Category Archives: Vintage Hawaii

Woman with cat c. 1910

I really like this old picture.

The woman is Alice Ludgate. I have to concentrate to get the family relationship right.

Allice’s mother, Sophronia (Lewis) Ludgate, was the younger sister of Kate Lewis Renton, wife of George F. Renton Sr., manager of Kohala Sugar and, later, Ewa Plantation. He managed Ewa from 1898 to his retirement in 1921.

George and Kate Renton had three sons–George Jr., James Lewis, and and Allan. James Lewis was my wife’s grandfather.

Alice Ludgate lived in the Pacific Northwest. She died in 1984. We met her several times in the late 1970s and early 1980s. She had cats throughout her life, which gives this photo of her as a young women its weight. Towards the end, when dementia was taking its toll and she was living in a care home, she had a stuffed cat which kept her company.

In any case, I find it just a charming photo, despite its age and technical flaws.

with cat

Throwback Thursday: Haleakala 1956

Photos keep turning up as I clear the last items out of my sister’s condo in preparation for selling it.

This one from a trip to Maui, and up the mountain for sunrise on Haleakala. That’s my dad and I in front of the sign showing the elevation at the summit. I have no recollection of the matching shirts.

I know that we visited several times in those years.

My main recollection–it was cold!

Haleakala 1956

Family treasures: My mom’s letter written at the end of WWII

Another treasure from the family papers.

This one is a short, two-page handwritten letter from my mother to my father’s parents in Long Beach, California, dated August 19, 1945, just days after the Japanese surrender that marked the end of WWII.

It begins:

“Well, the war is over and thank goodness so is the wild rejoicing. I suppose Long Beach was in a state of bedlam like Honolulu. From my sister’s description, they acted the same in Los Angeles. We watched the mad surging crowds (mostly sailors) from a second story window down town and thanked our lucky stars we weren’t on the streets acting looney. In fact that wasn’t the first celebration, for when we went through town the Sunday before, there were parades etc starting up on receipt of that famous false alarm that was broadcast. People were throwing firecrackers into the streets and we had to stop several times to avoid them.”

Here’s one of the photos taken by my parents of those crowds in downtown Honolulu, which I had posted earlier.

August 1945

The letter went on to comment on expectations that living conditions would soon improve.

My mom thanked my grandmother for her help finding material for a quilt being sewn for my sister, Bonnie, then 2 years old. But she added, “don’t go through any more trouble about it, as very shortly the stores will be stocked to overflowing again, and I will be able to get the perfect match here.”

And this sentence about travel from the mainland to Hawaii: “Wartime conditions on ships were anything but enjoyable as many of our friends can testify. Rooms for two were packed with 6 & 8 peole and there was no recreation. But very soon, now, fares will go down and conditions improve…”

Just click on the letter (below) to see both pages.

August 19, 1945

Correcting the record on the Crouching Lion

The Crouching Lion, the Kaaawa restaurant with a troubled history of repeated failures under a string of owners, has reportedly gotten a new lease on life, according to Pacific Business News.

Advanced Fresh Concepts, one of the largest fresh sushi suppliers to supermarkets across the United States is moving ahead with plans for its second Oahu restaurant, at the historic Crouching Lion Inn complex in Windward Oahu, Pacific Business News has learned.

But PBN repeats an error when it refers to “the 90-year-old inn along Kamehameha Highway in Kaaawa.”

Although the building was built in the 1920’s, it was originally a private residence. The man who built the house was George F. Larsen, originally from Oslo, Norway.

According to his granddaughter, Larsen was “a successful mason contractor who arrived in Honolulu in 1912 to help with the construction of Schofield Barracks.”

In 1937, the home was sold to Reginald Faithful, then the head of Dairyman’s Association, one of the islands’ largest dairies and predecessor of Meadow Gold Dairies.

Then in the early 1950’s, my father, John M. Lind, came up with the idea of converting the building to a roadside inn. He approached Faithful and proposed a partnership. Faithful would make the building available, and my father, who managed a restaurant supply firm, would operate the business. They finally reached an agreement, and the Crouching Lion opened in 1952.

Here’s how my dad described it years later, in 2005 at age 92.

We set up a nice little kitchen. We put in tables and chairs for four people each, total seating about 60 in the living room and dining room, with a huge fireplace on one end, and it created an atmosphere that we weren’t very accustomed to in Hawaii. It made a very very nice setting.

We arranged to get a chef who was from Ireland, Joe Sheridan, and we had menus set up. We had Aggie Kellett, one of the women from the [Waikiki] Surf Club, come in as hostess and manager. So we had the chef in the kitchen, a gal in the dining room to greet the guests, and it was set up pretty much as a chafing dish-type food service from the cart to the table with fancy chafing dishes, ladles, and things of that nature.

We served luncheon and dinners. It was all specialty food. The dinners were all candle lit tables with tablecloths.

Joe Sheridan, the first chef, was quite colorful with his white coat and his high crown chef’s hat working the dining room as well as the kitchen.

Carl Reber, who was manager of the Commercial Club, asked if there was any possible chance of him getting work out there. When Joe decided he was going to leave, Carl was given the job and he seemed to enjoy it.

It was outstanding, but not to the point where there were a lot of people (chuckle).

We were told we were about 10 years too soon because round the island travel was not too heavy, and the attempt to get the cars to stop wasn’t too successful.