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

A look back at Honolulu from September 1945 to 1990. 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.





Although horse racing had been around O‘ahu since 1939, the interisland Summer Meet was canceled shortly thereafter due to “wartime conditions.” In 1945, the meet is reinstated as a spring event, allowing horseracing fans around the world to rejoice in this Island tradition. Some of the most famous horses come from the United Kingdom to participate in races on the Kailua Tracks.




Every Tuesday, hula girls dance, telling of Hawaiian romance, on the waves along the shores of Waikīkī. As they dance, outrigger paddlers carry torchlights to complete the scene, resulting in the name “Torchlight Tuesdays.” Canoes take tourists and locals out on the water to watch the sunset and gaze at the stars.




After graduating from the business school at the University of Hawai‘i, Philip Derrig turned down fairly well-paying jobs to open his own restaurant out of an old U.S. mail truck. Derrig transformed the truck into a rolling restaurant while his wife, a children’s book illustrator, hand painted the vehicle. He and his wife “never turn off a hungry customer.” When families show their unemployment checks, the Derrigs give them whole meals for a nickel.



When asked, ‘What should the next mayor do?” Stuart Gerry Brown, a professor of American Studies at the University of Hawai‘i, responded, “Mass transit. Because there’s no current solution to the problem of moving large numbers of people from place to place in the forthcoming era of serious oil and gasoline shortages.” The current Honolulu Rail Transit Project is set to be fully operational in 2019.





With four eight-men SWAT teams surrounding the Waipahu apartment where he was hiding, suspect Gomard “Shorty” Olayan suffocates after police unleash a can of tear gas. Olayan’s death prompts rigorous training sessions to ensure each officer is prepared for whatever situation may arise. “If the mock assaults are an accurate indicator of how dangerous the job is, then the job is dangerous indeed,” HONOLULU writes. “It is not uncommon for an officer to be ‘killed’ during an exercise.”







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


Did you know? In 1985, HONOLULU Magazine does a cover story on the presence of the yakuza in Hawai‘i. One HPD officer says, “To say they’re not here is being naive. But to prove they’re here is difficult.”


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