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Foster Botanical Garden

In 1853, Queen Kalama leased 4.6 acres of land to William Hillebrand, a botanist as well as a physician; he and his wife built a home. The magnificent trees which now tower over this area were planted by him. In 1884, the property was sold Thomas R. Foster and his wife Mary E. Foster. In 1919, Foster leased two-acres to the Hawaiian Sugar Planters’ Association for its experiment station, under the direction of Dr. Harold L. Lyon, a botanist and plant pathologist.

Lyon proceeded to build on the work of plant conservation and landscape architecture which Dr. Hillebrand and Mrs. Foster had initiated. By 1925, his plant nursery had produced over a million trees, most of them exceptional varieties which were not grown elsewhere. Upon Mrs. Foster’s death in 1930, the 5.5 acre site was bequeathed to the City and County of Honolulu as a public garden and was opened to the public on November 30, 1931, with Lyon as its first director.

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Three Germans were among the crew aboard Captain James Cook first visit to the islands in 1778. A few years later, Captain Henry Barber ran aground at Kalaeloa on Oʻahu. Captain Barber (we refer to this as “Barber’s Point,” however, the traditional name, Kalaeloa, is coming back into more common use).

Later, other early Germans to the Islands include, German scholar Adelbert von Chamisso, Georg Anton Schäffer, Paul Isenberg,
Heinrich Hackfeld, Dr. William Hillebrand, Claus Spreckels and Captain Henri Berger

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