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
https://hdnpblog.wordpress.com/historical-articles/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
https://hdnpblog.wordpress.com/historical-articles/duke-kahanamoku-in-u-s-newspapers/


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
https://hdnpblog.wordpress.com/historical-articles/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
https://hdnpblog.wordpress.com/historical-articles/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
https://hdnpblog.wordpress.com/historical-articles/218-2/


King Kalakaua’s Happy Returns

Happy Birthday David Laʻamea Kalakaua!

Entering the world near the Punchbowl Crater, the last king of Hawaii reigned from February 12, 1874 through January 20, 1891. The “Merrie Monarch” was known for throwing big parties for the entire kingdom and played an instrumental role in reviving Native Hawaiian arts, including hula. After his year-round trip in 1881, Kalakaua became the first king to travel around the world.

Read about how Kalakaua celebrated his fiftieth birthday in “King Kalakaua’s Silver Jubilee.”

King Kalakaua’s Silver Jubilee
https://hdnpblog.wordpress.com/historical-articles/king-kalakauas-silver-jubilee/


Civil Beat Featured Chronicling America in Reporting HECo’s History

Iolani Palace lit up

Honolulu Civil Beat used Chronicling America to illustrate Hawaiian Electric Co.’s history in a special report “How One Company Turned ‘Darkness Into Day:'”

On a long-ago summer night, thousands of people gathered on the grounds of Iolani Palace for what might be described as an illuminating tea party with David Kalakaua, Hawaii’s last ruling king.

There was tea, coffee, ice cream, Hawaiian music, dance and high society in fine evening wear. But the real draw on the evening of July 21, 1886, was the simple spectacle of electric light that few locals had ever seen.

The 49-year-old king, who was fascinated by the potential of electricity, was something of an early adopter who had promised to bring electric light to Hawaii. Even the White House wouldn’t have electric lights for years after Iolani Palace, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, was electrified.

In 1881, during a trip around the world, Kalakaua had dropped in on Thomas Edison’s “invention factory,” a laboratory in New Jersey, to see if he could find a way to brighten Hawaii’s future. It was less than two years after the inventor had come up with the incandescent light bulb.

As night fell on that July evening in 1886, a small steam engine located in the Honolulu Iron Works on Merchant Street successfully powered up cables that led to five lamps outside the palace. During the course of the night, the light around Palace Square drew a gawking crowd that the Honolulu Daily Bulletin put at more than 5,000. That amounted to one in every six people on the island.

It was, according to another news report in the Pacific Commercial Advertiser, a “soft but brilliant light which turned darkness into day.”

Soon, the newspaper said, the Royal Hawaiian military band began playing, soldiers marched on the grounds and a tea party for children got underway, hosted by Princess Liliuokalani and Princess Likelike.

“The Palace was brightly illuminated, and the large crowd moving among the trees and tents made a pretty picture.”

A nonprofit online news source, Civil Beat is currently publishing “Electric Dreams,” a special report series:

For the past 125 years, Hawaiian Electric Co. has helped shape Hawaii’s development, its politics and its culture. We explore its past to see what we can learn about its future.

Civil Beat Article: How One Company Turned ‘Darkness Into Day’
http://www.civilbeat.org/2016/07/how-one-company-turned-darkness-into-day/

Hawaii’s First Electric Lights
https://hdnpblog.wordpress.com/…/hawaiis-first-electric-li…/

Electric Light (second column from left, bottom)
The Daily bulletin, July 22, 1886, Image 3
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/…/…/1886-07-22/ed-1/seq-3/

Kalakaua Visits Edison: The King in Search of a Means to Light Up Honolulu (column on the extreme right)
The sun, September 26, 1881, Image 1
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030272/1881-09-26/ed-1/seq-1/

Points in Hawaiian History (second column from left, middle)
The Daily bulletin, September 30, 1887, Image 3
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82016412/1887-09-30/ed-1/seq-3/

Honolulu Electric Works: Starting of the Machinery (third column from left, top)
The Daily bulletin, March 21, 1888, Image 3
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82016412/1888-03-21/ed-1/seq-3/