“Here you may be fanned by the breeze from the highlands – here you may look off upon the plains and the harbor of Honolulu and gaze with admiration upon the waves as they break over the coral reefs and upon the floating ship as she approaches …”
“… especially when she spreads the banner of your nation. Having refreshed yourself here a day or two you may return to your field invigorated.” (Lorenzo Lyons, speaking of Punahou)
The gift of land to Hiram Bingham, that later became Punahou School, had additional property beyond the large lot with the spring and kalo patches where the school is situated (Ka Punahou) – the land was an ʻili lele.
Punahou included a lot on the beach near the Kakaʻako Salt Works (‘Ili of Kukuluāeʻo;) the large lot with the spring and kalo patches where the school is situated (Kapunahou) and apparently a forest patch on the side of Mānoa Valley (ʻIli of Kolowalu, now known commonly referred to as Woodlawn.) (Congressional Record, 1893-94)
“The school was opened at Punahou, July 11th, 1842, with fifteen scholars in attendance that day. During the first year there were thirty-four pupils, of whom fifteen were boarders, their ages varying from seven to twelve.” (Punahou Jubilee, 1891)
“In the summer of 1844 the faculty was increased by Mr and Mrs (William Harrison) Rice, who were transferred from Hana Maui, to assist the school, where they remained till 1854, Mr Rice having special charge of financial matters and of the out-of-door work.” (Punahou Jubilee, 1891)
Mānoa was first a supplier of wetland taro and then, as the population in its vicinity grew, became a major dairy and vegetable growing center for urban Honolulu.
O‘ahu College (later known as Punahou School,) was the site of the first recorded dairy in the valley (and possibly the first in the Islands,) started in 1844 by William Harrison Rice. (DeLeon)
Back then, there were two pastures – Upper Pasture (above Rocky Hill) and Lower Pasture, makai of the school. “Mr. Rice built the wall around the upper pasture, surrounding Rocky Hill, and Mr. Spooner the wall enclosing the lower pasture.” (Punahou Catalogue, 1866)
“All cattle belonging to Punahou and the various missionaries were pastured in Mānoa. Each missionary had a herd and a milking pen and every morning and afternoon the cows were driven to their respective pens.” (Wm Hyde Rice; The Friend, March 1924)
“We had a dairy, the Punahou dairy, over on the other side of Rocky Hill. That was all pasture. We had beautiful, delicious milk, all the milk you wanted. The cows roamed from there clear over to the stone wall on Mānoa hill.”
“There were a few gates and those gates caused me trouble because the bulls wanted to get out or some boys would leave a bar down and I would get off the streetcar at the top of the hill and have to walk along the gravel road, 500 miles it seemed to me, to get to the house. …”
“Occasionally, just often enough to keep me alert, there would be a bull wandering around across the road and down the hill onto Alexander Field or just where I wanted to go.” (Eleanor Griffiths ’25 Shaw, the first child raised in the President’s House (Punahou))
All was not always good … “RA Duncan, Food Commissioner and Analyst, in his report for May to the Board of Health says one hundred and twenty milk samples were examined … The list of those supplying milk of inferior quality, other than samples submitted by private parties, (included) Punahou Dairy”. (Pacific Commercial Advertiser, June 9, 1904)
The ‘Punahou Pasture’ was not only for cattle or horses, over the years the National Guard fought ‘sham battle’ training exercises and drills (as did the local Police,) as well as the football and baseball games – even golf.
“In 1880 the ‘lower pasture,’ containing 31.3 acres, was divided into building lots, and streets laid out in it. The sale of these lots has added twenty-one thousand four hundred ($21,400.00) to the endowment.” (Alexander, 1907)
“(A)cross Punahou Street in the Punahou lower pasture, Dole, Beckwith, Alexander, and Bingham streets were laid out in 1880 by the Punahou School trustees.”
“All were named for prominent men: the first three were, in order, (principals and) presidents of the school (Daniel Dole, Edward G Beckwith and William DeWitt Alexander;) it was to the fourth, Hiram Bingham, that Governor Boki made the original Punahou land grant in behalf of the mission.” (Clark, 1939)
“During the year 1900, the ‘upper pasture, now known as ‘College Hills,’ was divided into building lots, (most of which have since been sold), and has now become the most attractive suburb of Honolulu.” (Alexander 1907)
Then, in January 1925, Punahou School bought the Honolulu Military Academy property – it had about 90-acres of land and a half-dozen buildings on the back side of Diamond Head.
It served as the “Punahou Farm” to carry on the school’s work and courses in agriculture. “We were picked up and taken to the Punahou Farm School, which was also the boarding school for boys. The girls boarded at Castle Hall on campus.” (Kneubuhl, Punahou) The farm school was in Kaimukī between 18th and 22nd Avenues.
In addition to offices and living quarters, the Farm School supplied Punahou with most of its food supplies. The compound included a big pasture for milk cows, a large vegetable garden, pigs, chickens, beehives, and sorghum and alfalfa fields that provided feed for the cows. Hired hands who tended the farm pasteurized the milk in a small dairy, bottled the honey and crated the eggs. (Kneubuhl, Punahou)
The Punahou dairy herd was cared for by the students as part of their course of studies – the boys boarded there. However, disciplinary troubles, enrollment concerns (not enough boys signing up for agricultural classes) and financial deficits led to its closure in 1929.