Kailua Ahupua‘a is the largest valley on the windward side of O‘ahu, and the largest ahupua‘a of the Koʻolaupoko District. From the Koʻolau ridge line it extends down two descending ridge lines which provide the natural boundaries for the sides of the ahupua‘a.
When the first Polynesians landed and settled in Hawaiʻi (about 900 to 1000 AD (Kirch) they brought with them shoots, roots, cuttings and seeds of various plants for food, cordage, medicine, fabric, containers, all of life’s vital needs.
“Canoe crops” (Canoe Plants) is a term to describe the group of plants brought to Hawaiʻi by these early Polynesians. One of these was ‘niu,’ the coconut; they used it for food, cordage, etc.
Later, others saw commercial opportunities from coconuts.
In 1906, Albert and Fred Waterhouse were walking over sand dunes along the approximately one-mile wide by two-and-a-half-mile long area between Kawainui Marsh and the ocean, when they envisioned the idea of planting coconut trees there.
“During the week papers will be filed with the Treasurer for the incorporation of the Hawaiian Copra Co, having lands under (a 29-year) lease from Mr Castle. …”
“(The land) is … two-hundred and fifty acres adapted to the cultivation of cocoanut trees, of which it has twenty thousand, half of which are nearly three feet high and the balance recently planted.” (Pacific Commercial Advertiser, May 12, 1907)
“The copra is compressed and the extracted oil used in the manufacture of soaps, and as oils in the manufacture of high-grade paints. Another use to which it is put is the manufacture of shredded cocoanut, which is utilized by confectioners and bakers. The fiber is made into hawsers (ropes) for towing purposes.” (Pacific Commercial Advertiser, May 12, 1907)
They “leveled the sand dunes and smoothed out the sand hillocks,” and planted approximately 320-acres with over 130,000-coconut trees.
Many rows of ironwood trees were also planted as a windbreak and a fence had to be built to keep cattle out. (Drigot)
Things looked up.
“George A Moore & Co, commission merchants, of San Francisco, see no reason why Hawaiian copra should not compete more than favorably with other South Sea copra in the mainland market.… (He noted,) We beg to call to your attention the large consumption in this market of dried cocoanut, commercially known as copra, which reaches as high as fifteen thousand tons per annum.”
“Cocoanut plantations in the Pacific Islands for the production of copra have now become quite an extensive and profitable venture, and we have no doubt it would prove so to your planters. ” (Peters; Pacific Commercial Advertiser, December 17, 1908)
It didn’t last. … In 1916, the copra/coconut oil enterprise failed.
The Waterhouses sold their “Coconut Grove” to AH Rice, who planned a residential subdivision in the area. In 1924, Earl H Williams, of Liberty Investment Co, acquired 200-acres from Rice and began the subdivision process (the Coconut Grove Tract.) (Drigot)
In 1925, Harold Kainalu Long Castle opened the first housing tract in Kailua. He named it Kalama in honor of Queen Kalama, wife of Kamehameha III, who had previously owned the land division of Kailua.
The Kalama tract encompasses the area from the Kaneohe side of Ainoni Street to Kaneohe side of Makawao Street, and from the mauka (mountain) side of North Kalaheo to the mauka side of North Kainalu.
The tract was made up of 184 lots, which originally sold for between $1500 and $2500. The beach fronting the clubhouse has been known since as Kalama Beach.
Castle set aside a large oceanfront parcel for the use of the tract residents as a private beach park. In 1928, a clubhouse and pavilion were built on the property, and it was named the Kalama Beach Club.
The developer, Harold K.L. Castle (1886—1967) and Armstrong, Ltd., donated the Beach Club property and provided the funding for the design and construction of the Club House. The Club was meant to provide access to the beach for lot owners and as a place to gather.
The property owners were eligible to become members of the Kalama Beach Club once the Club House was completed in 1928. The original lots were 20,000 square feet and each property owner received a certificate for a one-share interest in the Kalama Community Trust.
Most lots have been subdivided so that there are now approximately 346 parcels with owners that are potential members of the Club. (Kalama Beach Club)
Bruce D Campbell says
When we first moved to Hawaii in 1967 we rented a house across the street from Kalama Beach. The house came with a 10’ surfboard which I mistakenly tried out on Kailua Shorebreak — the main break was my tooth when the board pearl dived and sprung back. I became an avid body surfer after that. Mahalo for the back story…