Historic Curbs and Sidewalks

As early as 1838, sidewalks along Honolulu streets were constructed, usually of wood. Paved streets were unknown until 1881; in that year, the first, Fort Street, was paved. The first sidewalk made of brick was laid down in 1857 fronting a shop on Merchant Street; Hawaii’s first concrete sidewalk was poured in front of a store on Queen Street in 1886. From 1889 to 1949, Mōʻiliʻili Quarry provided the stone that was used to build Honolulu’s streets, sidewalks and curbstones, as well as some of its prominent buildings.

In the mid- to late-19th century, sailing vessels from China or the continent bound for Honolulu to pick up sandalwood or sugar cane would fill their holds with granite as ballast (it added stability to the sailing vessels and weren’t needed when loaded with heavy cargo.) As more and more ships dumped their granite ballast on the docks, someone came up with the idea to use them for sidewalks. These blocks are scattered throughout Chinatown, and many were used in the construction of a few buildings. Later, concrete sidewalks were constructed throughout the city, as far out as Thomas Square.

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Hanalei Bay Pier

Hanalei … Taro … Pier –> you’d expect these are all associated and the reason for the picturesque pier in Hanalei Bay.  … Kinda.

The Hanalei Bay Pier was originally built to serve the region’s thriving rice industry (recall that as taro production declined in the mid- to late-1800s, many of the loʻi were converted to rice cultivation.)

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Ancient Agricultural Production Intensification

According the research and reporting by noted archaeologists, there were three main technological advances resulting in food production intensification in pre-contact Hawai‘i: (a) walled fishponds, (b) terraced pondfields with their irrigation systems and (c) systematic dry-land field cultivation organized by vegetation zones.

The general term for a fishpond is loko (pond), or more specifically, loko iʻa (fishpond). Loko iʻa were used for the fattening and storing of fish for food and also as a source for kapu (forbidden) fish. Terraced pondfields (lo‘i) and their accompanying irrigation systems (‘auwai) intensified cultivation of wetland taro (kalo.). Systematic cultivation of dryland crops in their appropriate vegetation zones was exemplified by the Field Systems in Kona, Kohala, Kaupō and Kalaupapa.

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These posts are part of a personal learning experience; I have been searching to learn more about the place I and my family were born, raised, and live (and love) – then, share what I have learned.

Because of my Planning work across the Islands, as well as previously serving as Director of the State Department of Land and Natural Resources, State Historic Preservation Officer and Deputy Managing Director for Hawaiʻi County, I have had the opportunity to see some places and deal with some issues that many others have not had, nor will have, the same opportunity.

So, I am sharing some insights, events and places with others. These informal historic summaries are presented for personal, non-commercial and/or educational purposes. I hope you enjoy them. Thanks, Peter.

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