The History of Hawai‘i From Our Files: Hawai‘i’s First Roller Rink

HONOLULU Magazine emerged from predecessor Paradise of the Pacific, which began in 1888, fulfilling a commission by King Kalākaua. That makes it the oldest continuously published magazine west of the Mississippi with an enviable archive worth diving into each month. Here’s a look back at 1871.


From Our Files First Hawaii Roller Rink

Photo: HONOLULU Magazine archives



We can only imagine what a thrill it must have been for Islanders to strap on roller skates back in 1871 and zip around Honolulu’s first roller rink.


In her article, “Hawai‘i’s Notable Firsts,” HONOLULU Magazine writer Marilyn Kim looks back on the rink’s opening night, which took place on July 22 at Buffum’s Hall, a two-story building on Hotel Street. The evening’s fanfare included “a march, lancers, queen’s quadrille, and the finale, a Virginia reel”—think a procession of lively dance performances all danced on skates. The event even rated an appearance by Queen Emma, whose arrival kicked off the festivities.


SEE ALSO: I Am A Roller Derby Girl In Honolulu


Today O‘ahu rinkers (as they were once called) can get their skate on at Kapolei Inline Hockey Arenas, currently the island’s only roller skate rink. The massive facility, which opened in 2010 on Opakaoaka Street, is decked out with two full-size in-line skating rinks, a pro shop, snack bar, locker rooms, foosball and seating for 400-plus fans.


Most of KIHA’s rink time goes to practices and games for its keiki and adult inline hockey leagues. But casual skaters can get in on the fun as well during KIHA’s weekend public skate nights and open hockey sessions. And not to worry, purists: Along with in-line skates, quad-style skates are also available to rent if you’re looking to re-capture some of that old-school magic.



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