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From Our Files: Moments from Hawai‘i’s Past–January Edition

A look back at Honolulu from January 1931 to 2006. 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.





“Hawaiian Cowboy on ‘The Big Island’—Locale of ‘Aloha,’” by Barry St. John.




“That less than eight years had elapsed between the discovery of photography and the introduction of the art in the Hawaiian Islands at a time when the sole means of communicating was by slow sailing vessels speaks well for the rapidity with which material culture spreads in spite of adverse circumstances,” Paradise writes. Señor L. LeBleu, a “Daguerreotype artist,” arrived in Honolulu in 1846 and shot a portrait of Robert Crichton Wyllie, the unpopular minister of foreign affairs, among other notable officials. At the time, the Sandwich Island News smarmily reported, “We congratulate Monsieur Daguerre ... upon the invention of a piece of mechanism ... which possess the marvelous power of compressing the most extraordinary greatness into the dimensions of common men in miniature without injury to itself.” This portrait was taken a few years later, probably by Hugo Stangenwald.



Popular among today’s youth? Incense. “The hazy breathings of this mystical oriental adjunct to meditative moods now drifts and floats through the air whenever members of Hawai‘i’s youth culture meet,” HONOLULU writes. “And the fragrant, blue clouds of incense complement the culture beautifully. The easily identified odor of burning pot is neatly concealed by the incense; then, when the marijuana smoker is pleasantly stoned, the aroma of incense becomes so exquisite to his heightened senses that merely breathing becomes a transcendental experience.”




In a story called “The North Shore Then and Now,” Genji Santoki, former industrial relations director for Waialua Sugar, says, “I think Waialua Sugar will be here for years to come ... can you imagine the North Shore without sugar cane?” The sugar mill has turned a profit every year, despite a shaky economy. “The attitude toward plantation work is shifting. It used to be ridiculed as second class. But now we’re getting lots of new people, local people, high school grads seeking jobs. I think this is a good trend.”


Did you know? “Any kind of publicity is good,” Steve Grahovac, owner of gun shop J&S Sales, reportedly said the day after Mark David Chapman shot John Lennon with a gun he bought from Grahovac.



The Hawai‘i Community Development Authority unveils Alexander & Baldwin’s proposal for developing the Kaka‘ako waterfront, which includes a Hawaiian cultural center, a 400-foot-long pedestrian bridge spanning the mouth of the harbor, a restaurant in the triangular park, condominium “pods” and more. “These 36.5 acres are now home to city dump trucks, badly maintained docks, an old shipyard and rusty warehouses occupied by light-industrial concerns. No one lives there; few work there,” HONOLULU writes. “Understandably, you’d be hard-pressed to find a Honolulu resident who doesn’t want to see the area redeveloped.”






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




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Honolulu Magazine April 2019
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