Billy Weaver

December 13, 1958 – 8-months before Hawaiʻi became a state … it was described as a typical trade wind, Windward Oʻahu day; the sky was clear; the water was a little rough with whitecaps and there were good-sized waves. Six friends, ages 9 to 15, were doing what kids do, then and now; they had paddled and rowed out to the Mokulua Islands to surf and play in the water. Along with an 8-foot boat, they had three surfboards and three air mattresses.

The boys kept together; never was one more than 75 – 100-feet from the others. Then, disaster struck. Billy, 15-year old son of Spencecliff restaurants partner Clifton Weaver, was on an air mattress and missed catching a wave. Then, the rest of the boys noticed he was clinging to the mat, apparently in difficulty. They heard a cry for help. Seeing blood in the water, they swam over and tried to rescue Billy – they saw he had lost a leg. Then, one of the boys cried out ‘Shark,’ seeing it surface 30-feet away.

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First White House State Dinner

“(T)he extravagant black-tie blowout that has become America’s highest diplo-social ceremony was not French or British, Russian or Mexican.” “The first ever foreign ruler to be given a White House state dinner was King David Kalākaua. He was hosted by President Ulysses S Grant on December 12, 1874, while in Washington on a mission to win trade concessions.”

“Grant, and more specifically, his wife, Julia, amazed the city with a White House table awash in flowers, crystal decanters and a $3,000, 587-piece set of Limoges china imported four years earlier by D.C. merchant J.W. Boteler and Bro.” “‘Brilliant beyond all precedent,’ marveled the Washington Evening Star the following day.”

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Queen’s Surf (with its Barefoot Bar,) Tahitian Lanai, Coco’s, Tiki Tops, Fisherman’s Wharf, Senor Popo’s, Trader Vic’s, Kelly’s, South Seas, Ranch House … the list goes on and on. It was a family operation, run by brothers Spencer (Spence) Fullerton Weaver Jr (May 18, 1911 – Aug 30, 1996) and Clifton (Cliff) Stokes Weaver (Jan 7, 1917 – Jan 23, 1992.)

At one time, the Spencecliff operation included 50-restaurants, cabarets, coffee shops and snack bars in Hawaiʻi, almost exclusively on the island of Oʻahu. It also operated two hotels, three bakeries and a catering service in Hawaiʻi and two hotels in Tahiti. There were more than 1,500 employees. Then their ownership in the restaurant operations came to an end. Gone are the familiar favorites we used to enjoy.

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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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