“The valley of Kalihi succeeds to that of Anuana (Nu‘uanu), but is less bold and diversified in its scenery. Human dwellings and cultivated lands are here very few, or scattered thinly over a great extent of, probably, the finest soil in the world.”
“The commencement of the valley is a broad pasture-plain 0 the tall grass waving on every side, and intersected by a footpath, reminding one forcibly of the rural scenes which precede the hay-harvest in England.”
“Kalihi has a pass to the vale of Kolau similar to the pari of Anuana, though more precipitous, and only employed by a few of the islanders who convey fish from Kolau to Honoruru.” (Bennett)
“Kalihi had a shallow seaside area, now the shore of Kalihi Basin, that was, like that of Moanalua, ideal for the building of fishponds …. On the flatlands below the valley there were extensive terraces on both sides of the stream, while along the stream in the lower valley there were numerous areas with small terraces.”
“The interior valley was rough and narrow and not suitable for lo‘i but it would have been good for sweet potatoes, yams, wauke, and bananas, which probably were planted there.” (Handy)
Numerous taro pondfields, or lo‘i, were claimed during the Māhele, particularly along the Kalihi and Niuhelewai Streams, which served as the eastern and western boundaries of Kalihi. However, on the flat of Kaluapuhi where Kalihi Kai meets the ocean, there is no indication of taro lo‘i or fresh water sources. (Cultural Surveys)
There were five fishponds in Kalihi Kai, Ananoho, Auiki, Pāhouiki, Pāhounui and Apili. Apili pond was about 28-acres, with the wall surrounding it about 1,500-feet long.
Apili (“caught, snared, or stuck”) was noted for its awa (milkfish), a fish “which vied with the ‘ama‘ama (mullet) in popularity”. “The fishpond is yet famous for the superior flavor of its fish, particularly the awa, which, eaten raw, is esteemed a rare treat by native epicures.” (Cultural Surveys) (It was near what is now Sand Island Access Road and Hoonee Place.)
In 1828, Queen Kaʻahumanu gave Captain Alexander Adams over 290-acres of land in Kalihi Valley in connection with and in gratitude for his services. The area was called Apili, and included the pond.
Adams was born December 27, 1780; he left Scotland in 1792 to begin a life of working on the sea. This eventually led him to Hawaiʻi, where he arrived in 1811 on the American trading ship the ‘Albatross’ from Boston.
He became an intimate friend and confidential advisor to King Kamehameha I, who entrusted to him the command of the king’s sandalwood fleet. He became the first regular pilot for the port of Honolulu, a position he held for 30-years.
Adams is credited with helping to design the Hawaiian flag – a new flag for Hawaiʻi was needed to avoid confusion by American vessels (prior to that time, Hawaiian vessels flew the British Union Jack.)
After 30 years of piloting, Adams retired in 1853, grew fruit on his land in Kalihi Valley, and was great host to visitors. He also had a home on what was named Adams Lane (in 1850,) a small lane in downtown Honolulu off of Hotel Street named after him (near the Hawaiian Telephone company building.)
Adams married three times, his first was to Sarah “Sally” Davis, daughter of Isaac Davis; two of his wives were the Harbottle sisters (Sarah Harbottle and Charlotte Harbottle,) who were reared by Queen Kaʻahumanu and were favorites at court. According to his personal account, he was the father of 15 children, eight of whom were by his third wife.
The estate in Niu Valley was held by his granddaughter Mary Lucas, who started subdividing it in the 1950s. The area created by the filling of Kupapa Fishpond is now the site of numerous oceanfront homes.
Old Niu Fishpond (Kupapa Fishpond) is part of a tract of 2,446 acres that was once a summer home of Kamehameha I and which later claimed by Alexander Adams under Claim No. 802 filed Feb. 14, 1848, with the land commission at the time of the Great Māhele.
“A favorite place of resort for old residents in those days was Captain Alexander Adams’ residence at Kalihi. Adams was the pioneer par excellence of foreigners then living in the country”.
“Adams had a few acres of land enclosed at the mouth of the Kalihi stream, some three miles from town, where he cultivated grapes, bananas, pine-apples and a variety of vegetables.”
“Here, on holidays (and every Sunday) were wont to gather a number of Adams’ acquaintances, mostly Scotchmen like himself, ‘trusty, drouthy cronies,’ such as Andrew Auld, Jock Russell, James Mahoney, and others.”
“These used regularly to walk out to Adams’ in the cold of the morning and take dinner with him, one of the standing dishes being a soup the principal ingredient of which was ‘Scotch Kail,’ grown by himself.”
“The afternoon was spent under the shade of a large mango tree, one of the first planted on the Islands, where the chairs surrounded a big table covered with bottles and glasses.”
“Here old Adams as mine host was in his glory, and spun yarns and fought his battles o’er – he was with Nelson at Trafalgar – and told what he had said to ‘old Tammy’ (Kamehameha I) and what ‘Tammy’ said to him …”
“… anecdotes of John Young, and of Kaahumanu – who, before her conversion to Christianity must have been a veritable barbarisa – then back again to boyhood’s recollections in ‘Auld Scotia.’”
“The old man’s memory was excellent – like most Scotchmen he was pretty well read – and with a good listener he became eloquent, and had just enough of the old burr in his accent to be interesting.”
“The attentive listeners were generally the new comers, for as to the old hands, who had become familiar with Adams’ stories, they improved the time by getting more or less ‘foul.’” (Sheldon)