Actually, a lot of streets fit into the telling of this story: Marques Street, Evelyn Lane, Oliver Street, and Artesian Way. They are all associated with Auguste and Evelyn Oliver Marques and, the drilling of the first artesian well in Makiki, Honolulu.
A plaque marks the spot – I’ve been by it too many times to count, and never noticed it – and as the plaque notes, “This Means the Promise of Beauty and Fertility For Thousands of Acres.”
Most of the early water wells were drilled in and around Honolulu. It was James Campbell who furnished the first conclusive demonstration of the practicability of artesian wells in Hawaii, when on the summer of 1879, on the plain near his ranch house in Ewa, a good flow of water was obtained. (Kuykendall)
Success of this experiment created intense interest and a group of men in Honolulu brought over from California another well-driller, AD Pierce, with better equipment, and in the spring of 1880 a flowing well was completed (April 28) on the land of Auguste Marques near Punahou.
Subsequently, many other wells were drilled, and it became evident that a large supply of water could be obtained by this method. Early in the 1880s, the McCandless brothers (James S., John A., and Lincoln L.) began their long career as artesian well drillers in the islands. (Kuykendall)
“The first artesian well bored in Honolulu was marked in appropriate ceremonies yesterday on the premises of the Marques home on Wilder avenue near Metcalf street.”
“The first shaft tapping Honolulu’s subterranean water supply was marked with a bronze plaque which reads, “Site of Honolulu’s Pioneer Artesian Well, brought in on April 28, 1880 for Dr. Augustus Marques. ‘This means the promise of beauty and fertility for thousands of acres’ —King Kalakaua. Sealed August, 1938—Board of Water Supply.” (Nippu Jiji, June 21, 1939)
Doctor Marques lived much of his Hawaiian life at 1928 Wilder Avenue (now the site of a small apartment building). He originally owned about 30 acres of land, most on the slope below Vancouver Place.
Immediately Ewa side of it is Punahou School. The eventual tract (of about 30 acres, one supposes) was complete by 1880, at a cost of perhaps $10,000.
The area was called ‘Marquesville.’ He “was instrumental in bringing a colony of Portuguese to Honolulu … and sold lots on long term credit to encourage them to become home owners.” (Bouslog) Later, there was also a Catholic Church, with services in English and Portuguese.
“When asked to what nationality he belongs, Dr. A. Marques replies that he Is a true cosmopolitan”. (Hawaiian Star, March 9, 1899) Marques Auguste Jean Baptiste Marques was born in Toulon, France, on November 17, 1841.
His father was French and Spanish and was a general in the French Army. His mother, of English an Scotch descent, was the daughter of General Cooke of the British Army. Auguste’s boyhood was spent in Morocco, Algiers and the Sahara.
His early ambition was to become a doctor, but his mother wanted him to become a scientist. As a compromise, he acquired a medical and scientific education but agreed not to take a diploma or to practice medicine.
After four years of medical training, he was valedictorian of his class at the University of Paris, but, true to his agreement, never accepted his diploma. For some years following his graduation he was connected with the Bureau of Agriculture in Paris.
Shortly after his mother’s death in 1875, Dr. Marques started on a trip around the world. Arriving in Honolulu Christmas Eve of 1878, he decided to stay over between steamers, and so liked Hawaii that he cancelled his passage and from then on made his home in Honolulu and later became a naturalized citizen.
From 1890 to 1891 Dr. Marques served in the Hawaiian legislature. In 1893 he organized the Theosophical Society in Honolulu and six years later went to Australia to serve as General Secretary of the Society for that country.
From Australia he was sent to India as a delegate to the Theosophical Society convention, representing both Australia and the United States. In 1900 he returned to Honolulu.
On June 7, 1900, Dr. Marques married Evelyn M. Oliver, manager of the Woman’s Exchange in Honolulu. (Mamiya Medical Heritage Center)
Born in Canada in 1863, Evelyn Oliver had come to Hawai’i from Canada in 1889 as a publisher’s representative. She soon became interested in providing a sales outlet and a source of income, for Hawaiian women’s handicrafts.
“This institution served a double purpose, it preserved the old arts and it enabled native women to profitably market their products.” In 1899, her store was at 215 Merchant Street, which was also her residence.
The 1905-6 Directory describes her business as “South Seas Curios, hats and calabashes.” Women of Hawaii thought her noteworthy because of her joining the struggle for women’s suffrage, as “an active worker in the Women’s League of Voters of Hawaii…” (Bouslog)
As with her husband, Mrs. Marques is also remembered by a street name or two. Across from their home on Wilder Avenue is Artesian Street, commemorating the “pioneer artesian well.” East of Artesian is Evelyn Way, then Oliver Lane.
Both first appear in the City Directory of 1914. And so for her last 25 years she lived across from street signs displaying her maiden names. (Bouslog)
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