Category Archives: History

Throwback Thursday: Long gone Honolulu eateries

My father, John M. Lind, arrived in Honolulu on May 1, 1939, to take a job as a restaurant supply salesman for the small Honolulu office of Dohrmann Hotel Supply Company. He was 25 years old. He had first landed a delivery job with Dohrmann in Long Beach, California, worked his way up into sales, then lobbied company officials in San Francisco for the chance to move to the islands if any positions happened to open up. The job opened and he got it. He arrived by ship in a new car loaded with a wooden trunk of clothes and two surfboards.

These photos from his collection apparently show off several restaurants and bars in and near Waikiki, and those that are dated were taken sometime between the time he arrived and the early 1950s. They are commercial quality photos taken to show off the company’s work planning and equipping restaurants and bars.

For example, the first photo is captioned “Kau Kau Korner Renovation,” for those who remember this landmark Honolulu eatery that opened on the corner of Kalakaua and Kapiolani in 1935. The next two pictures focus on details appearing in that first photo.

In any case, click on any photo to see a larger version.













Click on thumbnail to see larger image.

Scans and comments by Ian Lind

Obliteration of Thomas Square history apparently already underway

The city’s ignorance of history is no excuse for destroying the heritage of Thomas Square. This is an instance where the mayor needs to step forward and take action to save this highly symbolic piece of island history.

Thanks to Doug Matsuoka for reminding us of the situation in a Facebook post last week.

He wrote:

The City & County of Honolulu is erasing the Hawaiian flag from Thomas Square… The pathways in Thomas Square are designed to look like the Union Jack in Honor of Admiral Thomas who restored Hawaiian sovereignty back in 1843. You can still see the design in the Google Earth image.

But this last Sunday… check the pano. No paths. They’re fertilizing the paths away, disappearing even the memory of Hawaiian Sovereignty. WTF?

The top photo from Google Earth shows the design of Thomas Square. The Union Jack design is still clearly visible.

Thomas Square

But in the photo below, taken just over a week ago, the paths and the historic design are being obliterated. Click for a larger version of the photo.


This isn’t esoteric Hawaii history. Do a quick online search for Thomas Square and you’ll find numerous references to the importance and significance of the British flag design.

Read Denby Fawcett’s recent column in Civil Beat, which is an excellent review (“Denby Fawcett: Tap The Brakes On Thomas Square Proposal“).

Earlier, Thomas Square was identified as one of our most threatened history sites in a 2014 Honolulu Magazine review (“The 8 Most Endangered Historic Places in Hawai‘i“).

From the article:

Thomas Square is Hawai‘i’s first official public park, dedicated in 1850 by King Kamehameha III for British Rear Adm. Richard Thomas. During a ceremony in 1843 on the plot of land now bearing his name, the admiral restored the sovereignty of the Hawaiian Kingdom after British subjects unlawfully seized the Hawaiian government. It was during that ceremony that King Kamehameha III spoke the famous words that would become the state’s motto, “Ua mau ke ea o ka ‘?ina i ka pono.” Nearly 90 years later, additional features would be added to the park, including a central water fountain, radial coral pathways arranged in the pattern of the Union Jack and the Beretania Street Promenade, designed by landscape architects Catherine Jones Thompson and Bob Thompson. The park was placed on the National Register for Historic Places in 1972 based on its political significance.

In his 2014 State of the City address, Mayor Kirk Caldwell listed the restoration of Thomas Square as one of his top priorities, says Curtis Lum, spokesman for the city Department of Planning and Permitting. “His vision is to see Thomas Square emerge, once again, as a crown jewel and, with the Blaisdell, become a more active gathering place that anchors a vibrant arts and cultural community,” Lum says. While concrete plans have not been developed, one proposal discussed in April includes designing a bike path through the park, box planters and hard pathways. The concepts “were not based on restoring the features and characteristics from the historic period, but rather would erase most of the landscape architecture designed by Thompson and Thompson,” says Kiersten Faulkner, executive director of Historic Hawai‘i Foundation.

The public should make its opinions known. The city has made no decisions on Thomas Square’s future, says Lum, but the public will be asked for its feedback during the various phases of planning.

The city expects to complete an environmental assessment of the project soon, and public comment will be essential.

I find it sad that Mayor Caldwell, who benefited from a large property tax exemption due to the historic designation of his residence, is turning a blind eye to the far more significant history of Thomas Square.

Come on, Kirk. The city can certainly renovate the park without destroying its historic character. Show some leadership.

Throwback Thursday: Big Island picnic (1969)

The year was 1969. Meda and I had just gotten married in August before moving back to Honolulu to attend grad school at UH.

As I recall, my mother gave us a late wedding present, taking us on a tour of the neighbor islands where she shared many of the places (and people) that were important to her.

I’m pretty sure this was taken at a beach park on the Big Island. Notice the bottom of Teem, which disappeared from the market sometime in the 1980s.

I think I must have set my camera on its self-timer to get this shot.

A Big Island picnic

Throwback Thursday: Destination unknown 1994

The photo is stamped May 1994.

I don’t know where it was taken.

We’re obviously somewhere that required warmer clothes than here at home in Hawaii.

The Dos Equis sign means it’s probably not one of our trips to Australia for their cool fall weather. And its not one of the times of year when Meda’s conferences are held.

I guess the location will just remain a mystery.

May 1994

Throwback Thursday: A muddy trek on the trail of local nukes

It was somewhere around 1975. At the time, I was working for the Quaker-based American Friends Service Committee as director of a small local program, mostly working with volunteers.

During the Vietnam War, the office provided draft counseling and public education about public policy issues of war and peace.

As the Vietnam War wound down, we had started reading and studying about the nuclear arms race between the U.S. and Soviet Union. One thing led to another, and we decided to explore whether, or where, nuclear weapons were stored in Hawaii.

And on this day, a small group of us ended up along a muddy road that led off from the original phase of homes in Mililani Town. The road eventually led to the Naval Magazine in Waikele Gulch, where we believed nuclear weapons were stored in tunnels built into the side of the gulch.

So here we are, in the former pineapple fields that are probably now filled with Mililani homes.

From left to right: Howard Ehrlich, a visiting professor at the University of Hawaii; Ian Lind; Jim Albertini, longtime peace activist; Carol Ehrlich; Barbara Jensen; Meda Chesney-Lind, then on the faculty at Honolulu Community College; and a volunteer whose name escapes my memory.

Waikele, Oahu