From Our December Files

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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.



“This Christmas we have not peace on earth … America’s entry into the most awful and the most important war in history has done a vast deal towards making the greater part of the past year a busy and a significant year for Hawaii,” writes Paradise of the Pacific, predecessor to HONOLULU Magazine. The Islands’ location
made it a useful waypoint for troops and war supplies, and “opened the eyes of Islanders to the necessity of giving more attention to home products.” Tourism also increased as troops returned home by way of Honolulu.


“Two days before Christmas, 1931, Pele, with a raucous cry of triumph in her throat, burst through the pall of cold, gray, hardened lava that shrouded the blackness of her tomb, and for more than a week raged with terrible fury in the fastness of her pit,” writes Paradise. The sound of Kilauea’s eruption was broadcast around the world via KGU radio as the station’s president and manager risked their lives to capture the sounds.







Fumi Fujita of Paradise writes about Island street peddlers, such as the newspaperman, the “Manapua” man, the “Ame” (candy) man, the flower lady and more. “There was a time when a Chinese man balanced on a thick pole an ice cream tub with ice on one end and a large cracker tin of cones on the other,” writes Fujita. Children would come running out from houses when he rang a little bell. “It wasn’t really ice cream he sold; it was a sort of ice milk, often a lemon color.”


On September 2, 1957, William F. Quinn was sworn in as Hawai‘i’s 12th governor with an audience of military, political leaders and residents. In his speech, Quinn said, “As a Territory, we have lived through two World Wars and more recently, the Korean conflict. Ten years ago, in the aftermath of World War II, this community began building anew. The ambitious sketches on the architects’ drawing boards have been translated into realities.” In his speech, Quinn promises to stand against the threat of communism and to recognize Hawai‘i’s place in the Pacific. “I call upon Hawaii’s citizens—all races, creeds and political complexions—to join forces to illuminate for the nation and the world the significance of our islands as the focal point—the hub—of the Pacific.”


HONOLULU writes about the proposed Hawaiian InterIsland Ferry System, which would allow people to travel between islands via ferry. “If this type of travel develops, the Neighbor Islands can create a new market for second homes…As a toll marine highway, the ferry should also provide a new transportation system for businessmen and farmers.” The first of the two ferries was to get underway in 1973, but as it turns out, Hawaii wouldn’t get an operational ferry until 2007 (and that one would last only two years before being shut down).


HONOLULU interviews Admiral Robert Long, Commander in Chief Pacific (CINCPAC), who is in charge of all U.S. forces in the Pacific. Long weighs in on the Soviet Union’s nuclear threat. “I do not think Hawaii is a more prime strategic target than any other large city in the United States,” he says. “The Russians periodically come to Hawaiian waters. Just a few months ago, they had intelligence-gathering ships in the international waters just off Pearl Harbor.” He also assures Honolulu residents that if nuclear weapons are stored on the island, they are safe and secure and not even a plane crash would cause explosions or radiation leakage.