From Our Files: January


Our History

In 1888, King Kalakaua 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.



Retiring president of the Hawaiian Sugar Planters’ Association, J.M. Dowsett, criticizes landlords and tax collectors for their back-and-forth about who deserves more money from the sugar industry, since it all comes from the travail and efficiency of the workers themselves. “If greater efficiency merely means higher rents and higher taxes and little else, shall we keep on?” he writes in a report published in Paradise of the Pacific. “If there was less talk about the value of industry and more effort made to treat it with justice, it would be more appealing.” Paradise says, “Americans will not work in the sugar fields. Some Europeans find the toil not uncongenial. Hawaiians have never taken to this sort of employment.”


The last lighthouse keeper living at Makapuu Point and his family move out, as the lighthouse now runs automatically. Ron Cianfarani spent two years running the station, built in 1909, along with gathering data for the National Weather Service. HONOLULU writes, “I’d like to write about how Ron, slender with a weatherworn face and craggy features, 60-ish, limped down to the lighthouse on his peg leg, groping his way through the dark, foggy night to fix the broken light, thereby saving the ship about to go aground on Makapu‘u Point … [but] try as I may, I can’t make them fit my stereotype of lighthouse keepers. They’re young, modern, good-looking. They loved lighthouse duty. Yet, they were glad to go.”


HONOLULU publishes its first Mainland edition, a bimonthly issue with all the same content as the local edition, only without ads.


As part of an annual Islander of the Year feature, HONOLULU profiles Mel Kahele, head of the bus drivers’ union, which went on strike in 2003 for the first time in more than 30 years. More than 200,000 riders were stranded for a month, but Kahele refused to settle for a new contract until it was guaranteed there would be no layoffs or cutbacks, despite bus drivers making $10,000 more per year than police officers. The strike, unpopular with both the public and the government, cost TheBus 13 percent of its ridership, its workers years’ worth of time to make up lost wages, and the public an extra 25 cents per ride. If he had known what was coming, Kahele says, “I believe I would have done everything the same.”


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Honolulu Magazine February 2018
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