From Our Files: Moments from Hawai‘i’s Past–June Edition

A look back at Honolulu from June 1937 to 1987. Stories taken from the archives of Paradise of the Pacific and HONOLULU Magazine.

King KalākauaOUR 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.




Easter passiontide

“From nearly every part of Honolulu, for several days preceding Easter, was visible the City’s Symbol of Passiontide, a 20-foot Cross erected on the summit of Punchbowl and lighted by the United States Army searchlights,” writes Paradise. Hundreds of people gathered on the slopes at sunrise for “an inspiring program of pageantry, song and prayer.”


1937: “Will there be another great war? If so, where will it be started?”



Pearl Harbor honeymoon cottage

Chief Petty Officer Fred K. Thornberry and his wife, Sibyl, live in a Quonset hut at Pearl Harbor, which Sibyl decorates as their “honeymoon cottage.”



With the newly formed volunteer Friends of ‘Iolani Palace working to restore the building, HONOLULU asks, “While we’re at it, why don’t we restore the monarchy?” The magazine points to the public’s obsession with foreign royalty and how much joy a monarchy would bring tourists, “So why don’t we become king-makers and set up the New Ali‘i? … In a year or so Governor Burns and his entourage will be moving to the new capitol, and there will stand lovely, lonely ‘Iolani Palace—empty of people and with no other role than a musty museum.”




Models show off spring swimwear, including “sparkling colors [that] catch the watchful glances of girl-watchers … These briny beauties demonstrate exactly how to keep you cool this summer.” Seaweed not included.



Queen theater

Wai‘alae Avenue’s Queen Theater, which showcased popular stage productions in the ’30s, then, later, films and, eventually, porn, is now a haven for teenage heavy-metal enthusiasts. Concerts take place most Friday and Saturday nights and, despite a barren stage, exposed cinderblock walls and ripped seats, “The kids sat there, some of them thumping to the beat of the bass guitar, some already glassy, motionless. When you see them locked into their little whirlpools, the facts don’t seem to matter: When did the concerts begin? Who’s doing them? What else is going on at the Queen? And finally, who cares?” HONOLULU says it’s ridiculous and embarrassing, but, “If it’s the Queen Theater’s momentary destiny to provide a scuffed-up soapbox for a small bunch of kids who want to scream about some cartoon satan to the beat of a jackhammer, then God save the Queen.”



1917 cover 1937 cover 1977 cover





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