Jules Tavernier: The Volcano Artist

Today in history — April 27, 1844 — Hawaiian volcano artist Jules Tavernier was born in Paris, France. Although he lived only his final five years in Hawaii, Tavernier painted as the most significant artist in Hawaii’s Volcano School (non-native Hawaiian artists who painted night scenes of Hawaii’s erupting volcanoes).
Beyond the jagged cliffs of Kilauea Volcano, the Halemaumau lava lake’s orange red glow illuminates the night (left image). Above, smoke shrouds the lake, and a full moon peeks behind grayish black clouds.

To paint this picture, in 1887, Jules Tavernier (1844-1889) made a grueling one-to-two day journey on horseback up to Kilauea’s peak.

Although the English French artist spent less than five years in Hawaii, Tavernier is considered the most significant artist in Hawaii’s Volcano School … Read more

Jules Tavernier: The Volcano Artist

Emil Melville’s Balloon Ride

Up, up and away! This month in history–March 1889–before airplanes, hot-air balloons were becoming popular.

In Hawaii, Emil Melville would attempt the first human flight and first manned ascent on a balloon, perform acrobatic stunts, and hang from a trapeze.

How did Mr. Melville’s attempt go? Find out by reading “Emil Melville’s Balloon Ride.”


First Public Airport

Today in history–March 21, 1927–Hawaii’s first official civilian airfield, John Rodgers Airport, was dedicated. It was renamed Honolulu International Airport and became among the busiest U.S. airports with over 21 million passengers per year.

Read more about how people Hawaii traveled in “Trans-Pacific Travel.”

Trans-Pacific Travel

Duke Paoa Kahanamoku Died

Today in history — January 22, 1890 — Duke Paoa Kahinu Mokoe Hulikohola Kahanamoku died. He was a five-time Olympic medalist in swimming and surfer who made surfing popular on the U.S. Mainland.

Read more about him in “Duke Kahanamoku.”

Duke Kahanamoku

Chinatown Fires Topic Guide

Today in history — Jan. 20, 1900 — Board of Health started a “plague cleansing” fire in Chinatown that burned for 17 days.

The paper reported: “Chinatown that was is a scene of desolation today. Every frame building, the Independent office excepted, has been burned to the ground.”

Another article began: “Dr. C. B. Wood, president of the Board of Health … answered: ‘I consider the situation as more encouraging than at any time since the first case of plague was discovered. We have things just as we had wanted all along. […]There is no more Chinatown. its Infected buildings and merchandise are burned’.”

Read about it in our topic guide.

The Chinatown Fires

The 1895 Counter-Revolution Against the Republic of Hawaii

Provisional Government soldiers watch the Battle of Kamoiliili from the tower of the Executive Building.

Today in history — January 6, 1895 — A counter-revolution against the Republic of Hawaii begins. Two years ago, the Committee of Safety overthrew the Hawaiian Monarchy, and the Provisional Government was formed. For the past six months, Queen Liliuokalani supporters planned this counter-revolution without her knowledge.

The Daily Bulletin described the happenings around town on the counter-revolution’s third day:

  • “Washington Place, the town residence of Liliuokalani, was searched yesterday afternoon. Here Charles Clark, whose arrest was reported in yesterday’s issue, was found. Nine rifles and five pistols, of rich style, were captured.”
  • “There is a large motley crowd constantly in front of the station, at the post office and along Bethel street, watching the sallying forth of guards and officers, and the bringing in of prisoners. …”
  • “The Queen is still at Washington Place, notwithstanding reports to the contrary.”
  • “A newsboy named Simpson … went as far as Sans Souci the first day of the fight. He saw a Japanese dropped in the road by a bullet from the mountain.”
  • “A Springfield rifle was picked up at Waialae this afternoon by a Portuguese hackman.”
  • “A barrel of poi and two of salmon besides two bombs with a coast wrapped around them were found at Diamond Head and were brought to the police station this afternoon.”

Three days later, on January 9, 1895, the counter-revolution ends with a few soldiers killed, and the Republic of Hawaii persevered.

Read more about it in “The 1895 Counter-Revolution in Hawaii.”

The 1895 Counter-Revolution in Hawaii

“A Date Which Will Live in Infamy”

Today in history–December 7, 1941: Japanese soldiers attacked Pearl Harbor, pulling the United States into World War II. Hawaii went into martial law, and tourism in Hawaii abruptly ended. Read more about Pearl Harbor.

Pearl Harbor