In the late-18th and early 19th centuries most vessels sailing through the North Pacific stopped for supplies at the Hawaiian Islands. A key stop was at Kou (what is now downtown Honolulu) and Honolulu Harbor, also known as Kuloloia. Boats either anchored off-shore, or they were pulled, towed or tracked into the harbor (this was done with canoes; or, it meant men and/or oxen pulled them in.) The harbor’s narrow entrance and channel were always a problem for vessels entering. The small inter-island schooners could negotiate it without help, but the larger foreign vessels were towed in – first by their own boats and later by double-canoes.
A few years after, in 1825, the first pier in the harbor was improvised by sinking a ship’s hull near the present Pier 12 site. The first efforts to deepen Honolulu Harbor were made in the 1840s. The idea to use the dredged material, composed of sand and crushed coral, to fill in low-lying lands was quickly adopted. It wasn’t until 1850 that streets received official names. in 1857, the fort was dismantled; its massive 12-foot walls were torn apart and used to fill the harbor to accommodate an expanding downtown.