The Three-Ring Circus Comes to Honolulu, Customs Confiscates 48 Pounds of Opioids 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.






As the whispers of ancient Native Hawaiians would have it, more than 160 local fishponds were constructed by menehune. Though the number had dwindled in recent years, more than a hundred are still in operation and supply a large amount of Hawai‘i’s seafood, the most important fish being mullet, Paradise says.   





Say “aloha” with a fresh Hawai‘i gift box! For only $9.95, people can send an assortment of pineapples, papayas and coconuts to the Mainland.





Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! The International Three-Ring Circus performs at the Neal Blaisdell Center Arena. Featuring the largest number of animals ever brought to Hawai‘i at the time, its acts include lions, tigers, chimps, dogs, horses, polar bears and an elephant.


1933: The Big Island celebrates the completion of Māmalahoa Highway, a milestone of first-class modern construction for the island.





Kapolei now has a social spot to call its own, as the T-Spot Hideaway Cigar & Lounge opens its doors at the Kapolei Marketplace. The newest watering hole in O‘ahu’s second city, the T-Spot features $10 beer pitchers, pūpū (nachos, poke and fried chicken) for $6 or less, and a full-fledged cigar lounge. The bar is also equipped with three pool tables and dart machines, making it a perfect pau hana spot for West Side residents. Although T-Spot closed in 2012, Kapolei is becoming a foodie destination, booming with trendy eateries and local bars.





Honolulu customs confiscates 48 pounds of heroin this federal fiscal year, along with a few computers and a lot of mangoes. Critics nickname this clearing of customs “passing through the mouth of the dragon.”





Running for re-election against Maui Mayor Linda Lingle, Democratic Gov. Ben Cayetano plans to provide tax relief to residents by raising the state’s general excise tax as part of the Economic Revitalization Task Force’s plan, an ongoing debate in the state Capitol. Despite winning the general election, Cayetano’s economic reform package fails to win approval.



Paradise of the Pacific 1923 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​