Hanami (Japanese, literally, hana = flower and mi = look … “flower viewing”) is the Japanese traditional custom of enjoying the beauty of flowers; “flower” in this case almost always means cherry blossoms.
In Japan, the flowering cherry tree, or “Sakura,” is an exalted flowering plant.
On the continent, the plantings of cherry blossom trees originated in 1912, as a gift of friendship to the People of the United States from the People of Japan.
Over three-thousand cherry blossom trees were planted along the Tidal Basin of the reclaimed Potomac waterfront in Washington, DC. Today, the National Cherry Blossom Festival is a DC spring celebration.
Cherry blossom trees are very temperamental. They grow in cold climates and require a lot of sunshine, space, rain and breeze. The flowers bloom when a cold spell is followed by a warm spell.
Waimea on the Big Island meets the criteria and today marks the 20th Annual Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival – with a bunch of activities and programs, focusing on the “Viewing of the Flowers in Springtime.”
The cherry trees in Waimea are in rows fronting Church Row Park. The first trees (there were initially only three) were planted in 1953 in honor of Fred Makino. These trees are the Formosan cherry trees from Taiwan, which produce flowers but no fruit.
In 1912, Fred Makino founded and edited the Japanese language newspaper Hawaii Hochi, which flourished through the Great Depression, two World Wars, dock strikes and political changes. After Makino’s death in 1953, his wife decided to plant cherry trees in his memory.
From these, Parker Ranch gardener Isami Ishihara later propagated more trees. Ishihara then approached Pachin Onodera of the Waimea Lions Club to suggest the trees be used to promote community beautification.
In 1972, led by President Frank Fuchino, the Waimea Lions Club started what was to become a cherry tree park at the County-owned Church Row by planting 20-trees donated by Ishihara.
In 1975, 50-more trees were added in a tree planting commemorating the visit of Emperor Hirohito and Empress Nagako to Hawaiʻi and to honor the first Japanese immigrants who settled in Waimea.
For two decades, Waimea’s free community festival has showcased the 60-year-old cherry trees planted at Waimea’s historic Church Row Park. The event also celebrates this community’s rich Japanese cultural heritage and traditions at venues throughout town.
Look for pink banners identifying sites — from the Parker Ranch Historic Homes on Māmalahoa to the Hawaiian Homestead Farmer’s Market.
Everyone is invited to spend the day enjoying a lineup of Japanese and multi-cultural performing arts, plus hands-on demonstrations of bonsai, origami, traditional tea ceremony, mochi pounding and a host of colorful craft fairs and delicious foods.
Festivities begin at 9 am in the parking lot behind Parker Ranch Center with special guests, honorees and performances, including bon dancing.
Highlights this year will be an anniversary exhibit honoring some of the festival’s first performers and commemorating its founders – most notably the memory of the late Anne Field-Gomes, whose volunteerism benefited many Waimea organizations and events, including the festival.
Anne Field-Gomes died October 23, 2012 at the age of 84. She brought the AARP’s Tax Aid program to Waimea, served on the Waimea Community Association Board, and was treasurer for the Friends of Thelma Parker Library and the South Kohala Traffic Safety Committee. She was a member of the Waimea Outdoor Circle, St. James’ Church and Imiola Congregational Church and the Waimea Pupule Papale Red Hat Club.
The image is this year’s event poster. In addition, I have added other related images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.
In 1919, in commemoration of the coronation of Emperor Yoshihito (and a sign of good Japanese-Hawaiian relations,) Japanese in Hawaiʻi offered to construct a modified duplicate of the fountain in Hibiya Park Tokyo in Kapiʻolani Park.
The official presentation of the “Phoenix Fountain” was conducted by Consul General Moroi who announced the fountain was a “testimonial of friendship and equality of the Japanese residing in the Hawaiian Islands.”
One Japanese speaker noted, “We are assembled here to mark a spot of everlasting importance in the annals of the history of the Japanese people of Hawaii.”
Unfortunately, such friendship and trust did not prevail over the years, the victim of racial turmoil generated by World War II.
Reportedly, the Honolulu Advertiser noted on the 1st anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor that the “fountain which stood in Kapiʻolani Park for 25-years as a public symbol of Japanese imperialism may at last be removed.”
Following the racial animosity generated by World War II, in 1943, the Phoenix Fountain was destroyed and turned to scrap. A basic fountain was built.
Later, in the 1960s, the city constructed a fountain in honor of Louise Dillingham, who served many years as a member of the former City Parks Board (reportedly, the Walter and Louise Dillingham Foundation gave the fountain to the city in 1966.)
Her husband Walter Dillingham is known for the huge changes he made to Honolulu’s landscape – which included draining Waikīkī’s wetlands, dredging the Ala Wai Canal and filling in Waikīkī’s wetlands.
Today the fountain at Kapiʻolani Park has become a popular resting spot for joggers and a regular backdrop for photos (it has also served in scenes in prior Hawaii Five-O episodes.)
It’s located across the street from the Elks Club at Poni Moi Street.
The image shows transformative stages of the fountain at Kapiʻolani Park – first as the Phoenix Fountain and then the basic fountain and later the Louise Dillingham Memorial Fountain (images from “Kapiʻolani Park a history.”)
In addition, I have included other related images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.
Hawai‘i’s whaling era began in 1819 when two New England ships became the first whaling ships to arrive in the Hawaiian Islands. Rich whaling waters were discovered near Japan and soon hundreds of ships headed for the area.
The central location of the Hawaiian Islands between America and Japan brought many whaling ships to the Islands. Whalers needed water and food, and the islands supplied this need from its fertile lands.
The whaling industry was the mainstay of the island economy for about 40 years. For Hawaiian ports, the whaling fleet was the crux of the economy.
More than 100 ships stopped in Hawaiian ports in 1824. Over the next two decades, the Pacific whaling fleet nearly quadrupled in size and in the record year of 1846, 736-whaling ships arrived in Hawai‘i.
While it lacked a natural “harbor,” Lāhainā became one of the Islands’ leading whaling ports. Whalers’ small “chase boats” had to come in from the deep-water offshore anchorage to trade.
While the name Lāhainā means “cruel sun” and the area only averages 13 inches of rain per year, spring-fed, freshwater streams and canals once flowed through it .
Reportedly, during the 1790s, British captain George Vancouver visited this part of Maui and called it “the Venice of the Pacific.”
By the 1840s, Hawaiʻi was the whaling center of the Pacific. Lāhainā became a bustling port with shopkeepers catering to the whalers – saloons, brothels and hotels boomed.
The whalers would transfer their catch to trade ships bound for the continent, allowing them to stay in the Pacific for longer periods without having to take their catch to market.
In the 1840s, the US consular representative recommended digging a canal from one of the freshwater streams that ran through Lāhainā and charging a fee to the whalers who wanted to obtain fresh water.
A few years after the canal was built, the government built a thatched Marketplace with stalls for Hawaiians to sell goods to the sailors.
Merchants quickly took advantage of this marketplace and erected drinking establishments, grog shops and other pastimes of interest nearby. Within a few years, this entire area reportedly became known as “Rotten Row.”
In 1859, an oil well was discovered and developed in Titusville, Pennsylvania; within a few years this new type of oil replaced whale oil for lamps and many other uses – spelling the end of the whaling industry.
At about this same time, the sugar industry in Hawaiʻi was beginning to boom. With the growing importance of sugar (and the thirsty crops’ need for water,) waters were diverted to the service of sugar production.
Eventually, the Lāhainā area was drained of its wetlands. In 1913, the canal was filled in to construct Canal Street and the Market is now King Kamehameha III Elementary school.
Later, eleven-and a-half acres of Lāhaina “swamp land” (near the National Guard Armory,) drainage canals and storm sewers were part of the Lāhaina Reclamation District. (1916-1917) Mokuhinia Pond was filled with coral rubble dredged from Lāhaina Harbor.
By Executive Order of the Territory of Hawaii in 1918, the newly-filled pond was turned over to the County of Maui for use as Maluʻuluʻolele Park.
The image is a rendering of the Lāhainā Canal (found at kingwellislandart-com.) Additional images and maps are in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.
In 1887, Daniel Paul Rice Isenberg (Paulo Liʻiliʻi) (son of the Paul Isenberg, one of the founders of H. Hackfeld & Co. (Amfac) and one of the organizers of the Līhuʻe Sugar plantation) invested a large part of his inheritance in the development of a 3,000-acre ranch at Waiʻalae, Oʻahu.
He obtained the major part of Kaimuki from the Lunalilo and Bishop estates, and used this land for cattle, alfalfa and race horses.
He was the first ranchman in the islands to demonstrate the growth and uses of alfalfa, a valuable stock feed, but he couldn’t realize much of a profit because sugar and rice were top priority, then.
His birthday was on June 11, Kamehameha Day, the day for horse races at Kapiʻolani, and “rarely did it pass without a luau at Waiʻalae Ranch.” King Kalākaua frequently visited Isenberg at his ranch for the evening, for both of them enjoyed the same things, festivities, luaus and singing.
In 1919, after Isenberg’s death, the ranch’s lease was sold to accommodate a dairy by 1924; it was the largest dairy in Honolulu.
Then, in 1927, the Territorial Hotel Co., as part of a promotional program to develop luxury travel trade to Hawaiʻi on the mother company’s Matson Navigation Co. cruise ships, built the Royal Hawaiian Hotel … and with it the Waiʻalae Golf Course.
The hotel and golf course lands were leased from the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Estate. The Golf Course was opened for play on February 1, 1927. In July 1927, the Isenberg ranch home near the mouth of Wai‘alae stream became the club house for the Wai‘alae Golf Course.
Local players were able to use the course, and by payment of annual fees for play became “privilege card holders” in the Territorial Hotel Company’s Waiʻalae Golf Club.
In 1930, a group of these Waiʻalae players formed a private club within the Waiʻalae Golf Club which they called Waiʻalae Country Club. It enlarged a small service building close to the main clubhouse, installed showers and had its own clubhouse where the swimming pool is now located.
The great depression of the 1930s severely reduced travel and resulted in bankruptcy of the Territorial Hotel Co. Matson took over the obligations and interests of the Territorial Hotel Co. which included the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, the Moana Hotel and Waiʻalae Golf Club.
By the 1930s, the beachfront along Kahala Avenue was being developed with homes, while farming continued in other areas. In 1938, more than 50 pig farms were operating in the vicinity of Farmers Road and Kahala Avenues. Residents of the area, citing an increase in rats and mice at Kahala, petitioned the territorial board of health to remove the pig farms (Honolulu Advertiser, December 20, 1938).
During these years, play on the course was mainly by local privilege card holders, most of whom were members of Waiʻalae Country Club.
In August of 1941, fire destroyed the Waiʻalae Pavilion which was used by Waiʻalae Golf Club for dining and dancing, and Matson decided to turn the golf course and remaining buildings over to Waiʻalae Country Club.
Before this plan was consummated, the US had entered World War II, the military had requisitioned the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, and numerous military defenses had been installed along Oʻahu’s coastline including the golf course at Waiʻalae.
Waiʻalae Country Club was incorporated on September 30, 1942 and became lessee of the golf course acreage and a small section of land owned by Matson on which the old Isenberg home (later The Pavilion) had been located. The military built a replacement for the Pavilion because of the heavy use of the course by military personnel during the war.
The old Waiʻalae Country Club clubhouse was destroyed by fire in 1952, but through the conversion of the military structure into kitchen and dining facilities, and the building of new locker rooms, Waiʻalae was again in full operation within twenty-four months after the fire.
In the 1953 filming of “From Here to Eternity,” Private Prewitt is shot near the bunker on the first hole at Waiʻalae.
No major physical changes were made in the golf course layout until 1954 when the 15th hole was lengthened from 320 yards to 435 yards. (However, in the early-1960s major reconstruction on the front nine was necessitated in order to provide beachfront areas for the Kahala Hilton Hotel and the Kahala Beach Apartments.)
Tennis courts, swimming pool and added parking units were completed in 1958 and Waiʻalae became a Country Club in fact, as well as, name.
Hawaiian Opens (under various sponsorships) have been held at Waiʻalae since 1928. The First PGA Tour Hawaiian Open Golf Tournament was held in the fall of 1965. Today, Waiʻalae is home to the Sony Open in Hawaiʻi. (Lots of images and information here is from the waialaecc-org.)
The image shows the Waiʻalae Golf Course in 1929. In addition, I have added other images in a folder of like kind in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.