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.