The Beginning of Waikiki Aquarium

This month in history — January 1903 — developers planned an aquarium in Kapiolani Park to attract visitors.

Today, the Waikiki Aquarium educates the public about the ocean and encourages environmental conservation. The second-largest aquarium in the United States, the Waikiki Aquarium is also a research unit of the University of Hawaii.

Read more about the aquarium’s beginning in “Will Build Aquarium for the Sea Beach.”

“Will Build Aquarium for the Sea Beach”
The Pacific commercial advertiser, January 15, 1903, Image 1


A Rare Burglary in Niihau

This week in history — January 1917, Niihau got its first reported burglary in forty years.  Two “native boys” stole money from a ranch manager’s office back in August 1916. The judge determined the boys were less likely to commit the crime again “on the peaceful and law-abiding island of Niihau than in the reform school.” Hence, he sent them back to Niihau and sentenced them to probation and other restrictions.

Read more about it in “Burglary on the Island of Niihau.”

“Burglary on the Island of Niihau”
The Garden Island, January 9, 1917, Image 1

Hawaii’s First Airplane Flight

Today in history — December 31, 1910 — Hawaii witnessed its first aircraft flight. Pilot James “Bud” Mars dazzled 3,000 onlookers as he flew his brand-new, never-flown Diez-Shriver biplane over them in Moanalua field and between hills.

Read more about it in “Hawaii’s First Airplane Flight.”

Hawaii’s First Airplane Flight

The Genesis of the Honolulu Fire Department

This week in history–December 27, 1850–King Kamehameha III established the Honolulu Fire Department. Famous firefighters would include modern baseball inventor Alexander Cartwright and King David Kalakaua.

Read more about it in “The Genesis of a Fire Department.”

The Genesis of a Fire Department
Pacific commercial advertiser, November 28, 1909, Image 9

King Kamehameha III’s Funeral

Today in history — December 15, 1854 — King Kamehameha III died. During his reign, he initiated the Great Mahele and oversaw the Westernization of Hawaii. The Hawaiian Kingdom mourned his death and held a grand funeral for him at Iolani Palace, complete with processions, black kahili, feather cloaks, and a glit crown.

Read more about it in “Funeral of Kamehameha III.”

“Funeral of His Late Majesty: Kamehameha III”
Polynesian, January 13, 1855, Page 142, Image 2

Hawaiian Islands for Sale?

This month in history — December 1854 — King Kamehameha III was rumored to offer to sell the Hawaiian islands to the United States. The price: a pension of $300,000 (about $7.5 million today) per year. The Grand River Times from Michigan’s newspaper commented,

That these islands will eventually be incorporated into our Union is beyond a question, but not on such exorbitant and indefinite terms.–There is a possibility, if not a probability, that the heir ‘apparent’ may live fifty years, and it is scarcely to be supposed that our Government would lay itself liable to give him twelve times the salary of the President during this period.

Read more about this rumor in “Purchase of the Sandwich Islands.”

“Purchase of the Sandwich Islands”
Grand River times, December 20, 1854, Image 1

Sun Yat-Sen in Honolulu

This month in history–November 12, 1866–Iolani School graduate Sun Yat-Sen (孫中山) was born in Cuiheng, China. The first president of China grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii, and attended Oahu College (Punahou School) and Iolani School.

Read more about his developing years in “He Is a Honolulu Boy.”

“He Is a Honolulu Boy”
The Hawaiian star, November 21, 1896, Image 1