The first whalers (1819) and missionaries (1820) arrived in Hawaiʻi at about the same time. That is about the only thing a lot of them had in common.
One of the areas of the great divide between them had to do with drinking liquor.
The first temperance movement emerged in New England as clergy began to equate drinking alcohol with sins like Sabbath breaking and blasphemy. In 1808, the first temperance society was formed, but it singled-out hard liquor, such as rum, as its only target.
Very early in the temperance movement a Presbyterian minister by the name of Reverend Thomas P Hunt organized a children’s organization called “The Cold Water Army.”
In 1831, the large and influential American Temperance Union urged everyone to only drink cold water (not alcoholic beverages) thereby taking a Cold Water Pledge.
In Hawaiʻi, King Kamehameha III and most of the chiefs pledged themselves to total abstinence, and, in part, became zealous preachers of temperance; the king himself frequently addressing the people on the subject.
“1. We will not drink ardent spirits for pleasure. 2. We will not deal in ardent spirits for the sake of gain. 3. We will not engage in distilling ardent spirits. 4. We will not treat our relatives, acquaintances, or strangers with ardent spirits. 5. We will not give ardent spirits to workmen on account of their labor.” (Missionary Herald)
King Kamehameha III signed the abstinence pledge in 1842. On putting his name to the pledge, the young king said: “I am one who wish to sign this pledge. I have thought of this before, and the evil of drinking rum was clear to me. I am constituted a father to the people and the kingdom, and it belongs to me to regulate all the other chiefs. I have therefore become really ashamed, and I can no longer persist in rum-drinking. This is the reason why I subscribe my name to this pledge.” (The Friend, 1887)
Although he broke it regularly, he made intermittent appeals for abstinence among his fellows. For some years in the forties, no liquor was served at official functions. (Daws)
On the 1st anniversary of signing the pledge, “When the king signed the pledge, a quantity of rum, brandy, wine, etc, remained in the cellar. After lying there untouched for a year, various casks and bottles containing the poisonous mixtures were brought forth. After discussing for some time the question: ‘What shall be done with them ?’ the king said, ‘Pour them into the sea.’ To this all agreed; the casks were rolled to the seaside, and the whole herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea and perished in the waters.” (The Friend, 1887)
In March 1838, the first license law was enacted, which prohibited all selling of liquors without a license under a fine of fifty dollars for the first offense, to be increased by the addition of fifty dollars for every repetition of the offense. (The Friend, December 1887)
All houses for the sale of liquor were to be closed at ten o’clock at night, and from Saturday night until Monday morning. Drunkenness was prohibited in the licensed houses under a heavy fine to the drinker, and the loss of his license to the seller. (The Friend, December 1887)
Pūʻali Inuwai (“The water drinking host”) was formed on March 15, 1843; the Cold Water Army – Hawaiʻi’s version of the Temperance Movement.
Following the model elsewhere, they first looked to the children, suggesting: if you had 100 drunkards and tried to reform them, you would be lucky to save maybe 10; however, if you had 100 children and taught them temperance from a young age, you could save 90 out of the 100. Hawaiʻi youth were encouraged to join.
“The churches were crowded with willing worshippers. Thousands of children were taught in Sunday schools. The ‘cold water army’ embraced legions of valiant champions, who mustered occasionally in holiday dress, and marched with flaunting standards of ‘Down with Rum!’ ‘Cold water only!’” (Judd, 1840 in The Friend, December 1887)
Thousands of children enlisted in the ‘cold water army.’ Once a year they came together for a celebration. They had a grand time on these anniversary occasions. (Youth’s Day Spring, January 1853)
“Even the kings, despite their tendency to backslide, could be induced to forego alcoholic beverages and otherwise importuned to live exemplary lives. Kamehameha III toasted the King and Queen of France with a glass of water on board Rear Admiral Hamelin’s flagship.” (Meller)
“Three years earlier, in 1843, after the renunciation of sovereignty by Great Britain and the return of the Islands to his control, the King similarly partook in the festivities by drinking cold water.” (Meller)
Interesting … not knowing the actual date, Kauikeaouli selected St Patrick’s Day as his birthday. St Patrick was said to have proclaimed that everyone should have a drop of the “hard stuff” on his feast day after chastising an innkeeper who served a short measure of whiskey. In the custom known as “drowning the shamrock”, the shamrock that has been worn on a lapel or hat is put in the last drink of the evening.
The Cold Water movement apparently saw some early success. “Recruits to strengthen the ranks of the cold water army, adds real force to this nation; and not-only to this nation, but to every other nation where the principles of total abstinence are making progress. Formerly the Sandwich Islanders were a nation of drunkards; but, as a nation, they are now tee-totallers.” (The Friend, 1843)
However, as time went on, prohibition waned. From the 1850s, it was legal to make wine. In 1864-1865, acts were passed permitting legal brewing of beer and distillation of spirits under license at Honolulu. None of these enterprises produced quality products; all were economic failures. (Daws)
Up through the 1870s, Honolulu was the only place in the kingdom where liquor could be sold legally (another instance of the attempt to isolate vice,) but contemporary comment and court reports make it clear that the illegal liquor traffic was brisk everywhere, from Lāhainā and other port towns to the remotest countryside. (Daws)
At a 1910 prohibition rally, HP Baldwin related an early boyhood event at Lāhainā when a band of over 1,000-people, called “Ka Pūʻali Inuwai” paraded the streets singing songs, and gathered at Waineʻe Church where speeches were made against the evils of the use of liquor. Under the Kamehamehas from the earliest times no liquor was allowed to be sold to Hawaiians until 1882, when the law was changed under Kalākaua. (Maui News, 1910)
Honolulu’s The Friend newspaper began as “Temperance Advocate.” Then, it meant to many, moderate-restrained-use of liquor. Not so in all these years. “It meant total abstinence – nay, even prohibition before there was any such term.” (The Friend, 1942)
The image shows a Pūʻali Inuwai badge and mottos. In addition, I have added other related images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.
The American Seamen’s Friend Society (ASFS) of New York, organized in May 1828 (though not officially incorporated 1833;) in 1832 sent the Rev. John Diell to Hawai’i as its first chaplain to the port of Honolulu.
He constructed a two story chapel for the Seamen’s Bethel on a lot given by Kamehameha III – on what we now call Bethel Street.) The site was the approximate location of “The Friend” Building (926 Bethel Street – West side of street between Merchant and King.)
Situated on what was then the waterfront, it was started by the American Seamen’s Friend Society to minister to English-speaking sailors from whaling and trading ships.
The worship services attracted a number of English-speaking townspeople who in 1837 organized themselves as Oʻahu Bethel Church – the earliest regular church services in English in the Hawaiian Kingdom.
Poor health forced Diell to leave Hawai’i, and he died at sea in 1841. Rev. Samuel C. Damon was selected as his replacement.
Damon had been preparing to go to India as a missionary and was studying the Tamil language for that purpose, when an urgent call came for a seaman’s chaplain at the port of Honolulu in the Hawaiian Islands.
He was ordained to the Congregational ministry on September 15, 1841 and he decided to accept the position at Honolulu; he arrived in late-1842.
Throughout the 1840s there averaged over 400 ships in port each whaling season, with a record high of over 600 in 1846. Damon’s report from Honolulu in 1851 recorded the visits of 558 whale ships and barks, 27 brigs and 35 schooners, bringing approximately 15,000 men into the port during the year.
Reverend Damon also founded the English-language paper “The Friend” in 1843 and ran the paper from the Seamen’s Bethel Church until his death in 1885.
The Friend described itself as the “Oldest Newspaper West of the Rockies” in the early 1900s; it was a monthly newspaper for seamen which included news from both American and English newspapers as well as announcements of upcoming events, reprints of sermons, poetry, local news, editorials, ship arrivals and departures and a listing of marriages and deaths.
Between 1840 and 1870, an annual 6,000 seamen visited Honolulu, many worshiping at first Reverend Diell’s and then Reverend Damon’s church.
As Oʻahu Bethel’s numbers grew, and ship calls increased, need for a separate church became evident. In 1852 some Oʻahu Bethel members left to form what was to become Fort Street Church. Oʻahu Bethel continued to conduct services, later renaming itself Bethel Union Church.
In 1886 a raging waterfront fire destroyed the Seamen’s Bethel, which was still Bethel Union’s home. The idea surfaced of combining Bethel Union, now without a home, with the well-established Fort Street Church (at what is now the ʻEwa Makai corner of Fort Street and Beretania at the top of the Fort Street Mall.)
In 1887 a formal merger of Bethel Union and Fort Street Church created Central Union Church, with 337 members.
In 1892 Central Union Church moved into a new “blue-stone” (volcanic basalt) building across from Washington Place, Queen Liliuokalani’s residence. Within 15 years, however, rapid growth plus noise and ventilation problems created pressures to move.
In 1920, Central Union’s then-pastor, Dr. Albert Palmer, chose a desirable 8.3-acre site at Punahou and Beretania streets. The site was “Woodlawn,” for years the residence and dairy farm of prominent businessman BF Dillingham and his family.
Mrs. Emma Louise Dillingham, by then a widow, agreed to sell – she had been a member since Bethel Union days. In 1922, the cornerstone was laid, and the present sanctuary, designed in traditional New England style, was completed in 1924.
In 1924, Central Union Church, also known as the “Church in a Garden”, moved to its present location on Beretania Street.
The image shows the initial Seamen’s Bethel Chapel (Oʻahu Bethel Church) that was located on Bethel Street.
Once the main street of the financial and governmental functions in the city, Merchant Street was Honolulu’s earliest commercial center. Dating from 1854, these buildings help tell the story of the growth and development of Honolulu’s professional and business community.
The variety of architectural styles depict the changing attitudes and living patterns during the emergence of Honolulu as a major city.
The oldest commercial building in Honolulu, erected in 1854, is Melchers Building at 51 Merchant Street, built for the retail firm of Melchers and Reiner. Its original coral stone walls are no longer visible under its layers of stucco and paint, and it now houses city government offices, not private businesses.
Kamehameha V Post Office (1871)
The Kingdom of Hawai‘i instituted a postal system in 1851, issuing 5 and 13 cent stamps for letters and a 2 cent stamp for papers. Operated as a private concession for many years, the postal service expanded its work in the 1860s. David Kalākaua, later Hawaii’s monarch, ran the service from 1862 to 1865. The Kamehameha V Post Office at the corner of Merchant and Bethel Streets was the first building in Hawaiʻi to be constructed entirely of precast concrete blocks reinforced with iron bars. It was built by JG Osborne in 1871 and the success of this new method was replicated on a much grander scale the next year in the royal palace, Aliʻiōlani Hale. In 1900, the old Post Office became a unit of the U.S. Postal System.
Bishop Bank (1878)
Charles Reed Bishop moved to Honolulu in 1846; married Bernice Pauahi, in 1850; and Bishop started the first bank in Hawaiʻi, the Bishop & Co. Bank in 1858, The Bishop Bank Building at 63 Merchant Street was the earliest of the Italianate (or Renaissance Revival) structures on the street, built in 1878 and designed by Thomas J. Baker (one of the architects of ʻIolani Palace.) In 1925, Bishop Bank moved to much larger quarters along “Bankers Row” on Bishop Street, and later changed its name to First Hawaiian Bank, now the largest in the state. The building, now known as the Harriet Bouslog Building, houses the offices of the Harriet Bouslog Labor Scholarship Fund and the Bouslog/Sawyer Trusts.
The Friend Building (1887 and 1900)
This site was the approximate location of the Oʻahu Bethel Church established in 1837. Reverend Samuel C. Damon (1815-1885) founded the English-language paper ‘The Friend’ in 1843 and ran the paper from this earlier site of the Seamen’s Bethel Church until his death in 1885. The Chinatown fire of 1886 destroyed the original Seaman’s Bethel building. In 1887, builder George Lucas, erected a single, two-story brick building on the makai (ocean) side of this double parcel to house The Friend and other papers, both English language and Hawaiian, printed by the Press Publishing Company.
Royal Saloon (1890)
In 1862, the Hawaiian Government officially permitted the sale of “ardent spirits” after many years of typically unheeded suppression. An establishment selling alcohol to the many visiting sailors was located on this approximate site as early as 1873. The bar was only one of scores of similar establishments in Honolulu’s harbor area during the nineteenth century. In 1890, local barkeeper and investor Walter C. Peacock built and probably designed the Royal Saloon, one year after the widening of Merchant Street.
TR Foster Building (1891)
Thomas R. Foster began his company, Inter-Island Steam Navigation Company, in 1878. The TR Foster Building at 902 Nuʻuanu Avenue was built as his headquarters in 1891. In 1880, Foster had purchased the estate of the renowned botanist William Hillebrand (1821–1886), which was bequeathed to the city as Foster Botanical Garden at the death of his wife, Mary E. Foster, in 1930. (When airplanes came to the Hawaiian Islands, the Inter-Island Navigation Company founded a subsidiary, Inter-Island Airways. In 1941, Inter-Island changed its name to Hawaiian Airlines and discontinued its steam boat service in 1947.)
Bishop Estate Building (1896)
In 1896, the Bishop Estate purchased the property and built the current building. Bishop Estate offices remained at this location until 1918, when the trust built another building close by on Kaʻahumanu Avenue. The Bishop Estate Building at 71 Merchant Street was designed by architects Clinton Briggs Ripley and his junior partner, CW Dickey. It initially housed the executive offices of not only the Bishop Estate, but also the Charles Reed Bishop Trust and the Bernice P. Bishop Museum. Constructed of dark lava from the Estate’s own quarries, its notable features include arches above the lower door and window frames, four rough stone pilasters on the upper level, and a corniced parapet along the roofline. (The original Kamehameha School for Boys opened in 1887 on a site currently occupied by Bishop Museum. The girls’ school opened in 1894 nearby. By 1955, both schools moved to Kapālama Heights.)
Stangenwald Building (1901)
At six stories, the Stangenwald building was considered Hawaii’s first skyscraper and one of the most prestigious addresses in Honolulu. Designed by noted architect Charles William Dickey, construction of the steel-frame and brick building began in 1900 and the building was completed in 1901. This building is of the most modern style of fire-proof architecture, designed with completeness of office conveniences equal to that of any city.” Honolulu’s business community seemed to agree, for its prestigious address was claimed by several of Honolulu’s most prominent company names: The Henry Waterhouse Trust Company, B F Dillingham, Castle and Cooke, Alexander & Baldwin and C Brewer Companies. The Stangenwald remained the tallest structure until 1950, when the seven-story Edgewater Hotel in Waikīkī took over that title.
Judd Building (1898)
Dr. Gerrit P. Judd (1803-1873), a Protestant missionary who arrived in Hawai‘i in 1826, purchased the lot at the corner of Merchant and Fort Streets in 1861. The Judd Building, designed by Oliver G. Traphagen, boasted Hawaii’s first passenger elevator when it opened in 1898. The building was the first home for the newly formed Bank of Hawaii, which remained on the ground floor until 1927, when the bank took over new premises on Bishop Street. A fifth floor was added on top in the 1920s. The name commemorates Dr. Gerrit P. Judd, who became a close advisor to Kamehameha III and served as a minister in government of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i. He was a central figure in the creation of Hawai‘i’s constitution and helped to negotiate the return of Hawaiian sovereignty from Great Britain in 1843.
Yokohama Specie Bank (1909)
Overseas branches of the Yokohama Specie Bank (est. 1880) were chartered to act as agents of Imperial Japan. The Honolulu branch was the first successful Japanese bank in Hawaiʻi. The building at 36 Merchant Street dates from 1909 and was designed by one of Honolulu’s most prolific architects, Henry Livingston Kerr, who considered it not just his own finest work, but the finest in the city at the time. The brick and steel structure is L-shaped, with a corner entrance and a courtyard in back. The bank purchased this property, previously occupied by the 1855 Sailor’s Home, in 1907. During its operation, the bank set aside separate reception areas for Japanese-speaking, Chinese-speaking and English-speaking customers.
Honolulu Police Station (1931)
With one of the earliest police forces in the world, dating to 1834 and the reign of Kamehameha III (Kauikeaouli), the Kingdom of Hawaii had an earlier police station on King Street. The old Honolulu Police Station at 842 Bethel Street occupies the whole block of Merchant Street between Bethel Street and Nuʻuanu Avenue. Built in 1931, it replaced an earlier brick building on the same site that dated from 1885 (the new structure is also known as the Walter Murray Gibson Building.) At that time, the government also created a new Bethel Street extension, which linked Merchant Street to Queen Street. Architect Louis Davis designed it in a Spanish Mission Revival style that matches very well that of the newly built city hall, Honolulu Hale (1929.) It served as the headquarters of the Honolulu Police Department until the latter moved to the old Sears building in Pawaʻa in 1967. It was renovated in the 1980s and now houses other city offices.
The image shows Merchant Street in 1885 looking toward Waikiki; Kamehameha V Post Office in left foreground, right rear Bishop Bank. I have added more images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook page.
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