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 Comics in Hawaii Newspapers

Today in history–January 30, 1904–the first comic strips in Hawaii debuted in the Evening Bulletin.

In color, the first comics consisted of seven multi-panel strips of comedic cartoons, such as the following:

Earlier comics appeared in North American newspapers in the late 1800s.

Probably due to the lack of interest, the Evening Bulletin eventually stopped publishing comics. However, comic strips would eventually reappear in Hawaii’s newspapers, such as the Honolulu Star-Advertiser today.

The First Comic Strips

Evening bulletin, Jan. 30, 1904, Image 9

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After the Evening Bulletin’s January 30, 1904, the comic strips appeared every other Saturday.

The Development of Hotels in Waikiki

What images do you usually conjure up when you think of Waikiki? Hotels? Tourists? Retail businesses? It wasn’t always a tourist mecca. In fact, before the 1800s, Waikiki was a marshland where Native Hawaiians raised taro and fish, and Hawaiian royalty surfed the waves at the beach.

As the number of visitors to Hawaii increased in the 1880s, hotels were opening and Waikiki, and Waikiki became a place for visitors. Hawaii newspapers provide an insight to the development of Waikiki. Read more about it in the “The Development of Hotels in Waikiki.”

Koolau the Leper and the Kalalau Valley Rebellion

You have a contagious, incurable disease, and the government wants to exile you to Molokai. Is it time to run and hide?

In 1893, with his wife and son, Koolau the Leper did that and lived in Kalalau Valley, Kauai, with other leprosy victims. However, after the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy, the newly formed Provisional Government didn’t want any leprosy victim slipping through the cracks. Thus, the deputy sheriff and policemen tried to drive the leprosy victims out of Kalalau Valley. But instead, the leprosy victims tried to drive them out.

What happened to Koolau the Leper? Read more about it in “Koolau the Leper and the Kalalau Valley Rebellion.”

The Numbing Awa

The awa can definitely numb a person. Kuhao, a “professional awa-chewer,” was so numbed by the awa (kava) that he didn’t feel pain when Kaapana bit his nose off at a hula show. Only after Kuhao’s wife said, “Papa, you’ve got no nose!” did Kuhao realized what happened. Read more about what happened to his nose in “How Kuhao Lost His Nose.”

The Ancient Hawaiians’ Political Assassins

For their medical needs, ancient Hawaiians relied on the kahuna (Hawaiian sorcerer). For political assassins, the Hawaiians also relied on the kahuna.

When the United States annexed Hawaii, some people thought this event would stop the kahuna. However, they warned prominent native Hawaiians supporting annexation that they would face a dire fate. Shortly afterwards, they mysteriously died.

Did the kahuna pray them to death or poison them? Read more about it in “Under the Spell of Kahuna.”

Finders, Keepers? Do Hawaiian Artifacts Belong in a Museum?

Does an ancient Hawaiian artifact belong in a museum?

Obviously, steamer purser Jim Davis thought so. He found a 150-year-old stone awa bowl where a native hut used to stand in Kona. Davis planned to offer the bowl to Bishop Museum, which did not have one made of stone.

Read more about it in “Curio Comes from Kona.”