From Our Files: Moments from Hawai‘i’s Past—August Edition

A look back at Honolulu from August 1915 to 1980. Stories taken from the archives of Paradise of the Pacific and HONOLULU Magazine.


Our History

In 1888, King Kalākaua issued a royal charter, commissioning a magazine. Then titled Paradise of the Pacific, this publication became HONOLULU Magazine, making it the oldest magazine west of the Mississippi.





Paradise of the Pacific is not afraid to talk a little smack: “It is said that A‘ala Park may be the location of Carnival City for next February’s mid-Pacific celebration. If A‘ala Park is chosen, it must be with the idea to select the ugliest neighborhood with a view to providing a heavy contrast for the beauties of the carnival fixtures.”



A phone call to the Mainland is still a big deal. A Mutual Telephone Co. ad touts it as “a veritable magic carpet” that “enables you to join friends and family on the Mainland within seconds. … You can discuss plans and problems with such ease, speed and clarity that writing becomes inadequate and slow.” Of course, trips home don’t come cheap; Mutual’s rates start at $6 for three minutes—the equivalent of $59 in 2015.







Paradise gives a tongue-in-cheek look at a Hawai‘i hospital scene. “Foreign medics and nurses become easily acclimated to Hawai‘i’s mode of living, and in time resort to Island pidgin to obtain case histories. … ‘Pehea ‘oe? You long time sick? ‘Ōpū sore?’ he will rattle, and she will respond by rubbing her stomach and moaning ‘‘E-haaaa, ‘e-haaaa!’ Most of the nurses are Island-born and can readily recognize ‘e-haa, itai and isous as Hawaiian, Japanese and Filipino ejaculations for pain. They show no surprise upon being admonished with ‘You like keel me!’ while inserting the unfamiliar syringe, nor upon being repulsed with ‘You teenk I’m one peen cooshion’ while injecting penicillin in sensitive areas.”





HONOLULU takes a helicopter to visit the tiny, little-known island of Ka‘ula, off the coast of Ni‘ihau. For nearly 30 years, it’s been used, along with Kaho‘olawe, as a military bombing practice range, but there’s growing controversy about the bombing’s legality. “My first hike from one end of the island to the other, at a leisurely pace, takes about 45 minutes,” writes Victor Lipman. “Vegetation on Ka‘ula is sparse— a little grass, a few flowers, no trees. … Much of the ground is discolored by bird droppings. Bombs hit all sections of the island. Metal fragments can be found all over, even around our campsite at the island’s opposite end.” In 2015, not much has changed: Ka‘ula is still used as an aerial bombing and strafing target by the Navy (using inert, nonexplosive ordnance). 






Learn more about the evolution of covers in HONOLULU Magazine and Paradise of the Pacific: 125 Years of Covers, available at


Did you know? In 2005, HONOLULU debuts its Most Endangered Historic Sites in Hawai‘i feature. First on the list? The Waikīkī War Memorial Natatorium.




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