hoʻopulapula Haraguchi Rice Mill is an agrarian museum located in the taro fields of Hanalei Valley.  The Rice Mill Kiosk is open to the public, Monday through Saturday, 11 am – 3 pm.  No Public access into the farm & Rice Mill unless through guided tours, available Wednesdays at 10 am (reservations are required.)  (Lots of information here from NPS.)

The image shows Hanalei and the Haraguchi Rice Mill along the river in distance (HHF.)  In addition, I have added others similar images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

Follow Peter T Young on Facebook  

Follow Peter T Young on Google+ 

Follow Peter T Young on LinkedIn  

© 2014 Hoʻokuleana LLC

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Kanakea Pond

In the Waiākea area called Keaukaha (‘passing current’) at Hilo on the Island of Hawaiʻi a legend refers to a hole called Kaluakoko beneath the water.

A man and a woman lived nearby, and later a second woman came to live with them.

The new wife became jealous of the first, and convinced her to go net fishing one day when the husband was fishing, though the husband had forbidden it because it would affect his fishing.

As she caught shrimp at the edge of a large hole, the second wife pushed her into the hole and covered the entrance with a rock, killing her. Blood spread through the sea foam and the fisherman, followed its trail in his canoe, moved the stone, and saw what had happened.

He confronted the second wife, who lied, and then beat her to death. According to the story, the hole has been referred to as Kaluakoko (‘the Hole of Blood.’) (Cultural Surveys)

Here, Kanakea (‘wide stream’) pond is located. A freshwater subterranean spring rises from a large sinkhole and feeds cold water into the bay at a former fishpond.

Due to apparent remnant of a seaward rock wall at the narrowest point of the channel to the ocean, it is believed to be a loko kuapā.  A cobble field, submerged except during low tide, is in a linear pattern, suggesting they may have been in the formation of the pond wall.  (However, the cobbles may have simple accumulated there by currents or tsunami.)

“There are plenty of ducks in the ponds and streams, at a short distance from the sea, and several large ponds or lakes literally swarm with fish, principally of the mullet kind.”

“The fish in these ponds belong to the king and chiefs, and are tabued from the common people. Along the stone walls which partly encircle these ponds, we saw a number of small huts, where the persons reside who have the care of the fish, and are obliged frequently to feed them with a small kind of muscle, which they procure in the sands round the bay.”  (Ellis, 1823)

“On the nights of high tides every keeper slept by the mākāhā of which he had charge. It was the custom to build small watch houses from which to guard the fish from being stolen at high tide, or from being killed by pigs and dogs; when the tides receded the fish would return to the middle of the pond, out of reach of thieves.”

“On these nights, the keeper would dip his foot into the water at the mākāhā and if the sea pressed in like a stream and felt warm, then he knew that the sluice would be full of fish.”  (Kamakau; Maly)

Railway tracks crossed the pond from about 1916 until 1946 (when they were destroyed by a tsunami;) remnants of the railroad trestle are still visible within and above the surface of the pond.  (Hawaiʻi County)

The pond’s modern name is ‘Ice Pond’ (due to the cold spring-fed waters.)  It is brackish (that word comes from the Middle Dutch root ‘brak’ (‘salty.’))

The adjoining small bay consists of white sand and coral rubble; between 1925 and 1930, coral material dredged from Hilo harbor was deposited on the western side.

The small bay is now referred to as ‘Reed’s Bay.’  It is named after William H Reed. Born in 1814 Belfast, Ireland, Reed was a businessman. He created Reed’s Landing, which he used to moor boats carrying lumber for one of his businesses.  (Hawaiʻi County)

Reed arrived in the Islands in the 1840s and set up a contracting concern specializing in the construction of wharfs, landings, bridges and roads.  Other interests included ranching, trading and retailing.  (Clark)

Across Hilo Bay, Reed also bought an island in 1861, originally known as ‘Koloiki’ (‘little crawling,’) once surrounded by the Wailuku River and Waikapu Stream.

Reed married Jane Stobie Shipman on July 8, 1868 (she was a widow, previously married to William Cornelius Shipman, a missionary assigned to Waiʻōhinu in the district of Kaʻū.  Shipman died in 1861, leaving Jane with her three children, William Herbert, Oliver Taylor and Margaret Clarissa.)

Jane was born in Scotland. At an early age she came to the US with her parents, lived in Quincy, Illinois, and was educated to be a teacher; and in 1853 was married to Reverend Shipman.  (The Friend, December, 1902)

Following his death, Jane moved to Hilo, with her three children and maintained the family by keeping a boarding school until 1868 (when she was married to Reed.)  (The Friend, December, 1902)

William Reed died on November 11, 1880 with no children of his own; Jane inherited the Reed land holdings.  (In 1881, Reed’s stepson William Herbert Shipman and two partners (Captain J. E. Eldarts and Samuel M Damon) purchased the entire ahupuaʻa of Keaʻau, about 70,000-acres from the King Lunalilo estate.)

The image shows the damaged rail line at Kanakea Pond.  (Hawaiʻi County)  In addition, I have included other related images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

Follow Peter T Young on Facebook  

Follow Peter T Young on Google+  

Follow Peter T Young on LinkedIn  

© 2014 Hoʻokuleana LLC

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


Theodore C Heuck, a German, arrived in the Islands on the British brigantine “Cheerful” January 20, 1850, after a long voyage from Australia.

Heuch was the first professional architect in Honolulu.  Shortly after arrival, he ran an ad in the local paper directed “To Builders” and offered “his services to the people of Honolulu and respectfully solicits their patronage. Plans for stores, dwelling houses or public buildings, also artificial designs furnished with despatch and on moderate terms. Theo Heuck” (Polynesian, August 17, 1850)

Within a year, Heuck announced a partnership with Hermann von Holt, von Holt & Heuck, for the sale of general merchandise.  “The new establishment, adjoining the Seamens’ Bethel, will be open on Saturday, the 12th instant, with a large assortment of goods, just received from Hamburg, ex brig “Lina” … which will be offered on reasonable terms.”  (Polynesian, July 12, 1851)

It was ten years before Heuck’s first important building was put up in Honolulu. This was the Queen's Hospital, erected at the foot of Punchbowl in 1860 - a two-story stone building with a portico across the front. It was well received.  (Peterson)

“This success of this project is very gratifying. … The new edifice is very imposing and handsome … the whole affair will be highly creditable to the taste of the architect, Mr Heuck”.  (The Friend, December 1, 1860)  Heuck later designed the chapel at Mauna Ala, the Royal Mausoleum (1864.)

In 1866, King Kamehameha V looked to have a separate barracks building for the Royal Guard (prior to that time, they were quartered in Fort Kekūanāoʻa (Fort Honolulu, which used to be at the bottom of ‘Fort” Street.))

Prior to becoming a US territory, Hawaiʻi’s modern army consisted of a royal household guard and militia units.  By the 1860s, the Hawaiian military had been reduced to the Royal Guard, a unit assigned to guard the sovereign.

They were also known as the Household Guard, Household Troops, Queen’s Guard, King’s Own and Queen’s Own - they guarded the king and queen and the treasury and participated in state occasions.

On March 4, 1866, Heuck submitted a drawing and verbal description of the proposed Barracks to Governor Dominis - a romantic betowered building of coral rock in the Victorian military style.  (HHF, Peterson)  In 1870, Heuck was contracted to design and build the barracks for the Royal Guard.

Originally completed in 1871, and looking like a medieval castle, about 4,000-coral blocks were cut from the reefs and another 2,350 were brought over from the Old Printing House to form 18-inch thick walls.  The walls were plastered on the inside and the coral exposed on the exterior. The roof was wood framed and covered with Welsh slate shingles.  (Historic Hawaii Foundation)

Heuck had proposed a building of 70 by 110 feet with an open central court of 30 by 40 feet. These dimensions were increased to 84 by 104 and 35 by 53-feet respectively.  (HHF)  Additions were later made to the original open rectangle.

Heuck’s design included archery parapets on the upper walkways, firing loops in the lower walls and towers, and an inner courtyard for roll call.  The construction ran over budget and behind schedule (original estimate was just over $25,000.)  (Kelley)

The open courtyard was surrounded by rooms once used by the guards as a mess hall, kitchen, dispensary, berth room and lockup.)

Halekoa was designed to berth between 86 to 125 soldiers depending on whether double or triple-tier bunks were used. In practice the size of the Royal Guard did not exceed 80 men at any time in the 1870s, 80s or 90s.  (HHF)

When Heuck left Honolulu for Germany in 1874, he was given a special audience with the King, who conferred on him knighthood of the Order of Kamehameha I.  On September 28 he sailed, never to return.   Three years later he died in Hamburg.  (Peterson)

The Barracks predated ʻIolani Palace (1882.)  When the Place was later built, the Barracks was originally located mauka and Diamond Head of it.

In 1893, the Provisional government disbanded the Guard and used the Barracks for munitions storage. The Territorial government took it over in 1899 and used it for office and storage space. After renovations in 1920, it became a service club for about a decade.

In 1929, following another ‘sprucing-up,’ including a coat of white paint or plaster, various government offices occupied it until 1943 when plans were announced for a military museum.

The museum proposal bore no fruit; the building was repaired and renovated again in 1948 for offices for school administration and other government agencies, including the treasury department office use.  (NPS)

Following Statehood, there were plans for the State’s new capitol building being considered.  Architect John Carl Warnecke, son of a German-born father, was influential in the design and construction of the new capitol.  (Warnecke also designed John F Kennedy's grave site at Arlington National Cemetery, and lots of other things.)

However, Halekoa was in the way; the Barracks was condemned and, in 1962, abandoned.  In 1964-65, to make room for the new capitol building, the coral shell of the old building was removed to a corner of the ʻIolani Palace grounds for eventual reconstruction.

This was accomplished by breaking out large sections of the walls. Then stone masons chipped out the original coral blocks and re-set them.  Many were so badly deteriorated that they were unstable.

However, the stone in the ʻEwa wing (an addition to the original Barracks) was salvageable (they left that part out of the reconstruction, but used the material from it.)  Today’s reconstruction bears only a general resemblance to the original structure.  (NPS)

Several other older buildings in the area, including the large vaulted-roofed Armory and the remnant of the older Central Union Church on Beretania Street, facing the Queen’s former residence at Washington Place, were also demolished to make way for the capitol building.

The image shows the original Halekoa (ʻIolani Barracks and the drill shed next to it.) (HSA)  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  

© 2014 Hoʻokuleana LLC