The History of Hawai‘i From Our Files: How Tourists Saw the Islands in 1926

HONOLULU Magazine emerged from predecessor “Paradise of the Pacific,” which began in 1888, fulfilling a commission by King Kalākaua. That makes this the oldest continuously published magazine west of the Mississippi with an enviable archive worth diving into each month. Here’s a look back at April 1926.


Hn2104 Calabash Fof Ship April 1926



Honolulu and Hilo both become regular ports of call for long-distance tourists traveling around the world via ship. It seems the “world trippers in Hawaii” embrace both cities as they circle the globe.


Writer Loraine E. Kuck paints an idyllic picture of the arrivals: “On the last morning everyone rises early to see the islands break, like ancient verdigrised bronzes, through the opalescent mists and the pale green seas of dawn. Ahead the massive sides of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, highest of island mountains in the world, slope up and up into the sky. The world trippers have arrived at the Crossroads of the Pacific.”


SEE ALSO: The Adventures of Mark Twain: How He Launched a Literary Career in Hawai‘i


Paradise recounts the excitement at both ports when the travelers arrive, cars waiting by the dock, musicians playing, flower lei draped in welcome. “Yet, somehow, the reality is just a little better than the dream, for Hawaii is, perhaps, the only spot in the world which, when face to face, is not a trifle disappointing. Its actuality outdoes its press agents.”


In this decade, with cruise ships kept in port by the pandemic, Hawai‘i is rethinking the chase for more tourists every year. Experts are examining how much tourism can and should be embraced, looking for ways to welcome visitors without damaging natural resources and taxing residential communities.


SEE ALSO: Rethinking Hawai‘i: How the Visitor Industry Should Operate in the Future


04 21 Fof Web Covers


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



Find more photos from Honolulu’s past every Thursday on Instagram @honolulumag.