From Our Files: What Honolulu Looked Like Between March 1915 and 2005

A look back at Honolulu from March 1915 to 2005. 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.




PhotoS: HONOLULU Magazine archives


Regal Shoes sits at the corner of Fort and Hotel streets, decorated with flags for the Mid-Pacific Carnival.



Much of this issue is dedicated to Shriners’ Happyland Circus and Funfest, “where continuous Rippling Laughter and Irrepressible Glee shall shake the Glooms and Grouches from your system and your Soul shall be mightily refreshed with the sparkling waters of Invigorating Entertainment,” says Shriners’ Illustrious Potentate James D. Dougherty and Lester Petrie, chairman of the entertainment committee. The event is a veritable carnival, featuring equestrian stunts; a circus, complete with a ringmaster dressed to the nines; an elephant from the zoo named Daisy, also known as the Maiden Mastodon; dancers; and Jolly Joe, a 735-pound man. These days, Shriners is better known for children’s hospitals.





Inspired by Fractured French, a humorous book of misinterpreted and horrendously translated words and phrases, Paradise comes out with Hashed Hawaiian. Some examples:

●  ‘Ōkolehao: Where can I sit?

●  Ho‘omalimali: Whatever happened to French West Africa, French West Africa?

●  No Pilikia: The key to the medicine chest is missing.

●  Wai‘alae Iki: Why are you reclining in the molasses?



Pele has a “haole boyfriend,” writes Paradise, and his name is “Uncle George” Lycurgus. The 100-year-old Greek man, shown here on his way to offer Pele a quart of gin, accidentally came to Hawai‘i when he got on a boat in San Francisco to bid some friends farewell. He forgot to get off and found himself in Honolulu. “I meant to go to Hawai‘i someday,” he tells Paradise. “But not that day.” He eventually moved here and, after befriending King Kalākaua and Robert Louis Stevenson, Lycurgus joined the Royalists in the fight for the monarchy. “I was always with Hawaiians,” he says, “and still I am.” He moved to the Big Island in 1893, where he eventually built the Volcano House and started giving presents to Pele each time there was an eruption. “She will come to tell us what to do. She always comes when we need her. Pele is bound to come soon.” Kīlauea had a major eruption shortly after this piece was written in 1959, and it ran again in the March 1960 issue, known as the Special Hawai‘i National Park Volcano Edition. Lycurgus died in 1960 at age 101.



Leonard’s Bakery wins a Best of Honolulu award for Best Erotic Cakes. “Trust us, this Kapahulu malassada-maker can do anything,” HONOLULU writes. “And we mean an-y-thaaang.”







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


Read more stories by Katrina Valcourt