Lomi Lomi Salmon

Back near the turn of the last century, the most valuable commercial fisheries in the world, excepting only the oyster and herring fisheries, were those supported by salmon. Of these the most important, by far, were the salmon fisheries of the Pacific coast of North America (California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska, including also British Columbia.) Salmon was a mainstay of life of the Northwest Coast Indians. Fresh or preserved salmon, in turn, became a staple food for HBC posts west of the Rocky Mountains.

With the HBC opening of their offices in Honolulu in 1829, the company’s focus turned to marketing two of its home-region’s primary resources, salmon and timber. By 1830, the HBC was preserving salmon on the Columbia River and at Fort Langley on the Fraser River as well, mainly to feed Company personnel, but with some 200 to 300 barrels of Columbia River salmon exported that year, presumably all to Hawai’i. Just when that notable dish, lomi lomi salmon, first made its appearance is unknown, but if it was in fashion by the 1830s, the HBC can take credit for being the main provider of its principal ingredient.

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Love always for Hawaiʻi

“For more than 100 years, love of the land and its natural beauty has been the poetry Hawaiian composers have used to speak of love. Hawaiian songs also speak to people’s passion for their homeland and their beliefs.”

He was a citizen of the Islands and fluent in the English and Hawaiian languages. He composed many Hawaiian poems and songs. He wrote a song that expressed feelings for the Islands; shared my many, then and now. Next time you and others automatically stand, hold hands and sing this song together, you can thank an American Protestant missionary, Lorenzo Lyons, for writing Hawai‘i Aloha.

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Evolution of Honolulu Harbor

In its natural state, thanks to Nuʻuanu Stream, Honolulu Harbor originally was a deep embayment formed by the outflow of Nuʻuanu Stream creating an opening in the shallow coral reef along the south shore of Oʻahu. Tradewinds blow from the Northeast; the channel into Honolulu Harbor has a northeasterly alignment. Early ships calling to Honolulu were powered only by sails. The entrance to the harbor was narrow and lined on either side with reefs. Ships don’t sail into the wind. Given all of this, Honolulu Harbor was difficult to enter. Boats either anchored off-shore, or they were pulled into the harbor (this was done with canoes; or, it meant men and/or oxen pulled them in.)

In 1825, the first pier in the harbor was improvised by sinking a ship’s hull near the present Pier 12 site. What is now known as Queen Street used to be the water’s edge. The first efforts to deepen Honolulu Harbor were made in the 1840s. The idea to use the dredged material, composed of sand and crushed coral, to fill in low-lying lands was quickly adopted. Between 1857 and 1870, the coral block walls of the dismantled Fort edged and filled about 22-acres of reef and tideland, forming the “Esplanade” or “Ainahou,” between Fort and Merchant Streets (where Aloha Tower is now located.) By the 1880s, filling-in of the mud flats, marshes and salt ponds in the Kakaʻako and Kewalo areas had begun. A series of new piers were constructed at the base of Richards Street in 1896, at the site of Piers 17 and 18 in 1901 (to accommodate sugar loading) and then at Piers 7 and 12 in 1907.

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These posts are part of a personal learning experience; I have been searching to learn more about the place I and my family were born, raised, and live (and love) – then, share what I have learned.

Because of my Planning work across the Islands, as well as previously serving as Director of the State Department of Land and Natural Resources, State Historic Preservation Officer and Deputy Managing Director for Hawaiʻi County, I have had the opportunity to see some places and deal with some issues that many others have not had, nor will have, the same opportunity.

So, I am sharing some insights, events and places with others. These informal historic summaries are presented for personal, non-commercial and/or educational purposes. I hope you enjoy them. Thanks, Peter.

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