Laniloa Point (or Lāʻie Point) is a protrusion of rock separating Lāʻie Beach to the south from Laniloa Beach to the north. Laniloa, literally means “tall, majesty.”
In ancient times this point was a moʻo (lizard-like creature,) standing upright; Lua Laniloa was a hole that was the home of the moʻo, who “menaced all travelers pausing to refresh themselves beside his pool.”
The moʻo were slain by the demi-hero Kana and his brother Nīheu. When the brothers killed the monsters, they chopped them up into the five islands off shore of Mālaekahana and Lāʻie.
The moʻo hole has been confused with a pool known as the “Beauty Hole,” which formed in the 1930s during construction of Kamehameha Highway when excavation led to the collapse of a sinkhole. (Cultural Surveys)
“The mere mention of the Beauty Hole brings tears to the eyes of those who remember it fondly. It might not have looked like much to the passerby … but to people like Phyllis Kuamoʻo, ‘it was our Natatorium.’”
“Indeed, the chance to jump into the refreshing water was a reward that had to be earned … making it all the more cherished. Phyllis remembers going directly from Lāʻie Elementary School in the afternoons to the taro patch, where she and her siblings would get hot and muddy pulling taro. It was only after she pulled her share that her dad might offer the chance to jump in the swimming hole.”
“Vatau Galeai Neria also holds happy memories of the Beauty Hole. Coming from Sāmoa in 1952, she never learned to swim. That is, until her friends encouraged her to try out the Beauty Hole, which she did by boldly jumping in the first time.”
“Thankfully, there was a ‘learner’s section,’ where you could doggie paddle from rock to rock and never stray into the center.”
“Of course there were always the dare devils. Using a hand made diving board, some adventurous young swimmers would dive down to where the water was dark and deep, fill a glass soda bottle with water that was noticeably colder, and offer proof to friends waiting on the surface of how close to the bottom they’d been.”
“Young people and families from Lāʻie would flock to the swimming hole where, inevitably, musicians would set themselves up on a nearby mound for an impromptu concert, and many would feel blissfully connected and carefree.” (Hoʻomua)
“The pond was not much more than twelve or fifteen feet in diameter. And of course, when you’re used to it, you don’t become frightened. But I learned to swim there by having someone throw me in, and that’s the way many of us swim.”
“They’d throw us in the pond and it was supposedly bottomless, but you could swim around the edges.” (Adam Forsythe, BYUH Oral Histories)
“The beauty hole … was an indentation, the origins of which are somewhat obscure, but people do remember it back as far as present memory can go. The accounts have been that it was possibly uncovered as a result of digging off the end of Lāʻie point during road construction.”
“(T)hat’s where our swimming hole was and this is where Hawaiian boys and girls – myself – learn how to swim. I’ve been living here seventy-two and I never noticed any drowning in here.”
“And this beauty hole here has produced two boys they was raised in Laie and they called themselves Kelii brothers and they were once-upon-a-time champion swimmers in 1925, ’26, ’27, ’29; they were champion swimmers. It was from the Beauty Hole they learned it from here.”
“Close to the road you cannot touch there; it’s very deep, but close to the wall, you can. It is only about twenty feet deep and this is the pool where I used to make a lot of money like diving for nickels twenty-five cents. Oh, yes especially on Sunday.”
“This one Sunday I didn’t go to priesthood meeting but I made a lot of money … When you throw the money you don’t jump on the money you jump on the side because when you jump on the money you just find bubbles coming up.”
“So that’s how I beat the other boys. So they named me Five-Cents, so today I’m still Five-Cents. Well I’m glad I’m Five-Cents because if you raised me up twenty-five cents, then the government tax me more.”
“We had three little diving boards … that’s where we learned how to dive on that high tower.” (Thomas Au (‘Uncle Five-Cents,’) BYUH)
Some say Beauty Hole got its name because a beautiful old woman with long grey hair would come to swim during each full moon, and then sit on a rock under the moonlight and comb her hair.
She had apparently found solace in that spot after losing her daughter. Whether or not the story is true is irrelevant, because for all those who long ago got to swim there, it was unquestionably a place of beauty. (Hoʻomua)
Located across from where Foodland is now, the Beauty Hole eventually got covered over in the 1960s and built on.