The Hawaiian Village was built by Henry J. Kaiser in 1955. He had moved here and loved everything about paradise. Everything except all the hotels that were just like every other city he had visited. He wanted something different, so he built it! If you’ve visited here before you may remember seeing “The Dome.” The Dome, where Don Ho once performed, was designed then built in 1959 by Buckminster Fuller. This was the first dome built in the United Statesand was entirely constructed in 20 hours. With the 1961 purchase by Conrad Hilton the property became the Hilton Hawaiian Village. If you look to the far end of the property, you can see the Rainbow Tower. The rainbow that you see is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the worlds largest ceramic tile mosaic. There is another on the opposite side of the building. Several years ago the hotel underwent a 2 1/2 year renovation at a cost of over $100 million. In May 2001 the new Kalia Towerwas opened on the former site of The Dome and a new Hilton sign, pool and fountain were added to the property. The Hilton has received awards, naming it the most beautiful hotel in Waikīkī. Read more…
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The Beaches At Waikiki Beach
Technically, there is no beach here named Waikiki. The name Waikiki Beach actually applies to a district of Honolulu which has several beaches located within the district.
Collectively the sandy area fronting Waikiki is known as Waikiki Beach, and many of the maps call the beaches Waikiki. But using the sea walls that project into the waters as a dividing line each area has different names. The meaning of the Hawaiian word Waikiki is: Wai = fresh water and kīkī = spouting. So, Waikiki means spouting fresh water. This comes from all the fresh water springs that were in the area.
Kahanamoku Beach. This beach is located fronting the Hilton Hawaiian Village. This beach was named to honor Duke Kahanamoku, two time Olympic swimming champion and Sheriff of Honolulu. The beach and lagoon area was created by Henry Kaiser and the Harbor Commission in 1955, by dredging and then filling the area with sand thus completing the addition in 1956.
Fort DeRussy Beach. Fronting Fort DeRussy and named because of the fort at Kalia. The military began proceedings to acquire the land in 1904. Much of the land was purchased from private land owners and by condemnation proceedings. The fort was originally named, Kalia Military Reservation for the ancient name of the area.
Gray’s Beach. This beach is located to the east of the Halekulani Hotel. The Hawaiian name for this beach is Kawehewehe. The early Hawaiians believed that if a person was ill, the waters of the area would cure them if they bathed in it’s water. Gray’s beach was given it’s name because of a boarding house operated by Ms La Vancha Maria Chapin in 1912. For many years this part of Waikiki beach was considered the best swimming area in the Waikiki area.
Royal Moana Beach. This beach area extends from the front of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel to the Sheraton Moana-Surfrider Hotel. The ancient name for this beach was Kahaloa named for one of the healers from Kahiki. But the modern name is more well known because of the location of the hotels bordering this beach area.
Waikiki Beach Center
To many of the old timers this portion of the beach is still known as Taverns. In 1960, the City of Honolulu purchased the land under the tavern and demolished the building to create more beach space. The original building housing the tavern was built in 1884.
Kuhio Beach. Named after Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole. Kuhio was a nephew to King Kalākaua and Queen Liliu’okalani and also served asHawaii’s second territorial delegate to the United States Congress.
Queens Beach. The beach was named for Queen Liliu’okalani who had a beach house in the area. This land was at one time privately owned as was much of the land fronting the shore at Kapi’olani Park. In the 1930’s, Christopher R. Holmes purchased the land and built his home on the site. He sold the home in 1946 and it was converted into a restaurant. This restaurant, “Queen’s Surf,” was very popular with visitors and locals. The restaurant was torn down in 1970 to create more open beach space by the city.
Waikiki Beach Summary
This is the beginning of our series of articles on the Island of Oahu, Hawaii. This has been Waikiki Beach and I hope you’ll have a chance to read more articles – the next will be Diamond Head Crater.
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