Every year, I write several columns about events and organizations that are passing important milestones. Here are some of the anniversaries taking place this year.
1790: 230 years ago
Kamehameha I won control of the Big Island in 1790. By 1795 he had conquered Maui, Lanai, Molokai and Oahu. Bad weather turned back his 1796 invasion of Kauai. Instead he negotiated, and in 1810 King Kaumualii ceded Niihau and Kauai to his rule, uniting all the islands into one kingdom.
1810: 210 years ago
Hawaiian historian Russ Apple believed the beginning of the city of Honolulu dates to 1810 when Kamehameha I moved to what is now the downtown area from Waikiki.
He built a walled compound mauka of where Aloha Tower stands today. Other alii built clusters of thatched houses along the waterfront from Nuuanu Stream to Kakaako.
1820: 200 years ago
Missionaries from Boston arrived on the Thaddeus in March to bring Christianity to the islands. They turned an oral language into a written and printed one, and soon most adults in the islands attended a makeshift school to learn it.
One of those first missionaries was Hiram Bingham, who founded Kawaiaha‘o Church and later Punahou School.
1850: 170 years ago
The Honolulu Fire Department traces its roots to Nov. 6, 1850, when our first volunteer fire brigade was formed. Its first blaze was fought that same day at King Street and Nuuanu Avenue, where 11 homes were destroyed.
By 1851 Honolulu’s initial iron pipeline brought water from Nuuanu Valley to the first fire hydrants, at Nuuanu Avenue and Nimitz Highway (No. 1) and Merchant Street (No. 2), and later to other downtown corners.
1850: 170 years ago
The Chamber of Commerce is Hawaii’s oldest business organization.
Its original role was to create a common monetary system in the kingdom. Whalers and traders landing in Hawaii came from many countries and carried coins of different sizes and denominations.
Individual merchants determined the relative value of each coin. A particular coin might be more or less valuable at neighboring stores. The result was chaos. One of the chamber’s first acts was to determine a fixed rate for the different coins.
The Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii has, through the years, helped to create important organizations that today are independent, such as the Hawaii Visitors Bureau (1902), Aloha United Way (1919) and Blood Bank of Hawaii (1941).
The chamber also supported the founding of the famous radio program “Hawaii Calls” and the Merrie Monarch Festival, which developed out of a promotion to help Hilo recover from the 1960 tsunami.
1870: 150 years ago
Alexander & Baldwin was founded in 1870 by two childhood friends from Lahaina: Samuel T. Alexander and Henry Perrine Baldwin, children of missionaries.
Their sugar cane planting grew from 12 acres to over 37,000 acres, and to irrigate their East Maui fields, A&B built 17 miles of ditches, flumes and tunnels across gulches and ravines to bring water from the mountains to the coast.
A&B was the last Hawaii sugar producer when it transitioned to real estate development and diversified agriculture in 2016. It owns many shopping malls in Hawaii, including Aikahi Park, Waipio Shopping Center, Kunia Shopping Center, Kaneohe Bay Shopping Center, Waianae Mall, Manoa Marketplace and Pearl Highlands.
1890: 130 years ago
The Kapiolani Maternity Home was founded in 1890 when Queen Kapi‘olani raised $8,000 to remodel a house at Makiki and Beretania streets.
When the queen died her nephew, Prince Kuhio, and his wife, Elizabeth, took over and expanded the hospital over the next decade.
In 1976 it merged with Kauikeolani Children’s Hospital, which had formed in 1906 to combat an infant mortality rate in the islands of over 28%.
It was the first hospital devoted to children in Hawaii, and one of the first such in the world.
Kapiolani Health, Straub and Wilcox Health System merged in 2001 to form Hawaii Pacific Health, making it the largest health care system in the state.
1900: 120 years ago
Young Brothers — William, Edgar, Herbert and John — began taking orders in 1900 from sailing ships for fresh supplies when they were close to Diamond Head. They’d then have the goods ready to load when the vessels arrived in the harbor.
1900: 120 years ago
Kuakini Medical Center began in 1900 as the Japanese Charity Hospital in Kapalama with 38 beds.
The hospital outgrew two locations, and Emperor Taisho of Japan contributed to the building of a 70-bed facility at its current site on Kuakini Street.
The U.S. Army took over the hospital in 1941, and the name was changed to Kuakini Hospital and Home on Aug. 1, 1942.
1910: 110 years ago
Hasegawa General Store in Hana was founded in 1910 by Saburo Hasegawa. The store, famous for stocking almost everything, was a welcome rest stop for those who had just made the 2-1/2-hour drive on Hana Highway.
In 1966 Paul Weston recorded a song entitled “Hasegawa General Store” and put Hana on the map.
1935: 85 years ago
Victoria Ward died in 1935 at age 88, leaving her estate to her seven daughters. Her three unmarried children lived at her “Old Plantation” property. The remaining land, notably Kewalo Basin and property near Ala Moana Park, went into Victoria Ward Ltd.
Ward Warehouse and Ward Center were built and are now combined into Ward Village, a residential and shopping complex owned by the Howard Hughes Corp.
1945: 75 years ago
The Moiliili Community Center incorporated in 1945, but earlier roots can be traced to the Ka Moiliili Council. In early 1942 it built a school to help preserve Japanese language and culture.
Youngsters were offered classes in aikido, judo, kendo and ukulele. Teenagers held dances there.
One of its first activities was to find a way the Moiliili Quarry could reduce the dust that fell over the entire community. Its efforts led to spraying water above the rock crushers, which diminished the spread of dust.
1950: 70 years ago
Liliha Bakery opened for business at 1703 Liliha St., where the H-1 freeway is today.
In 1961 Roy and Koo Takakuwa moved the business to its current location at 515 N. Kuakini St. Their two signature items are Coco Puffs and Chantilly cakes.
In 2008 the Takakuwa family sold Liliha Bakery to Peter Kim, who is owner of The Yummy Restaurant Group.
1960: 60 years
The Prince of Peace Lutheran Church celebrates its 60th anniversary and the Waikiki Beach Chaplaincy its 50th this week.
The weekend-long celebration begins with a “Meet and Greet” at Prince of Peace in Eaton Square tonight at 4 p.m. They also have events Saturday and Sunday.
1995: 25 years ago
The largest literacy program in the United States is based in Hawaii. Read Aloud America was founded by Jed Gaines in 1995.
Most literacy programs focus on children. Read Aloud America works with parents and children, and that makes a big difference.
Gaines urges families to turn off the TV and other electronic devices on weeknights and spend time reading and talking story with each other.
“Research has shown that brain development is hindered by too much television and video games,” Gaines says. “It’s detrimental to children’s reading and writing skills, decreases their ability to connect with others and impairs their social skills.”
Over 350,000 people have attended the program at 95 public elementary and middle schools in Hawaii since its inception.
Do you know of a significant anniversary this year? If so, drop me a line.
The Rearview Mirror Insider is Bob Sigall’s weekly email that gives readers behind-the-scenes background, stories that wouldn’t fit in the column, and lots of interesting details. My Insider “posse” gives me ideas for stories and provides personal experiences that enrich the column. I invite you to join in and be an Insider at RearviewMirrorInsider.com. Mahalo!