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Kakaako reverting to origin as residential area

  • The Chinatown fire of January 1900 would burn for 17 days, scorching 38 acres and 4,000 homes. To combat an outbreak of bubonic plague, Board of Health workers set a fire at the corner of Beretania Street and Nuuanu Avenue. Wind gusts spread the blaze to the wooden roof of the adjacent Kaumakapili Church. Flames then engulfed wooden buildings throughout Chinatown.

  • Pohukaina School, at the corner of Punchbowl and King streets, circa 1875. Near Oahu’s oldest school were a rice mill, poi factories, an ukulele factory, a brewery, churches and three movie theaters: the Kewalo, Bell and Aloha.

  • Kakaako was home to Hawaiian royalty, including Chief Boki and his wife, Chiefess Liliha, who had a home there in the 1820s.

  • St. Marianne Cope, above, and St. Francis sisters worked at Kapiolani Home in Kakaako for daughters of Hansen’s disease patients, circa 1883.

  • George Lyon Tupman was head of the 1874 transit of Venus expedition in Hawaii. Measurements gathered here and elsewhere worldwide helped scientists calculate the size of our solar system.

  • St. Francis sisters worked at Kapiolani Home in Kakaako for daughters of Hansen’s disease patients, circa 1883.

  • Honolulu Iron Works was one of Kakaako’s most famous companies, dating back to 1852. Employing 1,500 workers, it built sugar-harvesting equipment that was sold to plantations in Louisiana, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Taiwan and the Philippines.

  • The Old Plantation property, which stretched from Ward Avenue to McKinley High School, remained largely intact until 1958. That’s when the city of Honolulu bought a substantial portion of the grounds to build the Neal S. Blaisdell Center.

Who was dull, slow, low, underhanded, fraudulent, tricky or mean? That’s the meaning of the word “Kakaako” I found in a 1939 publication of the Hawaiian Historical Society. Read more

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