The December 5, 1874 issue of the Los Angeles Herald noted, “The telegraph line along the railroad is to be built under the superintendence of Mr John Cassidy, who arrived for that purpose yesterday.”
John Cassidy, an associate of Mr Alexander Graham Bell, was the builder of the first railroad telegraph line in California. He then came to the Islands at the time the telephone services were starting.
“Honolulu was among the first cities of the world to take up the telephone practically, and as far back as the year 1880 it is to be noted that it had more telephones than any other city of the same size in the world.”
“The honor of introducing the telephone in the Islands belongs to Senator Charles H. Dickey, who brought a set of instruments to Maui and used them there; this was in the early part of 1878, barely two years after the original patent had been granted to Alexander Graham Bell.”
“And in the latter part of the same year, Mr SG Wilder, Minister of the Interior, installed a set of instruments connecting the government building in Honolulu with the office of his lumber business some distance away.”
“The practicability of the telephone thus being demonstrated, King Kalākaua purchased telephones for the Palace and had them in operation for some time, these instruments being on exhibition at the Bishop Museum at the present time.”
“In the year 1879 the first telephone company was organized and incorporated under the name of ‘The Hawaiian Bell Telephone Co,’ and on December 30, 1880, began giving service in the City of Honolulu.”
“Starting with thirty instruments in operation, this number was considered at the time to be satisfactory, or enough for all time to come; but in this they were mistaken, for the number has always been steadily on the increase.” (Chamber of Commerce Annual Report, 1912)
“Mr. Cassidy has been in the telephone business here almost since it started. He was Superintendent of the old Bell Company during its existence, and when the consolidation with the Mutual Company took place he was made manager and has conducted the business satisfactorily.” (Pacific Commercial Advertiser, July 2, 1896)
“Mr. Cassidy remained with the Mutual company for several years, going to the Coast finally with a view to remaining there permanently; but the lure of the Pacific was greater than he could stand and he came back and entered the service of the Hawaiian Electric Company, where he now is.” (Advertiser, December 12, 1909)
Back in 1891, at Kālia, the ‘Old Waikiki’ opened as a bathhouse, one of the first places in Waikīkī to offer rooms for overnight guests. Then, “Ripley & Dickey, the architects are about completing plans for a new beach home for John Cassidy …. It will be one of the handsomest houses in that section of the city, which is noted for the number of its beautiful and comfortable residences.”
“The house will be two stories, of frame. It will be of the chalet type a German adaptation of the Swiss style. The exterior will be very pretty and the interior will be nicely finished.”
“Mr. Cassidy’s beach lot is a large one adjoining the premises of John Ena in Old Waikiki. The house at present occupied will be moved back and leased. … There will soon be a call for tenders for construction of the home. (Hawaiian Gazette, February 18, 1898) The Old Waikiki later served as a boarding house.
Cassidy died on March 9, 1915, at the age of 71. Advertisements shortly thereafter note his widow, Eliza E Cassidy, offering “The Pierpoint, formerly Cassidy, only home hotel, Waikiki Beach; consists of individual cottages and single rooms; cuisine excellent; 1000-ft promenade pier at the end of which is splendid bathing pool and beautiful view.” (Star Bulletin, May 15, 1916)
It appears the name of this new use as a hotel was geographical; the pier extended 1,000-feet out into the ocean from a point … a promotional item from Child’s Blaisdell Hotel noted it as a “Pier on a Point.” The pier had moments of excitement …
“When Arthur E. Troiel speared a conger-eel off the end of Cassidy’s pier at Pierpont Wednesday night he ran all the way home, donned his bathing suit and assisted in landing the big fellow before he could fully realize that he had not caught a whale or at least a shark.”
“Thereafter he was the pride of the fair ones and the envy of the stronger sex along the beach. By day Troiel works for J Hopp & Company.” (Star Bulletin, November 9, 1916)
Later Pierpoint became the Waikiki Annex for downtown Honolulu’s Blaisdell Hotel. In the early 1920s, nearby quaint clusters of cottages known as Cressaty’s Court and Hummel’s Court offered simple lodging. (Waikīkī Historic Trail)
The Pierpoint Hotel, Hummel’s Court and Cressaty’s Court, all located at Kālia, were acquired by the Heen Investment Company in May of 1926.
The six acres were re-landscaped, the cluster of cottages was renovated, and a new main building was added with the Tapa Room and a dance floor. The site, renamed Niumalu Hotel, meaning “sheltering palms,” opened in 1928. (Cord International)
Henry J Kaiser bought it and adjoining property and started the Kaiser Hawaiian Village (1955.) He sold to Hilton Hotels in 1961 and the property (now totaling 22-acres) continues to be known as the Hilton Hawaiian Village.
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