From Our Files
HONOLULU Magazine and Paradise of the Pacific, chronicling the Islands since 1888.
On the morning of March 25, the U.S. submarine F-4 failed to return to Honolulu Harbor after what should have been a routine exercise. The submarine, stricken by mechanical failure, had sunk about a mile out, 320 feet below the surface. All 21 crewmembers drowned. “People had been reading daily, in the dispatches from war-ridden Europe, of harrowing losses of life of monotonously frequent occurrence, both ashore and at sea,” writes Paradise of the Pacific, predecessor to HONOLULU Magazine, photo above. “They had become familiar with the deadly work of the submarine in warfare. … But this tragedy, the first of its kind to afflict the American Navy, coming to a country at peace with all the world, struck cruelly hard.”
Paradise of the Pacific publishes excerpts from the journals of the late Heinrich Berger, photo at right, who served as bandmaster of the Royal Hawaiian Band for 44 years. After arriving in Hawaii from Germany at the request of King Kamehameha V, Berger composed the music for hundreds of beloved Hawaiian songs, including King David Kalakaua’s “Hawaii Ponoi.” Berger’s daily journal entries were brief. On June 17, 1882, for example, Berger wrote, “Luau, 2 o’c; plenty gin & rum; A shame to King; the worst concert I ever given; boys more or less intoxicated.” Berger’s Nov. 8, 1882, entry read, “Rehearsal; very hot, sultry; vomiting spell myself. Moved the fence; Indignation meeting Germans.”
“An event of historical significance in the history of the Islands was the convening last month of Hawaii’s constitutional convention,” writes Paradise of the Pacific. “The convention was called by Hawaii’s last legislature, in an effort to hasten the day when statehood will become an actuality.” The 63 convention delegates, photo above right, began drawing up a state constitution to submit to Hawaii voters for approval and then to Congress, with the hope that Hawaii would be admitted to the union as the 49th state. “Racially, the convention makeup reflects the cosmopolitan Island population,” Paradise notes. “There are 27 Caucasians, 20 citizens of Japanese descent, 11 of Hawaiian descent and five of Chinese ancestry. … Of the Islands’ principal racial groups only the Filipinos—relative newcomers—have no convention seats.”
“It began when a visiting Australian noted a misspelled Sidney’ on the Crossroads of the Pacific marker at Waikiki’s famous Kau Kau Corner,” writes Paradise of the Pacific. “4,420 miles later, she wrote the mayor of Honolulu to ask for a correction to preserve our dignity … and yours.’” Kau Kau Corner’s owner, Sunny Sundstrom, happily complied. In the photo above, two models replace the misspelled sign with a corrected one—Sydney. Kau Kau Corner, a 24-hour drive-in, was located at the intersection of Kapiolani and Kalakaua, now the site of Hard Rock Cafe.
HONOLULU Magazine profiles Robert Taira, the founder and owner of King’s Bakery, best known for its sweetbread. Taira, pictured below at his first bakery in 1956, had turned his small Hilo business into a multimillion-dollar corporation, with nationwide distribution. In 1977, he opened a second bakery in California. “My business philosophy is not tied up in making more money,” Taira told HONOLULU. “It’s the challenge that I enjoy. … To succeed in my own business in Hawaii was a challenge—but to take my business and make it larger on the Mainland and to succeed there, that was a far greater challenge.” In 1993, King’s Bakery closed its Hawaii bakery and coffee shops, focusing instead on its California operations. Taira died in 2003. Today, his son, Mark, runs the company, which still produces sweetbread that can be found in supermarkets across the country, including Hawaii.
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