In 1865, William Booth, an British ordained minister with the Methodist New Connection, along with his wife Catherine, formed an evangelical group which preached to people living in poverty within London’s East End.
Booth’s ministry recognized the interdependence of material, emotional and spiritual needs. In addition to preaching the Gospel, Booth became involved in the feeding and shelter of the hungry, the homeless and the rehabilitation of those with alcohol addiction. Soon they were tagged, ‘Soap, Soup and Salvation Army.’
Booth’s original ‘Christian Mission’ became The Salvation Army in 1878 when it became modeled after the military structure. Booth became the ‘General’ and officers’ ranks were given to ministers. (Salvation Army)
Its orders and regulations were patterned after those of the British Army. All workers assumed military titles, its trainees became ‘cadets,’ local units were designated as ‘Corps,’ places of worship became known as ‘Citadels’ or ‘Outposts’ and their evangelistic undertakings were called ‘Campaigns.’ (Ruckman)
Thousands of immigrants were pouring into Hawai‘i to work in the plantations in the 1890s. Christian men and women realized the serious need for a ‘spiritual organization with a social aim … a social organization with a spiritual aim’ to work with the young and old of all nationalities in Hawai‘i. The Salvation Army met this need.
At the request of Central Union Church, the first contingent of Salvationists came to Hawaii in 1894. Five devoted and earnest workers, led by Staff Captain John Milsaps, arrived in Hawaii and were ready to face the challenges ahead.
“An institution concerning which little is known among the general public of Honolulu, and which is yet doing an amount of practical good quite out of proportion to the limited means at its disposal, is the Salvation Army home”. (Pacific Commercial Advertiser, May 25, 1908)
“The old Hopper homestead, on King street between Likelike and Punchbowl streets, has been secured by the Salvation Army for the Home for Women which it is about to establish in Honolulu. The property, which was recently bought as a site for the proposed Single Men s Hotel, is an improved estate with a fine residence upon the same.” (Pacific Commercial Advertiser, July 3, 1901)
“The rescue home of the Salvation Army is distinct from (other women/girls’ homes) and will have a distinct work. Its chief aim will be the rescue of fallen women. In the home they will be given such work as is suitable and proper, moral will be thrown around them.”
“All of their temporal and spiritual Interests will be looked out for. Already six fallen women have accepted the care of this institution and are being well looked out for although the home is still in an embryo state.” (Hawaiian Star, July 11, 1901)
By 1903, “The Kaʻiulani Home for Girls is to be opened September 1st, in the old Hopper homestead at King and Punchbowl streets. The place has been leased by an organization of ladles who have for a long time been desirous of providing a home for girls who are without homes of their own. The place is intended primarily as a home for Hawaiian girls, but It will be open as well to girls of other nationalities.”
“The Hopper homestead was formerly used as a Salvation Army home and later as a boarding house. It is well adapted for use as the ‘Kaiulani Home for Girls.’” (Hawaiian Gazette, July 14, 1903)
The Salvation Army’s Home relocated near the corner of King Street and Pawa‘a. “Here homeless children are taken in and tenderly cared for, irrespective of origin, color, race or sex, age or history.”
“Here also can be found a home for girls who have fallen but who have seen where their erring would certainly take them if continued and who have expressed a desire to regain the world of honesty and honor.” (Pacific Commercial Advertiser, May 25, 1908)
Then, they moved to Manoa, “New Structure Adds Immensely to Equipment of Salvation Army Home in Manoa” “With simple ceremonies, the cottage presented to the Salvation Army Home, Manoa Valley, by Mrs CM Cooke, was dedicated, and opened at 4 o’clock yesterday afternoon.”
“Fronting Manoa Valley and commanding a splendid view of the fine residential suburbs, the opposite mountain walls, Diamond Head and the ocean is a pillared lanai with furnishings for comfortable resting.”
“Inside of this lanai is the dormitory with 21 beds of crib pattern. Then, lengthwise of the building, is an inner lanai to serve as a common living room for studies or meals as may be desired.” (Star Bulletin, November 19, 1915)
By 1920 it was becoming apparent that there was a need for vocational training as the children, who had grown up in the Salvation Army Girls’ Home, were reaching the age of majority.
The Waioli Tea Room was added to the Home and dedicated in formal ceremonies in November, 1922. The tea room concept was patterned after the English-style High Teas popular in British Columbia, Canada. (The Canadian influence appeared with the arrival of two Canadian officers around 1915.) The morning classes produced goods to be served in the tea room every afternoon.
By the 1930s a luncheon service had become established and provided for large tour groups, especially from the frequent cruise ships calling at Honolulu Harbor. Income derived from the food service, both luncheon and high tea, maintained the cost of the operation.
Bakers, cooks, waitresses, housekeepers, maids, gardeners, kitchen helpers, cashiers, and clerks are some of the job classifications developed out of the training. (NPS)
For more than a century, The Salvation Army has functioned successfully within that unusual structure. Its outreach now encompasses 126 countries and its ministry is spoken in 160 languages.
The Hawaiian and Pacific Islands Division of The Salvation Army covers the state of Hawaii and the Pacific Islands including Guam, Republic of the Marshall Islands and The Federated States of Micronesia.
Today, The Salvation Army has grown into a well-established and comprehensive network of social services and religious programs in Hawaii serving thousands of men, women and children each year. (Salvation Army)