I posted some of this earlier, but this week I found the missing first page of a 1947 letter from my father to the president of the International Geneva Association in praise of the newly renovated Queen’s Surf. The letter was accompanied by a set of excellent photographs.
Click on this photo, and you’ll first get to read the letter, and then view the series of photos.
According to my dad’s account:
Queen’s Surf was built during the years 1914 and 1915, by Mr. & Mrs. W.K. Seering of the International Harvester Co., Illinois. In the year 1936 it was purchased from Mr. & Mrs. Seering by Mr. C.R. Holmes for his Honolulu residence. Mr. Holmes also owned the beautiful Coconut Island, which is located in the Kaneohe are on the windward side of the island of Oahu, in the Hawaiian Island Group. In 1945 the residence was purchased by a group known as the Capitol Properties, Limited. It was remodeled and made into an outstanding commercial location as pictured in the attached photographs. It is regarded as the most luxuriest commercial location in the islands. During the war period the residence was used as a rest home for young flyers. C.R. Holmes donated the premises for this use during the war period. Many of the flyers enjoyed the luxuries that were extended there. In the year 1944, during the war conference held in Hawaii by Admiral Nimitz, General Douglas McArthur and staffs; all of their time was spent in the residence now known as the Queen’s Surf.
I remember one or two long nights at the Queen’s Surf in late 1969 or early 1970 with Meda and my late uncle, Jimmy Yonge. At that time, he was chief purser on one of Matson’s white liners that cruised through Honolulu to the South Pacific. When stopping through Honolulu, we would get together for a few drinks. Well, perhaps more than a few, but this was, after all, before MADD. Suffice it to say that Queen’s Surf was one of the centers of night life in Waikiki during the period.
But it came to a sad end when it was condemned and torn down by the city in about 1971 to open up that part of the beach to the public, or so they said.
I ran across this comment left on Yelp with another version of its demise. I can’t vouch for the accuracy, but it sure sounds like the way business was done.
The long and the short of it…
One of the most prominent and successful restaurateurs here was Spence Weaver. With his brother Cliff, they created 50 plus restaurants and bars thru Hawaii and Tahiti.
Among all the rest, they owned Queen’s Surf, the Papeete lounge and the Barefoot bar. kama’aina remembers it as the showroom in which the irrepressible Sterling Mossman held court.
One evening, Fasi met up with Spence at some restaurant and told him basically, ok, yer gonna donate to my campaign. Spence, being just as strong willed, and being his own person, never enjoying having someone else tell HIM what do do with HIS money, replied, uh… I don’t think so!
No, really. ya gotta!
No, Frank, I will not.
This began a personal mutual dislike, personal vendettas, etc…
Frank Fasi, much to the chagrin and general heartbreak and extreme disappointment of the general populace, (and regular visitors around the world) thru condemnation, and eminent domain, had the whole establishment there, torn down, (for the greater good; needed a beach park there. Regardless of the fact the surrounding areas were beach parks… made no difference.
Fasi attempted to make Spence an offer he couldn’t refuse. Spence did refuse. Result, a fabulous landmark status bar restaurant and showroom of the old Polynesian motif… is gone forever. Spanks alot, Frank.