Articles and information about Oahu, Hawaii.



Chinatown Honolulu

Chinatown is what you would expect; a collection of markets, herbalists, noodle shops, plus some very good flower lei stands.  It may not be as large as what you would find in New York or San Francisco but it is the oldest Chinatown in the United States.

History of Honolulu’s Chinatown

The years, just before the turn of the century (late 1800’s) saw the whaling industry flourish in Hawai’i.  The whaling vessels would arrive in Honolulu Harbor where they would unload their cargo.  These vessels were also carrying an unwanted cargo, rats! Upon docking, the rats would all come ashore and they eventually found their way into Chinatown.  Now, the rats were not that big of a problem, however, the rats were infested with fleas which were carrying bubonic plague.  This caused a serious outbreak of plague in Chinatown.  Most of the rats were in a confined area of three buildings and on January 20, 1900 the fire department did a controlled burn of those buildings in an attempt to rid the area of the infestation.  Problem was, as soon as they had started the burn, the trade winds picked up.  Bottom line of the story is; three days later when they were finally able to stop the fire, all if Chinatown (50 acres and over 6000 homes/buildings) had been destroyed.  Good part of the story; the rats and plague were eliminated! Read more…

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Around Pearl Harbor

Some of the other point of interest around Pearl Harbor

Ford Island.

Access to Ford Island is limited to military I.D. card holders and the USS Missouri shuttle transporting visitors to the Mighty Mo.  Many of us know Ford Island, for it was one of the focal spots of the attack on December 7th, 1941.  The area surrounding Ford Island was more commonly known as Battleship Row.  The island itself served as an airfield for the Navy’s air planes.  Moku-‘ume’ume (‘ume’ume game island), the Hawaiian name for the island, is so named for a game which childless couples played on the island.  During the latter part of the Hawaiian Kingdom, Moku-‘ume’ume was a favored royal retreat.

Bridge to Ford Island.

fors_islandCompleted in mid-1998, this bridge provides the first direct access to the island.  Prior to this, one had to use a Naval ferry.  With the completion of the bridge, there is a vision that the island will become developed. Read more…

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USS Missouri

uss missouri

USS Missouri Battleship and Bowfin Submarine

The USS Missouri. She weighs 58,000 tons, is 887′ 3″ long, is 108′ 3″ wide and packs nine 16″ guns. Now nicknamed “MightyMo”, was commissioned in June 1944 and served in World War II and the Korean Conflict. Decommissioned in 1955 and in 1986 the ship was modernized, re-activated and in 1991 deployed in support of the Persian Gulf War. Decommissioned for the second and final time in 1992. Read more…

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Arizona Memorial

arizona memorial

The USS Arizona Memorial

The Arizona Memorial: Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, and the USS Arizona; if you think of one, you immediately think of all three. It was on that date in history, the Imperial Japanese Navy launched its aircraft to bomb Pearl Harbor bringing World War II to the Pacific.  We all know the outcome of the War but it’s here at the memorial where we can remember the losses of that day.  It was at approximately 8:10, in the morning, when the USS Arizona was hit by a 1,760 pound armor-piercing bomb.  Nine minutes later she had sunk entombing 1,177 members of her crew. Read more…

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Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor Navy Base

If you talk about the recent history of Pearl Harbor, every event includes the U.S. Navy.  In fact, the U.S. Navy and Pearl Harbor go back over 100 years. It was in the 1860’s that the Navy established a coaling station in Honolulu to refuel coal burning ships of the time.  In 1887 a treaty was signed with King David Kalākaua granting the United States exclusive rights to Pearl Harbor.  Permission was given to construct a coaling station and repair facilities inside the harbor.  It was in 1898, with the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, that the importance of Pearl Harbor became apparent.  One year later, a Naval Coal Depot was built and dredging a channel into the harbor was started.  With the acquisition of 693 acres of land at Kuahua Island in 1901, the Naval Supply Center was established. Read more…

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Polynesian Culture Center


Polynesian Culture Center and Surrounding Area

The Polynesian Culture Center (PCC) is perhaps the best known institution at Lā’ie. First opened in 1964, PCC offers a variety of Polynesian stage shows, cultural tours, and dining experiences. The shows and seven villages of Polynesia give visitors a taste of Polynesian life.

The Polynesian Cultural Center is Mormon owned, and its performers and employees are students and faculty at BYU-H from Hawai’i, Aotearoa, Fiji, Sāmoa, Tahiti, Nu’uhiwa (Marquesas), Tonga and else where around the world.  By working at The Polynesian Culture Center, these students have the chance to earn money for their tuition and other expenses that naturally occur while attending any university. Read more…

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Waimea Valley, Bay and Beach

Waimea Valley is home to the Waimea Valley and Adventure Park. This is an 1800 acre historic nature park and features Waimea Falls. The valley offers spectacular sites and gives visitors the opportunity to explore a valley rich with unspoiled beauty, tropical splendor, and the history of old Hawai’i. The Waimea Arboretum and Botanical Garden features 36 gardens and includes over 6000 species of rare and beautiful plant life.

Visitors can enjoy an authentic Hawaiian experience. You can play ancient Hawaiian games or learn the evolution of the hula. You’re given the chance to interact with native Hawaiian’s while they recreate the daily activities that would have taken place during the 1700s. There’s also an ancient Hawaiian burial site located within the park. Read more…

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haleiwaHaleiwa and Surrounding Area

Haleiwa is a rustic seaside town. The wooden buildings offer many treasures from surf and clothing shops to shave ice stands. You’ll find several restaurants, snack bars, North Shore Marketplace which houses the North Shore Surf and Cultural Museum and marine life artist, Wyland’s gallery.

From the late 1800s to the mid 1900s, the O’ahu Railway & Land (OR&L) Company’s track extended from Honolulu along the leeward side of the island, then around Ka’ena Point, to Kahuku. For passengers willing to pay a little extra, the round trip was a mini-vacation, with a night at the elegant Haleiwa Hotel, which was built in 1899, as a restful interlude between scenic rail journeys. Read more…

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Dole Pineapple Plantation

Dole Pineapple Plantation

A visit to Dole Pineapple Plantation

Dole Pineapple Plantation.  The last pineapple was canned in Hawai’i in 1994.  At that time all the equipment was sold and sent to Thailand.  Today, the Dole Pineapple Plantation tells the story of pineapple in theHawaiian Islands.  Its retail areas simulate life in an old town and pineapple plantation while the open market place and country store offer locally produced food, clothing and hand-crafted gifts.  Also, the plantation now attracts visitors to “The World’s Largest Maze”.  If visiting the plantation, don’t forget to try their “non-dairy” pineapple ice cream.

Helemano Plantation

Next to Dole Pineapple Plantation

Immediately to the left of the Dole Pineapple Plantation you will find Helemano Plantation.  The atmosphere at this plantation is obvious and even appears when ever you see their name, “Where Aloha Begins”.

The Helemano Plantations has the “Gateway to Asia” gift shop, The Country Store, and The Country Inn featuring a Chinese buffet or a sandwich & salad buffet.  The collection of businesses at Helemano Plantation provide working opportunities for persons with developmental disabilities.  By patronizing these businesses your supporting their efforts to help people become self-sufficient.  The Country Inn is my recommendation for your lunch stop.

Next we’ll look at Haleiwa.

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Moanalua Park

Moanalua Park

Moanalua Park Area

Moanalua Park and Gardens (two encampments) offer both a manicured park and a wilderness area.  Moanalua is said to be named for two taro patches where travelers could rest.  Here a summer house was built in 1867 for King Kamehameha V.  Walking tours are available through the Moanalua Gardens Foundation.  Residing at Moanalua was the historian, Nāmakahelu, who was one of the best sources of what pre contact life was like on O’ahu. She was well-known as the chantress of Kahikilaulani, expanding the early settlement of O’ahu.  Moanalua Park also has a great example of a monkey pod tree here; in fact, Hitachi (Japan) has used this very tree as their company logo.

Overlooking Moanalua Park

Moanalua ParkTripler Medical Center is a distinct landmark in this area. The huge pink hospital contains a 550-bed facility, making it the largest military medical center in the Pacific.  The hospital is named for Major General Charles Stuart Tripler, a medical director during the Civil War.  There are several versions of why the building is pink.  The first story is that Mrs. Tripler liked pink but she had died long before the hospital was ever planned.  Second is that this was paint left over from the Royal Hawaiian Hotel but how could there have been so much extra paint?  The third possibility and the one that I believe correct is that when the Army purchased the paint from Sherwin Williams, the wrong color was sent from the mainland.  Rather than send it all back and wait for a second correct shipment, the company offered the Army a “good deal” on the paint that had been sent.  And thus, the hospital was painted pink.

Last Words on Moanalua Park

Moanalua Park may be a bit off the normal “tourist routes”, but if you do get over that way, have a look!  From here, on to Dole Pineapple Plantation.

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