Today’s ‘Timeline Tuesday’ takes us through the 1890s – Kapi‘olani Hospital is formed, Kalākaua dies, Overthrow, Annexation, Pali Road is completed and the first Beachboys organization is formed. We look at what was happening in Hawai‘i during this time period and what else was happening around the rest of the world.
Honolulu, by the end of the 19th century, was densely populated. Overcrowding and unsanitary living conditions were of great concern. In part because of the 1900 plague and the Chinatown fire, residents began moving away from the city and into the surrounding valleys, wanting to escape from the overcrowded city into the quiet and serene rural areas.
By 1890, there were already two reservoirs in place in Nuʻuanu Valley, and a third one was under construction. Plans for a fourth reservoir was underway after the 1891 drought, and construction on this reservoir began in 1905. With the area’s water system development, it supported the lifestyles of those living in the valley area. This area was one of the first on O‘ahu to be developed as a residential subdivision. It was called the Dowsett Tract, was named after the family that once owned the land.
In 1943, the Army established a regimental combat team training center at the foot of the Pali, emphasizing the use of and familiarity with modern arms and field weapons. In addition, the camp provided rugged terrain for jungle and Ranger training. The Pali Training Camp was situated in what is now the municipal Pali Golf Course, privately owned Ko‘olau Golf Course and Hawai‘i Pacific University.
The training area comprised of four non-contiguous parcels: Maunawili Valley Impact Area; the Maunawili site; on the northern ridge of Mount Olomana; and Ulumawao. Troops were housed in a sprawling tent city at the base of Nuʻuanu Pali capable of supporting 3,000 to 5,000-individuals. It was abandoned by the end of 1945, and by the end of 1946, military-erected structures were sold as surplus by bid sale. The land reverted to its previous use of cattle ranching in 1946.
Eveline (Kittie) Melita Townsend joined Kawaiahaʻo Church, where she sang in the church choir, led by then-Princess (later-Queen) Liliʻuokalani. Liliʻuokalani must have been charmed by her exuberant and fatherless choir member, for Eveline became a protégé of the princess and later an intimate friend. Eveline married Charles Burnett (CB) Wilson; the Wilsons had a son, Johnny.
CB Wilson was appointed Marshal of the Kingdom; Eveline became a lady in waiting to Lili‘uokalani. During her imprisonment, Queen Liliʻuokalani was denied any visitors other than one lady in waiting (Mrs. Eveline Wilson.) Johnny would bring newspapers hidden in flowers from the Queen’s garden; reportedly, Liliʻuokalani’s famous song Kuʻu Pua I Paoakalani was dedicated to him (it speaks of the flowers at her Waikiki home, Paoakalani.)
In the early nineteenth century there were three routes from Honolulu to Windward Oʻahu: around the island by canoe; through Kalihi Valley and over the pali by ropes and ladders; and over Nuʻuanu Pali, the easiest, quickest and most direct route. The first foreigner to descend the Pali and record his trip was Hiram Bingham in 1821.
In 1845 the first road was built over the Nuʻuanu Pali to connect Windward Oʻahu with Honolulu. In 1897, Johnny Wilson and Louis Whitehouse constructed a ‘carriage road’ over the Pali. When the current Pali Highway and its tunnels opened (1959,) the original roadway up and over the Pali was closed and is now used by hikers.