Last month I wrote about Hawaii companies that will pass important milestones in 2019. Here are a few more and their interesting stories.
The Aloha Tower Marketplace opened on Nov. 19, 1994. One of my favorite Motown groups, the Four Tops, performed at the opening gala.
In the 1920s, when Aloha Tower was proposed, some alternative names for it were the Fort Street Tower, Clock Tower and Kuhio Tower.
Big Kahuna’s Pizza & Stuffs on Paiea Street near the airport is also celebrating 25 years in 2019. Zagat said it was one of the top 15 pizza parlors in the U.S. Its garlic cheese balls are also popular. Big Kahuna’s estimates it has sold over 8 million of them.
Radio station KTUH will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year. It went on the air July 7, 1969, as a 10-watt FM station. It had started in 1966 as an AM closed-circuit operation, serving University of Hawaii dorms and the Hemenway Hall lounge.
KPOI radio (AM 1380) began 60 years ago on May 18, 1959. On its second anniversary in 1961, it celebrated with a 343-pound, 16-by- 5-foot cake from Leonard’s Bakery for 5,000 people, Steve Miura told me.
It was decorated with laughing monkeys, astronauts and the KPOI disc jockeys (Tom Moffatt, Ron Jacobs, Bob “The Beard” Lowrie, Dave “The Moose” Donnelly, Tom Rounds, Fred Kiemel and Bob Prescott).
Monkeys and astronauts were on the cake because astronaut Alan Shepard became the first American in space on May 5, 1961. Prior to that, monkeys had been used on test flights.
The Waikiki Yacht Club was formed April 20, 1944, by Pearl City Yacht Club members, who realized the Navy was never going to allow them to return.
During the war, nonmilitary craft were banned from Pearl Harbor, but as the war drew to a close, the sailors banded together to reestablish yacht racing and organize a club to support it.
Duke Kahanamoku was a longtime member and helped build its first clubhouse at the Ala Wai Harbor on a pier the Army had used during World War II.
Since its founding 75 years ago, the club has continued to grow and improve its facilities. Modern docks now offer 150 berths for members’ boats.
Boy Scout Troop 36 celebrates its 95th anniversary this year. It was chartered in 1924 by the American Legion Honolulu Post No. 1 and is one of the oldest Scout units in continuous operation in Hawaii today.
Koichi Murakami was the scoutmaster of Troop 36 for 64 years until he died in 2006. He had joined the troop in 1936 as a young boy.
When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, Murakami was 17 years old and the senior patrol leader (SPL) of Troop 36.
“My dad and all the Scouts were directed to report to the American Legion clubhouse, which was then located on the corner of Kapiolani Boulevard and McCully Street,” says his son Alan.
The Scouts spent the days following the attack sleeping there and did not return home for almost a week.
They rolled bandages and made “blackout” patrols of the neighborhood at night to ensure that residents either turned off all their lights or blacked out their windows so no potential invasion force could see them at night.
The Troop 36 scoutmaster, fearing invasion, took his family and moved to the mainland, leaving the troop without adult leadership.
“As the oldest boy and SPL of the troop, my dad was determined to keep the troop going, even as events of the war played out.
“One of the executives at the local Boy Scout Council arranged for someone to be the official scoutmaster on paper, while my dad actually ran the troop until he turned 21 in 1945 and officially became scoutmaster.”
He served in that capacity, with one brief interruption, until he died in 2006. His son, Alan, took over as scoutmaster from him and remains so to this day.
Of the 95 years that the troop has been in existence, a Murakami has been the scoutmaster for 77 of them!
“One of my dad’s friends, since they were second graders at Kuhio Elementary School, was Dan Inouye, who later became the U.S. senator.”
“Although he never officially joined Troop 36 (because his family was poor and couldn’t afford the cost of the uniform), he was allowed to participate in some of the troop activities,” Alan Murakami says.
“He and my dad remained friends through high school, and after he was elected to public office, he would visit the troop from time to time.”
In its 95 years, Troop 36 has engaged in outdoor activities, such as camping, hiking, and swimming, as well as community service activities, such as feeding the homeless, trash cleanup, collecting school supplies for public school students, as well as conservation projects.
“Oftentimes former Scouts would come back to visit our meetings, and my dad would always ask them what they thought was the best thing about Scouting,” Murakami continues.
“He expected they would say it was the camping, hiking, rocketry and the camaraderie among friends, but it almost every case the response was that they learned the value of helping others, and developed self-reliance and confidence in their abilities.
“Scouting really provided them with a strong moral foundation and prepared them for facing the future and dealing with adversity.
“Thousands of boys have been a part of the history of Troop 36, and I firmly believe that all of them have come away with some sort of positive benefit. We are proud of our history and of who we are. I strive to do what I think would make my father proud and intend, God willing, to keep the legacy of Troop 36 alive for many years to come.”
Boy Scout Troop 36 meets at the McCully Community Center every Friday from 6 to 8 pm. Contact Murakami at 384-8966 or firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Child & Family Service was founded in 1899 as the Associated Charities of Honolulu. It was launched with a talk at the YMCA called “The old way and the new way.”
Honolulu’s pauper population was growing. “Begging had increased,” the organization said, “and benevolent people were seldom free from application. House-to-house begging had become a universal nuisance.”
Requests for assistance would be referred to the Associated Charities of Honolulu, it was decided. Worthy individuals would be provided shelter, food, employment, furniture, clothes and medical care.
The public was asked to stop giving money to individuals and instead give to the organization that would coordinate the charitable work of many community agencies.
Sanford B. Dole served at the first president, and the hui included the Women’s Board of Missions, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and the YMCA.
The Hawaii Salvation Army is celebrating its 125th anniversary this month. I learned recently that Danny Kaleikini learned to play the ukulele at a Salvation Army program.
The Salvation Army is most famous for creating the Waioli Tea Room, which opened in 1922 so that orphans could learn “cooking, baking and the arts of gracious living.”
Since then society has replaced orphanages with foster homes, and the Tea Room became a source of revenue for the organization’s charitable activities. It reopened recently under new management.
The Waioli Tea Room sits on 5 acres in Manoa that were donated by George N. Wilcox of Kauai. Waioli, which means “happy” or “singing waters,” was the name of the old Wilcox Mission house on Kauai.