Today’s ‘Timeline Tuesday’ takes us through the 1910s – Duke Kahanamoku is Hawai‘i’s first Olympic Champion, Outdoor Circle formed, Hawai‘i National Park is formed and Lili‘uokalani dies. We look at what was happening in Hawai‘i during this time period and what else was happening around the rest of the world
Memorials are an important way of remembering. They are not just part of the past; they help shape attitudes in the present and thus act as a guide for the future. In November 1918, a suggestion was made that a monument should be raised by public subscription and be made a feature of the civic center in Honolulu. A bill passed with practical unanimity by the legislature for the acquisition, for park and other public purposes, of the Irwin Waikiki beach property using Territorial bonds.
It received the approval of the governor on April 29, 1919. The park would be named ‘Memorial Park.’ In the evening of August 24, 1927, the Natatorium, constituting the first unit of Hawaii’s war memorial, was formally opened. However, now, due to lack of maintenance and care, the Natatorium is effectively off limits and is in unsafe condition. The status quo will result in demolition by neglect.
While she claims it to be “love at first sight,” he took the relationship more cautiously. They dated for a year. He almost lost her toward the end of 1939. While spending Christmas on the Big Island with friends she mulled over a marriage proposal from one of her “dancing pupils” who “was much younger than (him) and very wealthy.”
This young man “begged her to marry him and move to the mainland.” She called her earlier suitor; during the conversation she also told him about the proposal and he simply told her, “Baby, come home.” She did. On August 2, 1940, Duke Paoa Kahanamoku and Nadine Alexander slipped out of Honolulu and were married in Mokuʻaikaua Church in Kailua-Kona.
They started making hoop skirts; Bradley, Voorhees & Day then got into ‘union suits’ (reportedly they were the first.) The union suit involves the combination of both a shirt and pants (drawers) in a one piece suit. The garment commonly included a drop seat. During the Great Depression, they were successful in manufacturing swimsuits for men, women and children.
They patented their own fabric, Sea Satin, a rayon woven satin backed with latex for stretch. Later, in the 1940s and 50s, Bradley, Voorhees & Day started to make Hawaiian Aloha Shirts. Over time, the products were simply known as BVD (using the first letters of founders’ names.) And now, they are a genericized trademark in reference to any brand of underwear.
His family was living in a small house on the beach at Waikiki where the present day Hawaiian Hilton Village now stands. He swam, surfed, fished, did odd jobs such as selling newspapers and went to Waikiki grammar school; he would never graduate from high school.
He earned his living as a beachboy and stevedore at the Honolulu Harbor docks. Duke’s love of surfing is what he is most remembered. He used surfing to promote Hawaiian culture to visitors who wanted to fully experience the islands; he was regarded as the father of international surfing.