From Our Files

The November archives from our files of Paradise of the Pacific and HONOLULU Magazine.

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.





“Duty in Hawaii for a U.S. Marine today is much more pleasant that it was during the war years when thousands of service men surged in and out of the Islands and dates were practically impossible to obtain,” observes Paradise of the Pacific, predecessor to HONOLULU Magazine. “The Marines enjoy the Islands and their way of life. You can find them in outriggers, on the beaches, atop the Pali, bound for the scenic wonder of Haleakala, or to find the menehunes of Molokai. A tour of duty in Hawaii is something desired by every Marine who is outward bound.”




“The biggest diaper operation in Hawaii’s history got under way at 10 p.m. on Monday, January 9, 1961, when the telephone rang in the home of Mrs. Hugo Kortshcak,” writes Paradise. On the other end was an Pan American World Airways official, calling to inform Kortschak that a flight of Korean orphans was en route to Honolulu, 70 of them babies who needed to be fed, bathed and changed. For the past six years, Oregon rancher Harry Holt organized trips from Korea to the Mainland to find homes for the orphaned children. The planes would stop for refueling in Honolulu, and each time the children were met by a group of women. “But always before the kids had been at least old enough to walk. This time 70 of the 137 didn’t even have teeth. Only wet pants.” The women set up bathing, feeding and changing stations, crammed in the airport’s small nursery, and when the plane took off that evening, every baby was clean and fed.



“Honolulu’s Chinatown is a pungent place, filling one’s eyes, ears and nose with a hundred sensations,” observes HONOLULU Magazine. “Chinese merchants keep talking about modernizing Maunakea Street, but thus far, the town remains its wonderful, old, dilapidated self.” Honolulu photographer Francis Haar took to Chinatown’s streets to document its people, businesses and traditions. “The markets are straight from the steps of Hong Kong—bright red chickens, almond cakes, vegetables strange to the Western eye, candied ginger and lotus root. There are teak-lined apothecaries, shops that feature bright-boxed teas and tiny cafés where customers wind steaming noodles around their chopsticks.”



“Whether they voice it or not, there’s not one among the current crop of crooners at the top of Hawaii’s popular music heap who doesn’t envy the international success achieved by Herb Ohta,” notes HONOLULU. “His ukulele odyssey began commonly enough for a musician in Hawaii: his mother’s knee.” As a kid he worked in his aunt’s record store on King Street near Aala Park. “I was playing records all day, rather than selling them,” he said. On his breaks, he’d play in the park with his mentor, Eddie Kamae. He was dubbed Ohta-San when his first album, Sushi was released in 1964. By 1981, he had recorded 27 albums. Ohta went to play on the Ed Sullivan Show and toured in Japan and France. Today, his son Herb Ohta Jr. follows in his footsteps.



“A crowd gathers. The wahines smile and hand out glossy brochures for—what is this? The world-famous Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame. Ah, but there is no such thing, no Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame,” notes HONOLULU. The writer imagined such a hall of fame and who should be inducted in this 1991 story. First up is John Kameaaloha Almeida, who left “a mighty legacy. His sweet falsetto was known in the Islands.” Other hall of famers include Andy Cummings, renowned for his signature tune, “Waikiki,” Genoa Keawe, Alfred Apaka, who “had it all—flair, class, talent,” Gabby Pahinui, Eddie Kamae and more. Three years later, in 1994, the author’s dream would come true and a Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame was established, inducting its first members in 1995.



“On March 27, 1996, Kau Sugar Co. processed its last harvest from the vast fields of sugar cane above the town of Pahala in the Kau District on the Big Island. When the mill closed, it was the last of 13 sugar mills once in operation,” notes HONOLULU. Photographer Franco Salmoiraghi documents the final days of the sugar mill and talks story with the surviving employees as they process the last truckloads. “Much has been stripped from the mill: tools, lockers, lathes and furniture. Only a factory full of useless machinery remains,” says Salmoiraghi. “I think about the lives, each full of memories and spirits, that once filled these spaces.”