Kaʻōhao (the tying) is an ʻili in the Kailua ahupuaʻa in the Koʻolaupoko Moku on windward Oʻahu. Its name relates to when two women were tied together here with a loincloth after being beaten in a kōnane game. (Ulukau) The place where this act took place was given the name of Kaʻōhao and it so remains to this day. (Fornander)
Hāuna, kahu to high chief Lonoikamakahiki of Hawai‘i Island, saw that two women were beating their husbands in a game of kōnane. He offered to play the women and wagered a bet. The women said to Hāuna: “We have nothing to offer on our side excepting ourselves. If you beat us in this present unfinished game you can take us as your property.”
Hāuna then said: “I have two double canoes filled with things that are valuable; the chief articles of value on the canoes, however, are a large number of feather cloaks. If you two beat me, you two shall have the goods in the canoes together with the men on board.” The women replied: “It is a bet.”
After the women were beaten at the game, he tied them together and led them to his canoes where he said to one of them:
“This canoe shall be yours with everything in it from stem to stem, including the men. The men shall be your servants; they are not for you to sleep with. And as he had spoken to her, so in like manner he spoke to the second woman. He then left the women and proceeded to meet Lonoikamakahiki. (Fornander)
The Hawaiians used the mountain tops between Alāla Point and Wailea Point to scan the sea for fish. Some maps and other references note the area as Alaʻapapa and Mokulua.
In 1920, a bridge was constructed across Kaʻelepulu Stream, giving better access to the area. Before this time, the Windward side was relatively remote. However, in 1921, the Old Pali Road was widened and paved; this helped to initiate the suburban commute across the Koʻolau.
Shortly after (1924,) Harold Kainalu Long Castle sold land to developer Charles Russell Frazier (the head of Town and Country Homes, Ltd., which was the real estate division of the Trent Trust Co.) Frazier (primarily a marketing man, but was also developer and chief promoter,) planned the place as a resort community of summer and vacation homes.
In the 1920s, reference to the area changed, when Frazier and Richard H Trent made up the name “Lanikai” as a marketing ploy to entice wealthy buyers looking for a vacation home at the development that was references as the “Crescent of Content”.
In naming it Lanikai they believed it translated ‘heavenly sea;’ however, they used the English word order. In Hawaiian the qualifier commonly follows the noun, hence Lani-kai means ‘sea heaven,’ ‘marine heavenʻ. (Ulukau)
They laid out the subdivision and the first permanent homes in the area were constructed in 1924. Development began at the northern end of the neighborhood and moved further south along the beach.
The original lots along Mokulua Drive were numbered #1 through #39, from north to south with lots approximately 75-feet in width by 250-feet in depth, and about 18,000-square feet in area.
Beachfront properties were originally sold at an extremely low price, 20-cents per square foot, because of the lack of a windbreak.
The area was initially considered a remote country location for weekend getaways or vacations at the beach for swimming, fishing, boating and hiking.
The company’s many newspaper advertisements, which encouraged Honolulu residents to escape from the city to enjoy the recreational opportunities offered by a beach home.
These ads promoted Lanikai as a tranquil place in the country, where a “beach, protected by a reef and favored by landward breezes, is always safe for bathing.” A full-page ad, titled “Lanikai Futuregraph,” placed by Trent Trust featured their vision of the future Lanikai.
There was a row of rectangular-shaped beach-front lots, bordered by the ocean on one end and the road on the other, with homes sited near the ocean and large lawns fronting the road. The first lots sold were those along the beach and the inland lots were sold later.
The construction of the Lanikai streets was completed by October 1925. Included in the deeds for the Lanikai subdivision were restrictions that remained in effect until 1950, against building within 18-feet of the property boundary line along the street or using the property for anything other than residences.
At about the same time, Frazier leased a couple-hundred acres of neighboring land from Bishop Estate. He persuaded sixty-five men, many of whom were purchasing his lots and cottages at Lanikai, to commit to a country club project.
Before the golf course or clubhouse was even built, the Kailua Country Club (the name quickly changed to Mid-Pacific Country Club – MPCC) was heralded in the local newspaper as a “Mecca (for) tired businessmen who seek surcease from worldly cares in the surroundings of nature.” When MPCC was founded, only two eighteen-hole courses existed on the island of Oʻahu. (mpcchi)
In 1926, the development doubled in size and Frazier added the now-iconic monument at the entrance to the development.
It was designed by the famed local architect Hart Wood. (Wood, known for residential and commercial structures (including Alexander & Baldwin Building and Honolulu Hale,) designed the also-iconic “Hawaiian” double-hipped roof pattern and “lanai” or broad roofed-in patio with open sides.)
For decades, beach houses in Lanikai were mainly used as a retreat from Honolulu; however, in the 1950s, the area began to develop into a more suburban residential area. Many beach houses and beach retreats were replaced by houses more suited for daily living. (The Pali Highway and its tunnels opened in 1959; that helped spark the change.)
Lanikai Beach had a white sandy beach approximately one mile long (about half of this has disappeared over the years due to erosion and seawalls along the shore.)
The image shows Kaʻōhao (Lanikai) in the early years. In addition, I have added other related images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.