On our first trip to the hidden little Puu o Kaimuki Park that tucked up behind the Kaimuki Fire Station, we weren’t sure what this bare metal Christmas-Tree-looking pole was. A cell phone tower? Some antiquated fire department contraption?
As it turns out, it’s really just a Christmas Tree, built by the City and County soon after the park’s christening in 1991. “Frank Fasi was mayor at the time, and he and some of the community members were talking at the ceremony, and the idea of putting up a decoration similar to what he was doing down at Honolulu Hale with the Honolulu City Lights,” recalls Marcia Mitchell, acting Kapiolani Park manager and longtime C&C Parks and Recreation employee.
Every year since then, the big metal tree gets hung with Christmas lights on the first Thursday of December, just in time for the Kaimuki Christmas Parade.
Puu o Kaimuki has several colloquial names—Christmas Tree Park, obviously. Reservoir Park, a reminder of the days in the early 1900s when the top of the hill housed a water storage tank for the Honolulu Water Works. Bunker Hill, from the World War II era when the spot became a handy surveillance bunker for the military. It’s also called Menehune Hill, thanks to an old legend about a menehune who used to call the place home.
Whatever the name, it’s a great spot to take in Honolulu’s vistas—the views stretch from Downtown all the way to Hawaii Kai.
Out of approximately 480 parks on Oahu, these are some of the teeny-tiniest we could find. If you’re interested in a green respite from city life (or a place to throw a frisbee—watch out it doesn’t land in the street), check them out. We did—from space, via Google maps.
Frank C. Judd Mini Park (.37 acres), 2008 Kapiolani Blvd., Honolulu (corner of Kapiolani and McCully). The expanse of this park (.37 acres!) features many trees, a path and (according to the 1997 park guide) a play apparatus.
Ieie Mini Park (.11 acres), 99-041 Ieie Pl., Aiea. Much tree coverage. Or perhaps one large tree. According to the 1997 park guide it has a play apparatus.
Kuhio Ave. Mini Park (.12 acres), 2476 Kuhio Ave., Honolulu (between Kapuni St. and Lilioukalani Ave.). Tucked between several buildings, this one seems more courtyard than park.
Makiki St. Mini Park (.15 acres), 1841 Makiki St., Honolulu (corner of Makiki and Nehoa). We counted a few large trees.
Robert W. Wilcox Mini Park (.32 acres), 102 S. King St., Honolulu (next to Fort Street Mall). Boasts an ornamental water feature.
Wilder Ave. Mini Park (.04 acres), 2033 Wilder Ave., Honolulu (corner of Wilder and Metcalf). One tree (maybe two). If you drive too fast you might miss it.
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