From Our Files: Moments from Hawai‘i’s History – December Edition

A look back at Honolulu from 1948 to 2003. Stories taken from the archives of the Paradise of the Pacific and HONOLULU Magazine.
King David Kalakaua

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.




Game Farm


Visiting the Territorial Game Farm at Mōkapu, Paradise finds that “there is no royal road to the successful propagation of pheasants.” It involves “hard work and being on the watch for trouble practically 24 hours each day,” says the farm’s superintendent. Last season, the farm distributed 1,200 birds, with this season expected to turn out 1,300 birds. Pheasants brought up on the farm cost $2, whereas those from the Mainland are $4. The farm shut down in 1942 when the land transferred to the U.S. Navy.



Animal pins


There’s no better gift to give this season than 14-karat gold “shimmering” animal pins, says Liberty House’s advertisement. Along with the pins, which sell for between $30 and $500 each, the department store touts its lockets, pendants and charms, ranging in price from $35 to a whopping $1,500. They can all be found at the Waikīkī, Ala Moana, Kāhala and Pearlridge locations. In 2001, San Francisco-based Macy’s bought Liberty House and laid off nearly 400 Liberty House employees.





Paradise rings in the holiday season by spotlighting the history of Christmas in Hawai‘i. During the first municipal celebration, gifts are given to hundreds of kids who gather to see Santa Claus at the event, which was organized by a group visiting from Chicago. “One must assume that small children in Hawai‘i are taught that the jolly old gift giver coasts into town on the crest of a huge Waikīkī wave, joyously balancing a paunchy body on a surfboard and not on the trail of prancing reindeers,” Paradise says.


1998: Hawai‘i hosts the first-ever football doubleheader game on Christmas Day at Aloha Stadium, featuring teams from the Pac-10 and Western Athletic Conference.



Hōlualoa, the quaint 3,834-resident town nestled above Kailua-Kona, is undergoing some major changes. Expensive homes and new construction projects are popping up in coffee country, where “100 percent Kona” is more of a lifestyle than just the flavor of the beans. (Generations of families grew up running coffee farms.) Fueled by tourism, outside developers and artists, the changes are welcome by some and unacceptable to others. Today, Hōlualoa is still celebrated as the home of Kona coffee, but the area also hosts more than a dozen art galleries, shops and restaurants.





Mainland cities are recruiting Honolulu Police Department officers to join their ranks. Not only is the pay better—HPD officers earn $34,380 after five years on the job, while the Portland Police Bureau pays its cops $51,376 for the same number of years—the cost of living is much lower in many Mainland cities. Fast forward a decade and Hawai‘i’s high cost of living still ranks the most expensive in a 2018 CNBC study, and there is still a major shortage of HPD recruits.





Paradise of the Pacific 1928 Cover


Paradise of the Pacific 1973 Cover


HONOLULU Magazine 1998 Cover



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