Today’s ‘Timeline Tuesday’ takes us through the 1880s – Kalākaua goes on his world tour, Matson acquires his first vessel, Pauahi dies, Bayonet Constitution and Pearl Harbor is leased by US Navy. We look at what was happening in Hawai‘i during this time period and what else was happening around the rest of the world.
Matson Navigation Company’s long association with Hawaiʻi began in 1882, carrying 300 tons of food, plantation supplies and general merchandise from San Francisco to Hilo. Later, Matson started carrying people, too; via ship was the only way to get to/from the Islands. With increasing passenger traffic to Hawaii, Matson built a world-class luxury liner, the SS Malolo, in 1927.
Then, the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce had an idea for a goodwill mission, with a 3-month sail around the Pacific. “We wanted it to be strictly a business trip. We secured representatives from twenty-six states and two territories. Practically every man aboard that boat was a business man, or interested in business problems.” Because of the affluent passengers, the ‘Around Pacific Cruise’ was also dubbed the ‘Millionaires Cruise.’ The Malolo was so luxurious that it was a destination in and of itself. It established a trend of cruising.
William Matson became well established in the Hawaiian trade. His small fleet of sailing vessels shuttled back and forth between Hilo and San Francisco. Matson recognized the potential of oil. He convinced Hawai‘i’s plantation and sugar mill owners to switch from coal and bagasse (sugar cane waste) to oil.
Then, he converted some of his sailing flee into tankers to carry the oil to the Islands. In 1903, he formed the Monarch Oil Company and five years later bought the Buena Vista Hills property (Matson later renamed the area Honolulu Hills) and a year later (1910) created Honolulu Oil Company.
Born in Sweden, Captain William Matson (1849–1917) arrived in San Francisco in 1867, at the age of 16. There, he began sailing in San Francisco Bay and northern California rivers. Captain Matson became acquainted with the Spreckels family and was asked to serve as skipper on the Spreckels’ yacht, Lurline.
In 1887, Matson bought the Lurline from Spreckels – this was the first of several famous Matson vessels to bear the Lurline name. Matson met and married Lillie Low; the couple named their only child Lurline Berenice Matson. Matson built a steamship named Lurline in 1908; with growing passenger traffic to Hawai‘i, Matson built a world-class luxury liner, the SS Malolo in 1927. Its success led to the construction of the luxury liners Mariposa, Monterey and Lurline between 1930 and 1932.
“They say she is the most photographed girl in the Islands …” Pualani Mossman was born on April 16, 1916 in Honolulu. In 1934, Mossman was tapped by the Hawaiʻi Tourist Bureau to star in the first color movie made in Hawaiʻi, intended to promote tourism.
She became known as the “Matson Girl,” appearing in Life, Time and Fortune magazines. For more than 50 years, Pualani Mossman epitomized the image of a Hawaiian hula dancer as the original poster girl for Matson cruises and the Hawaii Visitors Bureau.