During the mid-1800s, Queen Kalama, wife of Kamehameha III, and Judge CC Harris attempted to establish a sugar plantation on the majority of lands in Kāneʻohe and Kailua. When this venture failed in 1871, Judge Harris obtained title to the lands, which he transferred to his daughter Nannie R Rice.
JP Mendonca leased the lands from her and, on November 1, 1894, incorporated Kāneʻohe Ranch, for the purpose of raising cattle. A foundation herd of Aberdeen-Angus cattle formed the basis for a commercial herd of between two and three thousand head.
The “wet-lands” on the property were leased to Chinese for rice cultivation. In 1907, James B Castle acquired the capital stock of Kāneʻohe Ranch Company Limited, and in 1917 his son Harold KL Castle eventually purchased the lands from Mrs Rice.
The cattle industry remained an integral part of the ranch’s operations until World War II, with the herds in the early days being driven by cowboys over the Pali to be butchered in Honolulu. Military operations on the ranch lands became so extensive during World War II that the cattle industry was discontinued.
The 12,000-acre ranch, when it came under the direction of Mr Castle, also engaged in the cultivation of pineapple. However, because of the extensive rainfall on this side of the island, pineapples proved uneconomical and in the 1920s were discontinued. Likewise, because of competition from California, rice farming declined in the 1930s. (NPS)
Parts of the area became used by dairy farms … that leads us to the Campos clan.
One of the biggest dairies on the Island was Campos Dairy in Kailua (it was also called LW Campos Ranch and Eagle Rock Dairy – because there was a large lava outcrop in the middle of a flat field shaped like an eagle.) (Miranda)
Rafael Campos Marfil was born in Velez, Malaga, Spain on June 30, 1860 to Antonio Gonzales Campos and Ana Robles Marfil. Campos married Maria Gallardo Claros de Macharaviaya, they had 22-children. He came to Hawaiʻi in about 1910.
1912 newspaper reports show Campos was farming in Kapahulu (near where the Honolulu Zoo is situated.) Campos “is an expert farmer who arrived here from Spain in the immigrant steamer Heliopolis …”
The newspaper was reporting on losses he suffered on his vegetable and fruit farm due to fruit flies attacking his Chile pepper. He noted, “If something is not done in regard to the fruit fly, our islands will be ruined as far as vegetables and fruits are concerned.” (Hawaiian Star, June 6, 1912) That same year, recorded transactions note he also sold cows.
During the 1920s and 1930s several dairymen moved from Kapahulu to the windward side because large tracts of land had been abandoned by Libby, McNeill & Libby, following the closing of their pineapple cannery in Kahaluʻu.
Campos Dairy farm appeared in 1925 along the mauka side of Kailua Road (reportedly, one of the first to make the move to the Windward side.)
Leasing land from Kāneʻohe Ranch, Campos also bought land around Kaʻelepulu Stream. A 1994 MidWeek cover story said the Campos land included 800 to 1,000-acres, where a herd of 1,000 to 1,200-cattle roamed. (Star-Bulletin)
In the late-1930s, his son, Lawrence, purchased the dairy from his father (another son, George, also was involved with management of the dairy.)
Campos sold milk to the Dairymen’s Association (a cooperative formed in June 1897 when seven O’ahu dairy farms joined forces (Waiʻalae Ranch dairy, Kaipu Dairy, Mānoa Dairy, Honolulu Dairy, Nuʻuanu Valley Dairy, Woodlawn Dairy (Mānoa) and Kapahulu Dairy.)) (In 1959, the Dairymen’s Association, Ltd name changed to Meadow Gold Dairies Hawai‘i.)
Due to disagreement in a new policy, Campos was ready to go out on his own. “The decision to go into his own milk and dairy products business was made, according to Mr Campos, when Dairymen’s refused him the renewal of the flat-rate contract … he was asked to join the pool to which most of the milk producers now belong”. (Honolulu Record, September 7, 1950)
Lawrence Campos of the Eagle Rock Dairy planned to go into distributing milk in competition with the Dairymen’s Association. This brought speculation of a “milk price war.”
“Campos is working closely with owners of the Hygienic Dairy in his plans to organize a million dollar company … Hygienic has also had disagreement on a contract renewal with Dairymen’s.” (Honolulu Record, September 14, 1950)
By 1952, Campos is noted as “processing and selling milk;” that year, Foremost bought Campos Dairy Products, Ltd, as well as several other dairies and made its entrance into the Honolulu milk market. Operations were later transferred to Waimanalo. (FTC)
In the late-1960s, negotiation were underway by respective parties to acquire the Campos lease on the Castle/Kāneʻohe Ranch lands – the plan was to develop the pasture into apartments, condominium and commercial uses (one party offered $1,370,000 to purchase the Campos Ranch leases with Castle.)
In the 1960s, the state had about 50 dairies; now, there are 15-farms with dairy cows and two commercial dairies licensed to sell milk — Island Dairy on the Big Island, which sells under the label Hawaii’s Fresh Milk, and Meadow Gold Dairies of Honolulu, according to a 2009 USDA report. (PBN) Mauna Moo is moving ahead with a planned dairy and cheesery.
Most of our milk is now imported. Returning Hawaii to a 100% local milk supply would require an estimated 10,000 cows.
The image shows Campos Dairy lands, and other uses in Kailua in the 1940s. In addition, I have added other related images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.
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