Historical Sites, Oahu

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  • Driving in
    Driving in
    by ArenJo
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    Entrance
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  • Distant view with the Judiciary Building
    Distant view with the Judiciary Building
    by ArenJo
  • Nathalie_B's Profile Photo

    Punchbowl cemetery

    by Nathalie_B Updated Dec 26, 2009

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    First of all, let me warn you: Don’t be as stupid as I was, TAKE A BUS OR DRIVE!!!
    Only one bus (#15) goes all the way to the cemetery and it runs once an hour. I decided to walk there from Downtown. Needless to say that by the time I reached the place I was ready to purchase a “resting spot” for myself.
    I took some info pages at the entrance and was ready to explore this huge place. As I started walking, I heard it: “Can I help you Ma’am?” I turned and saw a security guard in his little car that looks like a golf-cart. I said that I’m fine and just visiting the cemetery. Two second later he asked again: “Are you alone? Let me give you a tour, I’m bored anyway.” I couldn’t wish for a better guide. Living on the island all life and being so knowledgeable about the cemetery there was no tree that was “just a tree”, no grave that had no story, and no question that had no answer.
    From the man that never told me his name I learned that the flagstaff in the middle of the memorial is standing on the top of a sleeping volcano, that the statue of Lady Columbia represents all the grieving mothers and the water by it - their tears.
    He revealed that the most scenic spot of the cemetery is called “Hill of sacrifices” or “Puowaina” because it was used by natives for this purpose hundreds of years ago and he did patiently wait for me while I was taking pictures of Waikiki from the hill. He showed me the grave of Ellison Onizuka – Challenger astronaut and let me know that the graves of Pearl Harbor attack victims are all over the place and not in one area. After the “tour” he kindly drove me to the bus stop…
    Don’t skip the Punchbowl visit and if you happen to meet “the nameless guard” please tell him that I’m not forgetting his kindness!

    Punchbowl memorial
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    King Kamehameha Statue

    by keida84 Updated May 11, 2005

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    On June 11, a state holiday in Hawaii, the birthday of King Kamehameha is celebrated. The statue is draped in leis and a parade is held as he was the most beloved and illustrious of Hawaii's heroes, Kamehameha unified the Hawaiian Island.

    His government maintained peace and traditional values even under intense Western influence. This statue is one of three cast in Paris from a model made by American artist T.R. Gould.

    This statue, located in front of Ali'Iolani Hale, was dedicated in 1893 as part of King Kalakaua's coronation ceremony. It is one of three statues of King Kamehameha I. One statue is located in Kohala on the Big Island and one is in Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C.

    King Kamehameha
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    Royal Hawaiin~Pink Place of the Pacific

    by Yaqui Updated Jul 6, 2014

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    Built in 1927, architects Warren and Wetmore, was built with a price tag of $4 million and was a six-story, 400-room structure, fashioned in a Spanish-Moorish style. A hotel offering first class luxury service 24/7. It caters to the elite and celebrities alike. I have a friend who lived in Honolulu in the 1950's and remembers the Pink Palace being the only hotel on the beach. I so enjoy historic structures and the Royal Hawaiin is beautiful.

    Favorite moments: Like myself, I am often not in photo's because I am always taking them. I often try to take photo's for other people so they have photo's of the mysterious camera man. While exploring the Royal Hawaiin, this little Japanese lady was looking rather in distress at the foot of these steps. I asked if she wanted to have her photo taken, she smiled from ear to ear and proceeded to show me with a set of some photo's of herself she didn't like and wanted to be sure I didn't frame her in the same way...lol!! So I proceeded and while she was posing, she was very dolled up and looked lovely, she wanted me to take the photo from my knee. I wanted to make her happy so while I was practically lying on the ground to get the photo shot she wanted...lol. BTW, she was still using a very old film camera:^O Anything to make someone's vacation memories special;^)

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    The Stones of Life

    by Yaqui Written Apr 25, 2014

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    The Stones of Life ~Na Pohaku Ola Kapaemahu A Kapunt

    Legend says these stones are the living legacy of four powerful Tahitian healers who once resided near this site at a place called Ulukon. From the court of the Tahitian chief, the names of the four were Kapaemahu, Kapuani, Kinohi, and Kahaloa. They came from Moaulanuiakea on the island of Raiatea long before the reign of Kakuhihewa, beloved O’ahu chief during the 1500’s.

    The fame of the healers spread as they traveled throughout the islands administering their miraculous cures. When it was time to return to Raiatea, they asked that two stones be placed at their Ulukoa residence and two at their favorite bathing place in the sea. Four huge stones were quarried from Kaimuki, and on the night of “Kane” thousands transported the stones to Ulukou. Incantations, fasting and prayers lasted a full cycle of the moon. The healers then gave their names and mana (spiritual power) to the stones before departing to their homeland.
    Pipi Holo Ka'ao
    (Sprinkled, the tale runs)

    In 1997, the stones were raised onto a paepae (stone platform), and an ahu (altar) and fence were built to honor and protect them. The largest stones was estimated to weight 7.5 tons. As part of the protect ceremonies, Tahitians from Raiatea presented a stone from the healers homeland which they named Ta’ahu Ea (the life). These ancient stones are part of the spiritual history of Waikiki and the native Hawaiin people. They remind us of the need to preserve and honor Hawai’i’s unique heritage for generations to come.

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    Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana’ole 1871-1922

    by Yaqui Written Apr 27, 2014

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    Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana’ole, the son of High Chiefess Kekaulike Kinoiki II and High Chief David Kahalepouli Pi’ikoi, was born on March 26, 1871 at Ho’ai, Kaua’i. His mother died soon after his birth and he and his two older brothers were hanai by his mother’s sister Kapi’olani and her husband David Kalakaua. When Kalakaua ascended the throne of the Kingdom of Hawai’I in 1874, he gave each of the boys the title of prince. The Monarchy was overthrown in 1893. In 1902, Prince Kuhio was elected Hawai’i’s second delegate to the United States Congress, continuing to served for twenty years, until his death in 1922.

    Affectionately called ‘Ke Ali’I Maka’ainana’ (Prince of the People) Prince Kuhio is most noted for his efforts to preserve and strengthen the Hawaiian people. He was instrumental in the passage of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1920, that provides lands for native Hawaiians to homestead. He restored the Royal Order of Kamehameha I and founded the Hawaiian Civic Club. Kuhio Beach Park is the former site of Pualeilani (Wreath of Heaven), Prince Kuhio’s home. Pualeilani was given to the City of Honolulu upon Prince Kuhio’s death in 1922.

    Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau
    2270 Kalakaua Avenue, Suite 801
 Honolulu, HI 96815


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    Check out the Pali Overlook

    by AKtravelers Updated Dec 1, 2005

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    One of the best ways to get to the northeastern part of Oahu is to take the Pali Highway to Kaneohe. This drive crests a steep mountain range, at the top of which is the Pali Overlook. From here, you get a great view of the northeastern coast. My friend Ray informed me of a local superstition that many Oahuans still worry about: if you drive up the Pali Highway with raw pork in your car, it is likely to break down, stranding you on what used to be a dark and forbidding path until its straightening and widening in the last 30 years. I took the opportunity to ask a few locals at the overlook whether or not they observed the superstition and they all said they did. Since pork is a primary meat in the native Hawaiian diet, it must take a certain amount of concentration (and fear) to keep clear of the god Pele, who does the punishing in these parts. Of course, Ray, being the rebel, informed me that he made the trip unscathed with pork when he was a teenager. His life has seemingly been untroubled since then.
    If you're like me, you're more interested in history than superstitions. So you'll be happy to know that the Pali overlook has the advantage of being adjacent to the site of the last major battle in King Kamehameha I's quest to unify all the Hawaiian Islands under one monarchy. He defeated an invading force from Maui, pushing many off the edge of the cliff. Though this battle occurred in the 1700's, both sides used firearms. During the construction of the highway through the pass, more than 500 skulls left over from the battle were discovered. No word on whether or not the Maui forces were carrying raw pork.

    me at the Pali Overlook without any raw pork
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    Hidden gem in the Royal Hawaiin

    by Yaqui Written Apr 25, 2014

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    While exploring this beautiful hotel, I asked someone if the hotel had a marker. It was located near a hallway next to a stairs. Next to the stairs was a display case with artifacts of beautiful silver dishes, porcelin china and historic photos. Before you know it I was downstairs. The hallway was filled with all kinds of antiques and wonderful historic photo's of the hotel, celebrities and local icons.

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    Queen Kapi'olani Sculpture

    by Yaqui Updated Apr 27, 2014

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    Queen Kapiolani of Hawaii was born on December 31, 1895 and her full name was Esther Julia Kapiolani (or is it Kaiolani?) Napelakapuokakae. She was the granddaughter of Kaumualii, the last king of Kauai and she ws the step daughter of Queen Kaahumanu.

    She married High Chief David Kalakaua in 1863, before he became King of Hawaii.

    Queen Kapiolani was known for her good works and high morals. She tried to make a better life for the Hawaiian people and, in fact, most of the time she chose to speak Hawaiian rather then English.

    She founded the Kapiolani Maternity Hospital for native Hawaiian mothers. Today it is called the Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children.

    King Kalakaua named Waikiki's Kapiolani Park after his wife, Queen Kapiolani.

    Queen of Hawaii 1874 - 1891
    "Kulia I Ka Nu'u"
    (Strive for the highest)

    Commission on Culture and the Arts
    City and County of Honolulu
    Jeremy Harris, Mayor
    Holly Young Artist

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    Duke Kahanamoku Waikīkī Historic Trail

    by Yaqui Written Apr 27, 2014

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    Olympic swimming champion Duke Kahanamoku (1890–1986) spent much of his youth here in Kālia with his mother’s family, the Paoas. The family owned most of the 20 acres which the Hilton Hawaiian Village now occupies. It is said that it was here in Kālia that a husband waited patiently for the return of his wife who had been wooed away by a rival chief on Maui; hence, the name Kālia or “waited for.” Duke’s grandfather, Ho`olae Paoa, a descendant of royal chiefs, was deeded the land by King Kamehameha III in the Great Mahele of 1848. (The Great Mahele was a dividing of the lands among the king, the chiefs, and the commoners. It also allowed foreigners to own land in the kingdom for the first time.)

    The Paoas were a large ‘ohana (family). More than 100 were living in the area at the time. The home in which Duke lived was located about where the former Hilton Dome stood for so many years. The families had their gardens and grew enough taro and sweet potatoes to meet their needs. Being excellent fishermen, they never were short of the bounties of the seaweed, squid, shrimp, crab, lobster and varieties of fish. Duke learned to swim in these waters the old-fashioned way: by being thrown into the water to sink or swim! He learned so well that in 1910 he broke the world’s record for the 50-yard sprint. In 1912 he was named to the U.S. Olympic team and won the gold medal in the 100-meter freestyle. This area is also where he learned to become a champion surfrider and Hawaiian outrigger canoe paddler. Some say you can still feel the “mana” (energy or spirit) of Duke and the Paoas here on their former lands.

    In 1925 Duke became a national hero when he used his surfboard to rescue eight fishermen from their sinking vessel in high seas off Newport Beach.

    Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau
    2270 Kalakaua Avenue, Suite 801
Honolulu, HI 96815


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    St. Augustine by-the-sea

    by Yaqui Updated Jul 6, 2014

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    Although this church was built in 1959, its orgins began in 1854 by Fr. Modestus Favens when the first temporary structure was made of simple beach cocnuts fronds and pieces of drift wood. Later a different site was selected and a second church was needed to accomodate more parishioners was built on Ohau Ave with old wood from wrecked sailing vessels near Diamond Head and coconut fronds for the wall and roof.

    As the community grew and so did the faith, eventually a larger church was needed, so in 1901 Father Valentin began construction. The sides and front portions are constructed only of latticework with grillings near the eaves, thus entirely left open to the breezes, which sweep down to the seashore nearby from the valleys beyond. It is 62×32 feet and has a 58-foot steeple. The interior is plainly finished, the altar and surroundings being of Gothic pattern. There is also a communion rail, choir loft, and 26 pews sufficient for seating 144 persons.

    This church was eventually raised in 1959 due to termite damage and the new construction began with a modern, air-conditioned church, designed by local architect George McLaughlin. The present church was blessed on Aug. 16, 1962, by Bishop James J. Sweeney.

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    The Beaches of Waikiki Historic Trail

    by Yaqui Written Apr 27, 2014

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    Princess Lili’uokalani enjoyed spending time with Robert Louis Stevenson on Waikiki in “earnest conversation”, Feb 3, 1889

    This section of Waikikik Beach contains four distinct areas: Outrigger Canoe Club, San Souci, Kapi’olani Park and Queen’s Surf. The Outrigger Canoe Club Beach fronts the Club, which was founded in 1908 to revive surfing and canoe paddling, and to promote other sports and activities. Sans Souci (from the French “without care”) takes its name from a small hotel that once stood on the grounds now occupied by the Kaimana Beach Hotel. In 1893 the famed Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson spent five weeks convalescing at Sans Souci. He praised the hotel for its “lovely scenery, quiet, pure air, clear sea water, good food, and heavenly sunset….” Next to San Souci is the War Memorial Natatorium, a monument to the 179 island men who lots their lives in World War I. This unique athletice facility, with its 100 meter salt-water pool (still the largest in the U.S.), opened in 1927. The Natatorium arch has been restored, although the pool is no longer used.

    Kapi’olani Park Beach is part of the 100 acre Kapi’olani Regional Park which was dedicated in 1877 by King Kalakaua in honor of his Queen Kapi’olani. The park’s main feature was a horse track in early years. The U.S. Army used the open ground there as an encampment after the annexation of Hawaii in 1898. The Queen’s Surf was one of the most popular restaurant-nightclubs in Honolulu during the 1950s and 1960s for both visitors and residents. It was named for the famous surf break of shore. The structure was demolished in 1971 to make room for park improvements.

    In ancient times, there were at least two temples or heiau located near the shoreline in this area. Once was Kupalaha, at Queen’s Surf Beach. It may have functioned in connection with the famed Pap’ena’ena heiau where it is believed the last human sacrifice was made by Kamehameha I in Waikiki. The other was Makahuna near the foot of Diamond Head, which was dedicated to Kanaloa, the god of the Seas, and was attended to by fisherman and seaman.

    Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau
    2270 Kalakaua Avenue, Suite 801
Honolulu, HI 96815


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    Helumoa~Waikiki Historic Trail

    by Yaqui Updated May 3, 2014

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    Surrounded by this open landscape, one can imagine the huge coconut grove known as Helumoa. Planted by Chief Kakuhihewa around the 15th century, the grove once had nearly 10,000 trees. Kahuamokomoki was an area nearby that served as a sporting field. Boxing, wrestling, foot races and other games were played there. Ulumaika, the round stones used for a bowling-type game, were discovered on this site during excavation and contruction of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. Kamehameha the Great and his warriors camped near here when they began their conquest of O'ahu in 1795. Later, he would build a stone house for himself, as well as redidences for his wives and retainers in an area known as Pua'ali'ili'i. Kamehameha ended Waikiki nearly 400 year reign as O'ahu's capital when he moved the royal headquarters to Honolulu (known then as Kou) in 1808.

    "Legend tells us of a Phantom Rooster liviing in Palolo Valley known as Ka'auhelemoa. People in Waikiki often heard him crowing, but could never catch sight of him. One day, the Phantom Rooster landed in front of Kakuhihewa, Chief of O'ahu, and began scratching at the ground. The bird disappeared as suddenly as he had come. Kakuhihewa had his men plant a coconut on the spot. A great tree known as Helumoa (literally, chicken scratch) grew and became the parent of all the others in the grove and for centuries was the tallest of them all."

    Eventually, Kamehameha V, Lot Kapuaiwa, built his modest residence here among the palms. The property was inherited by his half-sister, Princess Ruth Ke'elikolani, who later willed it to Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop. Much of Helumoa is still owned by Kamehameha Schools, a Bernice Pauahi Bishop legacy and institution that educates thousands of Native Hawaiian children across the State. The nearby Royal Hawaiian Hotel, also known as the Pink Palace, was completed in 1927 at a cost of $5 million. With 400 lavishly decorated rooms and Spanish-Moorish style architecture, it was then touted as the "finest resort hostelry in American." This beautiful park is owned by the City & County of Honolulu. It was developed by Graham Murata Russell and Mutual of New York Life Insurance Company in 1989 and is privately maintained for the residents and visitors of Hawai'i. The tallest coconut palms in the park date back to the 1930s.

    Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau
    2270 Kalakaua Avenue, Suite 801
Honolulu, HI 96815


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    The First Lady of Waikiki 1901

    by Yaqui Written Apr 25, 2014

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    The Moana Hotel opened on March 11, 1901 as Waikiki’s first hotel. Affectionately called “The First Lady of Waikiki,” this iconic resort embraces true Hawaiin hospitality. Walter Chamberlain Peacock, the original owner of the Moana Hotel, opened its elegant doors to the public offering 75 rooms at a costly $1.50 per night. The Lucas Brothers, known for their magnificent construction of Iolani Palace, were hired as contractors.

    One of the many memories the Moana Surfrider shares is the word famous radio show Hawai’I Calls which aired from 1935 to 1975. The show broadcasted weekly from the resort’s Banyan Courtyard beneath the iconic banyan tree.

    In 1932, the owner of the Royal Hawaiin, Matson Navigation Company bought the Moana Hotel for $1.6 million Matson continued to operate both premier resorts until 1959 when it sold them to the Sheraton Hotel chain, the same year Hawai’i entered statehood. 1959 was also the first year of jet airline service to the islands.

    Today the Moana Surfrider continues to perpetuate Hawaiin hospitality and the island’s deep rooted heritage as a Westin Resort & Spa.

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    Kahi Hali’a Aloha~“The Place of Loving Remembrance

    by Yaqui Written Apr 27, 2014

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    Waikiki, today a busy and vibrant international travel destination, has a centuries-old Hawaiian heritage. Inhabited by Native Hawaiians for some 2,000 years, Waikiki was the preferred playground and royal residence of generations of ancestors who once walked these very sands.

    As the very bones of deceased Hawaiians come to light today, the byproduct of ongoing excavation and construction in modern Waikiki, the lineal descendants search for ways to dignify and honor the final remains of those who preceded them.
    As the National Cemetery of the Pacific in Punchbowl Crater and the Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor honor America’s fallen heroes, so this memorial provides an honorable final resting place for hundreds of Hawaiian ancestors who once lived in Waikiki.

    Please join us in respectfully observing the sanctity and quiet dignity of this memorial. Lineal Descendants December 2001

    Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau
    2270 Kalakaua Avenue, Suite 801
Honolulu, HI 96815


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    Waikiki Historic Trail

    by Yaqui Written Apr 27, 2014

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    Waikiki means “spouting water” because it was a vast marshland fed by many streams. You are in fact standing on what was the mouth of an old stream, the Kuekaunahi. From ancient times Waikiki has been a popular surfing spot which is one of the reasons why the chiefs made their homes and headquarters here for hundreds of years. Though it’s been called “the sport of kings,” everyone surfed. Surf spots had their special names and the most famous in Waikiki was Kalehuawehe or “take off the lehua.” It was so named when a legendary hero took off of his lei of lehua blossoms and gave it to the wife of the ruling chief with whom he was surfing. Romance and surfing often went together.

    “I tried surf bathing once, subsequently, but made a failure of it… The board struck the shore in ¾ of a second, without any cargo, and I struck the bottom at the same time, with a couple of barrels of water in me.”
    ~Mark Twain, Waikiki, 1866

    Believe it or not, by 1900 surfing had nearly died out in Hawai’i partly because of the missionary opposition to the sport which took people away from worship and other religious obligations. Waikiki has some of the best summer waves in the world. The swells vary in height from 2 to 8 feet and on rare occasions, have reached as high as 35 feet. A ride can easily extend a hundred yards or so. The longest ride recorded took place in 1917 when the great Duke Kahanamoku caught a 35 foot wave and rode it to shore, a distance of a mile and a quarter.

    Duke Kahanamoku, was famous as an Olympic Champion before his surfing. He introduced surfing to Australia and demonstrated the sport up and down the California Coast.

    Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau
    2270 Kalakaua Avenue, Suite 801
Honolulu, HI 96815


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