Swing Dancing Returns to O‘ahu in the Nineties and More From Hawai‘i’s History

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.






O‘ahu prepares for “Ka‘a Ona Ka Mālama,” a celebration portraying the development of music in the Islands. From the time of Capt. James Cook to the reign of Kalākaua, the chants and mele of old Hawai‘i will be performed by local volunteers, presented by the royal courts. The monarchs, dressed in their intricate feather cloaks and royal lei, are meant to make Islanders reminisce about the good old days of the Hawaiian monarchy.


1948: Aloha Week features ancient Hawaiian games such as uma (hand wrestling) and kūkini (foot racing), according to Paradise.





A rare 2-cent Hawaiian stamp sells for $41,000 at a bidding in New York, making it the world’s most expensive postage stamp at the time. The 1851 stamp, nicknamed the “missionary” because of its use by missionaries to mail letters back to New England, was originally owned by French stamp collector Gaston Leroux, who wrote the original novel The Phantom of the Opera. Leroux was found murdered in his Paris apartment, and police later convicted Leroux’s friend and fellow stamp enthusiast, Hector Giroux, for homicide. His confessed motive? The beloved 2-cent stamp, the only item missing from his collection.





Former Islanders and California locals alike attend a ho‘olaule‘a at Alondra Park in Los Angeles. The celebration features potted plumeria and pīkake plant booths, hula performances and, of course, Island grinds. “I got up at 4 a.m. to drive down six hours from Mountain View,” says former Kailua resident Andy Matayoshi, who now makes computer chips in Silicon Valley. “Better eat all this good food ’cause when I get back to Mountain View, no can eat local food like this!”



swing dancing


Swing is back in style at The Shelter. The Kalākaua nightclub is the island’s newest addition to Honolulu’s party scene near where Tsukada Nojo is today. Young men sporting suspenders lift their partners off the dance floor, and legs kick wildly above the young crowd jiving to Benny Goodman’s “Sing, Sing, Sing”—a scene that Honolulu hasn’t witnessed in half a century, according to HONOLULU.



HONOLULU looks back at the University of Hawai‘i’s history and evolution as it wraps up its centennial year. The university consistently earns more than double than it did in the late ’90s, pulling in $339 million in extramural funding in 2007. However, “leaking roofs, cracked sidewalks, broken elevators—Mānoa’s campus looks less like a leading research university than a neglected stepchild of the state,” HONOLULU says. In-state tuition is $2,976 per semester. In 2018, it’s $5,544 per semester.



Paradise of the Pacific 1913 Cover


Paradise of the Pacific 1928 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 shop.honolulumagazine.com.​