Today’s ‘Timeline Tuesday’ takes us through the 1990s – construction of first geothermal well, Akebono becomes first foreign-born to achieve Yokozuna rank in sumo, H-3 opens and Hawaii Convention Center opens. We look at what was happening in Hawai‘i during this time period and what else was happening around the rest of the world
French Actor George Brangier met Duke Kahanamoku in Los Angeles while both were acting. Brangier asked Kahanamoku to teach him how to surf. Kahanamoku agreed. Brangier moved to Hawai‘i in 1928. Brangier and a California surfer, Nat Norfleet Sr, started Branfleet in January 1936 at 1704 King Street. “We began like nearly everybody else in the business – not with a pair of shoestrings but with on shoestring between the two of us.”
“Red McQueen had brought back from the 1932 Olympics in Japan some shirts made out of silk kimono cloth. We copied them to produce our first aloha shirts.” The company was one of the first to switch from making strictly tailor-made shirts to making them through a manufacturing process. (On July 23, 1939, they moved into a factory on Kapiʻolani Boulevard.) In 1937 Branfleet signed Duke Kahanamoku to a five-year contract allowing them to use the noted champion’s name on their sportswear. They also had the ‘Kahala’ brand – what the company was eventually called.
Spain claimed the Pacific as its exclusive territory by right of the Treaty of Tordesillas (1494). Britain argued that navigation was open to any nation, and territorial claims had to be backed by effective occupation. British and Spanish claims to the Pacific Northwest had overlapped since the 16th century. In July 1789 Esteban Martínez, Spanish commandant at Nootka Sound, seized several British merchant ships. Britain demanded compensation and threatened war, but Spain declined to pay compensation and prepared for war, hoping its long-standing Bourbon ally, France, would provide assistance.
The resulting crisis brought the two nations close to war, but the Spanish backed off after realizing that without the help of France – distracted by the Revolution – they could not hope to match British naval power. They settled with the Nootka Convention (signed October 28, 1790), in which the Spanish acknowledged the British right to maintain outposts in Nootka Sound and engage in whaling outside a “Ten-League Line” off the Northwest coast. Peace in the Pacific allowed for commerce to the Hawaiian Islands to expand, as well as expand the roles of a new player, the US.
Benjamin Franklin (Frank) Dillingham’s OR&L company, created in 1889, changed the landscape of west Honolulu. Its first train depot was created between a fishpond and North King Street, next to Prison Road, later renamed Iwilei Road. The first section of track extended only as far as Aiea, but by the 1920s, tracks had been laid all over the island. The train was the primary mode of transportation. “Plans have been approved by which the main depot will be placed 180 feet from King street in what is now a fish-pond dividing Oahu prison from the royal stables.”
“A large portion, if not all of this extensive fish-pond will be filled in without delay, and this substantial and eligible building ground, artificially firmed, will become of great value by close proximity to the main depot buildings.” In 1924-1925, a new Depot was constructed to replace an earlier 1889 wooden terminal building, and was the main Honolulu rail terminal for OR&L’s passenger operations. Upon completion, the building had dual functions, with the 2nd floor providing offices for the company’s daily railroad operations, and the 1st floor accommodating passengers. A 1975 renovation completely reconfigured the interior of the building for office use by Department of Human Services.
Today’s ‘Timeline Tuesday’ takes us through the 1980s – bombing halted at Kaho‘olawe, Alexander Young Building demolished, enactment of State Water Code and over 1,000 ancient human remains discovered on land being developed by the Ritz-Carlton on Maui. We look at what was happening in Hawai‘i during this time period and what else was happening around the rest of the world