In 1872, some referred to it as “Missionary Street,” although the Missionary Period had ended about 10-years earlier (the Missionary Period was from 1820 – 1863.)
You might more accurately call it the home of the elite, and that is not limited to folks of the Caucasian persuasion – both Kauikeaouli and Emma had summer residences here and included in the list of successful business people who called it home were the Afongs and others.
But you can’t help concluding the strong demand to live there based on early descriptions – even Realtors, today, would be envious of the descriptors Ellis used in 1831: “The scenery is romantic and delightful.”
“Across this plain, immediately opposite the harbour of Honoruru, lies the valley of Anuanu (Nuʻuanu,) leading to a pass in the mountains, called by the natives Ka Pari (Pali,) the precipice, which is well worth the attention of every intelligent foreigner visiting Oahu.” (Ellis, 1831)
“The mouth of the valley, which opens immediately behind the town of Honoruru, is a complete garden, carefully kept by its respective proprietors in a state of high cultivation; and the ground, being irrigated by the water from a river that winds rapidly down the valley, is remarkably productive.” (Ellis, 1831)
Over sixty years later (1897,) Stoddard keeps the demand momentum going by adding, “The way lies through shady avenues, between residences that stand in the midst of broad lawns and among foliage of the most brilliant description. An infinite variety of palms and tropical plants, with leaves of enormous circumference, diversify the landscape.”
Today, the descriptors of the past hold true – and the place is high in the demand (and price,) just as it was nearly two centuries ago.
So, who were some of the people who called this place home?
As noted, an early resident of Nuʻuanu was Kauikeaouli, Kamehameha III. Consistent with tradition, his home had a name, Kaniakapūpū (sound or song of the land snail;) it was located back up into the valley at Luakaha.
Ruins today, the structure, modeled on an Irish stone cottage, was completed in 1845 and is reportedly built on top or in the vicinity of an ancient heiau. It was a simple cottage, a square with four straight walls.
Another royal, Queen Emma, had a “mountain” home, Hānaiakamālama (Lit., the foster child of the light (or moon,)) now known as the Queen Emma Summer Palace. In 1857, she inherited it from her uncle, John Young II, son of the famous advisor to Kamehameha I, John Young I.
The ‘Summer Palace’ was modeled in the Greek Revival style. It has a formal plan arrangement, wide central hall, high ceilings and floor-length hinged, in-swinging shuttered casement window. The Daughters of Hawaiʻi saved it from demolition and it is now operated as a museum and open to the public (a nominal admission fee is charged.)
On the private side, the following are only a few of the several notable residences (existing, or long gone,) in Nuʻuanu Valley.
A notable home is the “Walker Estate;” one of the few intact estates that were built in the upper Nuʻuanu Valley before and after the turn of the century (built in 1905,) it is a two story wood frame structure of Classical Revival style. (NPS)
The home on the 5.7-acre estate was initially built for the Rodiek family, a leading businessman in Honolulu. Due to war time pressures on the family, who were German citizens, the home was sold in 1918 to Wilcox who lived there into the 1930s, when it was taken over by Henry Alexander Walker, president and chairman of the Board of Amfac (one of the Hawaiʻi Big Five businesses.)
The grounds were originally used for orchards and vegetables, although the Japanese garden was put in shortly after the house was built and is thought to be the oldest formal Japanese garden in Hawaiʻi, the stones, lamps and images specially brought from Japan for it. (NPS)
Another notable home is former Governor George Carter’s “Lihiwai” (water’s edge.) In the late-1920s, Carter built his 26,000-square feet home; it is reportedly “the largest and finest private residence ever constructed in Hawaiʻi (with the exception of ʻIolani Palace.)” (NPS)
The entire building is built of shaped bluestone set in concrete and steel reinforced cement, and all the perimeter walls are 2 – 3-feet thick with the exception of the end walls, which are 6-feet thick. It is constructed entirely of bluestone, concrete, steel, copper, bronze and teak.
Originally, the building was connected to two smaller structures — by a breezeway on the eastern side and by the porte-cochere on the western side (these structures were separated in 1957.) The property was originally 10-acres, but portions were subdivided and sold in 1945 after the death of Helen Strong Carter. Today, the property includes the original house on a little over 1-acre. (The home is undergoing restoration.)
A home long gone, but we are repeatedly reminded of it in on-the-air marketing for senior living in Nuʻuanu, is “Craigside.” This was the home of Theophilus Harris Davies. Not only was Davies’ firm, Theo H Davies, one of the Hawaiʻi Big Five, he personally served as guardian to Princess Kaʻiulani while she was studying in England (Davies had another home there – “Sundown.”)
Likewise, just up the hill, was the Paty house “Buena Vista;” it’s now gone and part of the Wyllie Street interchange with Pali Highway. (Look for the parallel palms in the yard of the immediately-makai ‘Community Church of Honolulu.’ They used to line the Paty driveway, with the house off to the left (mauka.)
During the Spanish American War, the military took over Buena Vista and turned it into the Nuʻuanu Valley Military Hospital (also known as “Buena Vista Hospital.”)
Just mauka of Buena Vista (now also part of the Wyllie-Nuʻuanu interchange) was Robert Crichton Wyllie’ “Rosebank.” Wyllie first worked as acting British Consul. Attracted by Wyllie’s devotion to the affairs of Hawaiʻi, in 1845, King Kamehameha III appointed him the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Kamehameha IV reappointed all the ministers who were in office when Kamehameha III died, including Robert C Wyllie as Minister of Foreign Relations (he was in Hawaiʻi from 1844 until his death in 1865.) Wyllie served as Minister of Foreign Relations from 1845 until his death in 1865, serving under Kamehameha III, Kamehameha IV and Kamehameha V.
Finally, a home of a missionary, Dr. Gerrit Parmele Judd, “Sweet Home” was located at the intersection of Nuʻuanu and Judd. Judd was in the 3rd company of missionaries from the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (he was in Hawaiʻi from 1828 until his death in 1873.) After serving the mission for 15-years, Judd was translator and later Minister of Foreign Affairs, member of the House of Nobles and Privy Council, and Minister of Finance under Kamehameha III.
Wife Laura Judd once noted, “we were supposed to be rich,” but insisted they had never been so poor, being obliged to borrow money to pay for carpenters and masons. (Scott, Saga) The house was torn down in 1911 and the property became part of what is now Oʻahu Cemetery.
My Mother Was A Daughter
“An organization to be known as the ‘Daughters of Hawaii’ was formed November 18, (1903) by Mrs. Emma Dillingham. Mrs. Sarah Colin Waters, Mrs. Lucinda Severance, Mrs. Ellen A. Weaver, Mrs. Annie A. Dickey, Mrs. Cornelia H. Jones and Miss Anna M. Paris.”
“Its object is ‘To perpetuate the memory spirit or old Hawaii and to preserve the nomenclature and correct pronunciation of the Hawaiian language.’”
“No one is eligible to membership who was not born in Hawaii of parents who came here before 1860.” (Hawaiian Star, December 7, 1903)
“The society, ‘Daughters of Hawaii,’ aims to number among its members, those who take an interest in the legends, traditions history and scientific discoveries relating to our native land.”
“Age seems to have a fascination with all who desire to trace an ancestry or recall historic events. Those who interest themselves along these special lines, find to their surprise, that according to the researches made by students of languages, customs and general evolution of races, the Hawaiian stands pre-eminent among the Polynesian people.”
“Not only have they no superior in the Pacific, but through the East Indies, on to the Malay Peninsula, in the vast country of India, and even to Arabia are there traces of their long descent.”
“Words, customs, legends leave no doubt of this fact. In the far time of their “beginning the ancestors were of white complexion, but climatic conditions, and inter mixture of bloods produced many variations during the centuries that followed.”
“It is the intent of this society to search the pages of the past, and glean all possible information relative to the long procession of events which have resulted in the Hawaiian of today. It is impossible to give even a synopsis of these possibilities in these few remarks, but the amazing genealogies of the Hawaiian families will support these intimations.”
“Our society is still young. Not a year has passed since we first met, a little band, as Daughters of Hawaii. The need of some fitting recognition of our birth-right in this fair land …”
“… a something that should redeem from oblivion a past swiftly fleeting, unique in its charm and teeming with memories almost sacred – had long been felt by some of us. It needed the supreme moment to give it life.” (Pacific Commercial Advertiser, November 26, 1904)
In addition to their group meetings, with music and reading historical accounts, the Daughters placed plaques and included historical stories of interest in the local newspaper. There are early interest in the Pali at Nu‘uanu.
That expanded into other areas in Nu‘uanu … A notice in the Pacific Commercial Advertiser (November 11, 1890) noted that the government Water Works department purchased Hānaiakamalama (Queen Emma Summer Place) for $8,000.
It was acquired “for the special purpose of a site for establishing (water system) filter beds, and a distributing reservoir for the city, which was looked upon then as one of the much-needed public works recognized, as a public necessity by the then administration.”
“The scheme then under consideration and practically settled upon was part of the plans in connection with the storage reservoir above Luakaha, for the increased capacity of the Nuʻuanu system.” (Pacific Commercial Advertiser, April 30, 1906)
The water works plan waned and thoughts of a park at the site were considered; there was, reportedly, a proposal to tear down the house and put in a baseball diamond.
However, “Governor Carter has expressed his disapproval of the retention of the Queen Emma property in Upper Nuʻuanu valley for park purposes in a letter to the secretary of the Improvement Club in that district, which passed resolutions urging that that be done.”
“I beg to say that I do not approve of the setting aside as a public park of the Hānaiakamalama premises, for the following reasons: First. Public parks are for the relief of thickly populated districts, where the congestion is such that the residents do not have breathing spaces … “
“… Second. The taxpayers are contributing at present about all they can stand and this is not sufficient to properly take care of all those areas that are already parked.” (Carter, Pacific Commercial Advertiser, September 6, 1906)
On May 12, 1906, The Pacific Commercial Advertiser noticed, “there will be sold at Public Auction … the following certain portions of land situate in the District of Kona, Island of Oahu, TH: … The land known as ‘Hānaiakamalama’ or the ‘Queen Emma Place’ (upset price of $10,000, possession given September 1, 1906.)”
Hānaiakamalama (Queen Emma Summer Palace) was saved from demolition by the Daughters of Hawaiʻi. Almost immediately, the newspaper announced, “Rules and regulations bearing on Hānaiakamalama, the Nuʻuanu home of the late Queen Emma, were adopted at a meeting on Wednesday of the Daughters of Hawai‘i, which society now has charge of the home.” .” (Honolulu Star Bulletin, October 19, 1916)
In addition to Hānaiakamalama, the Daughters own and maintain Kamehameha III’s birth site at Keauhou Bay, Kona. Through an agreement with the State of Hawaiʻi, the Daughters use and maintain Huliheʻe Palace in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island.
Shortly after King Kalākaua finished building ʻIolani Palace in Honolulu (1882,) he purchased Huliheʻe from Bernice Pauahi Bishops’s estate in 1885 and turned Huliheʻe into his summer residence.
He completed some major renovations so that the palace would more closely resemble the modern structures he saw during his travels. He stuccoed the entire lava rock exterior and plastered over the koa-paneled walls. He felt that the palace was outdated and that these renovations were necessary so that Hawai’i could portray itself to the world as a modern society.
The same year he finished renovation to Huliheʻe (1887,) Kalākaua, under threat of force, signed the ‘Bayonet Constitution.’ The King spent the majority of his time at Huliheʻe Palace after he signed the new constitution.
He continued to make improvements to Huliheʻe while living there and had a telephone line installed in the palace in 1888, which was one of the first telephones on the island of Hawai’i. He continued to entertain foreign visitors at the palace.
Kalākaua died in 1891 and his wife, Queen Kapiʻolani, inherited the palace. Kapiʻolani resided at Huliheʻe throughout the period of the subsequent overthrow.
Upon her death in 1899, the property went to her nephews, Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole and Prince David Kawānanakoa. Fifteen years after the Princes inherited the palace they sold it to a wealthy woman, Mrs Bathsheba Alien, for $8,600. (She died just one month after the transaction.)
For years the property sat vacant and eventually fell into a state of disrepair. In 1925, the Territory of Hawaiʻi purchased the property then turned it over to the Daughters of Hawaiʻi to run it as a museum (which they continue to do today.)
All of these sites are worth visiting and the Daughters of Hawai‘i is worth supporting.
Today, membership is open to any woman who a) has a direct lineage to, or b) has been legally adopted by, a resident of Hawai‘i in or prior to 1880, without restriction as to race. In 1986, membership to the Daughters of Hawai‘i opened and expanded with the Calabash Cousins.
My mother was the great-great granddaughter of Hiram Bingham; she was a Daughter. One of the photos is her Daughters feather lei (Daughters wear white mu‘umu‘u and feather lei.) (The lei was the thing of hers I wanted when she passed away, I am glad my sisters let me have it – I had it framed, it has a prominent place in our home.)
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“Kamehameha III, By the Grace of God, King of the Hawaiian Islands, by this Royal Patent, makes known, unto all men, that he has for himself and his successors in office, this day granted and given, absolutely, in Fee Simple unto John George Lewis, his faithful and loyally disposed subject for the consideration of Eight Hundred Dollars”.
Thus, in 1848, through Royal Patent No. 97, John George Lewis acquired 8.92-acres of land in the ili of Kaukahoku (the stars have arisen.) In the 1840s the land was separated from the city by nearly two miles of open land and tropical forest.
It was through this land that Kamehameha the Great marched during what would become the Battle of the Nu‘uanu in April 1795 (the last major battle before the unification of the Hawaiian Islands.)
(Coincidently, Kamehameha was aided by foreigners, including John Young and Isaac Davis, who provided the cannons and tactical know-how used in the battle.)
This land, a portion of a grant known as Kaukahoku was originally designated as Fort Land; that is, it was set apart for the use of the Fort, probably as agricultural land.
Sometime in the 1840s Kekūanāoʻa, Governor of the island of Oahu, leased this land to Henry A Peirce, an American merchant who had established a thriving business in the Hawaiian Islands. He named the property ‘Beleview.’ Peirce, however, soon left the Islands and the land was leased to Lewis. (Rivera)
In September 1843 Lewis notified the Hawaiian Government that at the end of the year he desired to buy the Government interest in the land for $500. The Government, however, set the price at $800 plus interest, which Lewis presumably paid. (HABS)
John Lewis, the son of Isaiah and Polly (Holmes) Lewis, was born in Hawaii and was a successful dry goods importing merchant in Honolulu. Lewis & Co later became Mitchell & Fales, Ship Chandlers, on Nuʻuanu street at Merchant street (Lewis left to become a Real Estate Broker and General Agent.) (Thrum)
Tradition claims that Lewis built the house at Kaukahoku in 1847. (HABS)
It was modeled in the Greek Revival style. It has a formal plan arrangement, wide central hall, high ceilings and floor-length hinged, in-swinging shuttered casement window.
It is one-story, over a basement, and measures about 73-feet by 51-feet. The roof is hipped over the main portion of the home and gabled over the rear lanai that was converted to a room.
Around 1850, Lewis went to Boston and engaged in business there. Before leaving, he sold the land to John Young II (Keoni Ana) for $6,000. (Young was son of John Young who assisted Kamehameha in his final battles for unification, including Nuʻuanu.)
Young gave the name Hānaiakamālama to the house (“foster child of the God Kamalama,” one of the ancestral gods his mother, a Hawaiian high Chiefess, Mary Kuamoʻo Kaoanahaeha, a niece of King Kamehameha I (Lit., the foster child of the light (or moon) – also the name given to the Southern Cross.))
John Young II was an uncle to Emma Rooke who became Queen of the Hawaiian Islands at the time of her marriage to King Kamehameha IV in 1856.
Young gave the young royal couple the use of the home in Nuuanu Valley and they found it a pleasant respite from court life at ʻIolani palace.
At his death in 1857, Young willed the property to his niece, Queen Emma, and thus Hanaiakamalama came into her possession.
She and her family continued to enjoy the home for another five years until the death of her young son, and then her husband.
Queen Emma continued to use the home as a summer house until her death in 1885. Hānaiakamālama became a center of social activity as well as a restful country retreat. (HABS)
When the Duke of Edinburgh visited the Hawaiian Islands as part of the itinerary of a round-the-world tour, Queen Emma “gave an impromptu entertainment to a large number of guests at her residence in Nuʻuanu Valley.”
“The guests enjoyed themselves at croquet and other outdoor sports on the lawn until evening when the fine room prepared for the entertainment of the Duke of Edinburgh was thrown open and dancing commenced and was kept up until about 9 o’clock”. (Hawaiian Gazette, March 2, 1870)
Queen Emma left her property after her death to Colonel Cresswell Rooke of Broomhill, Colchester, Essex, England, a nephew of her hānai father, Dr TCB Rooke, and to Queen’s Hospital.
Col. Rooke visited Hawai’i in 1903 to settle the estate. When the property was divided, the Colonel waived back rents due him, which had been given to Queen’s Hospital (in exchange for several keepsakes.) (Hackler)
In 1890, Alexander Cartwright, executor of the estate testified that Queen Emma’s old home was “in need of extensive repairs, is old and untenantable, has been unoccupied for past five years.” The land and house were put at auction and were bought by the Hawaiian Government on August 27, 1890.
When the government tried to sell the property in 1906, strong public objections to the sale were made, many suggesting that the land be set aside as a park. The government reconsidered. (HABS)
A later concurrent resolution from the legislature was adopted in 1911, “that ‘The Queen Emma Place’ in Nuʻuanu Valley, City and County of Honolulu … be set aside and reserved as a Park, to be known as ‘Nuʻuanu Park’ …”
“… and that the Governor or other proper authorities of the Territory of Hawaii are hereby requested to take, without delay, the necessary legal steps to put into force and effect the purposes of this Concurrent Resolution.”
Hānaiakamālama was later saved from demolition by the Daughters of Hawaiʻi. Today, the Daughters preserve and maintain this residence and the Huliheʻe Palace in Kailua-Kona as museums open to the public.
The restored and furnished home of Queen Emma and King Kamehameha IV offers a glimpse into the lifestyle of the Hawaiian monarchy.
The Daughters of Hawai‘i was founded in 1903 by seven women who were daughters of American Protestant missionaries. They were born in Hawai‘i, were citizens of the Hawaiian Kingdom before annexation and foresaw the inevitable loss of much of the Hawaiian culture.
They founded the organization “to perpetuate the memory and spirit of old Hawai‘i and of historic facts, and to preserve the nomenclature and correct pronunciation of the Hawaiian language.” (My mother was a Daughter.)
The property is open to the public, daily 9:00 am–4:00 pm; closed major holidays; Admission (kamaʻaina:) Adult $6, Child 17 and under $1, Seniors $4; reservations required for groups of 20 or more.
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In pre-Captain Cook times, kalo (taro) played a vital role in Hawaiian culture. It was not only the Hawaiians’ staple food but the cultivation of kalo was at the very core of Hawaiian culture and identity.
Taro can be cultivated by two very different methods. Upland, or dryland, taro is planted in non-flooded areas that are fed by rainfall. Lowland, or wetland, taro is grown in water-saturated fields.
The early Hawaiians probably planted kalo in marshes near the mouths of rivers. Over years of progressive expansion of kalo lo‘i (flooded taro patches) up slopes and along rivers, kalo cultivation in Hawai‘i reached a unique level of engineering and sustainable sophistication.
Kalo lo‘i systems are typically a set of adjoining terraces that are typically reinforced with stone walls and soil berms. Wetland taro thrives on flooded conditions, and cool, circulating water is optimal for taro growth, thus a system may include one or more ʻauwai (irrigation ditches) to divert water into and out of the planting area. (McElroy)
Most important in the system of distribution of water for application to the soil were the main ditches diverting the water from natural streams. Each of these large ʻauwai was authorized and planned by the King or by one or more chiefs or konohiki whose lands were to be watered thereby, the work of excavation being under the direction of the chief providing the largest number of men. (Perry, Hawaiʻi Supreme Court)
The ʻauwai construction and maintenance formed foundations around which an entire economy, class system, and culture functioned. The ʻauwai, lo‘i and the taro plant’s mythical and spiritual connections in Hawaiian society influenced individual and social activity within the ahupua‘a. (Handy, HART)
Taro cultivation affected many aspects of Hawaiian life: the labor required to build and maintain the ʻauwai; the shared water rights; and tributes to the Mō‘ī and to the chiefs (Ali‘i.) (Handy, HART)
All ʻauwai had a proper name, and were generally called after either the land, or the chief of the land that had furnished the most men, or had mainly been instrumental in the inception, planning and carrying out of the required work. All ʻauwai tapping the main stream were done under the authority of a konohiki of an ahupuaʻa. (Nakuina, Thrum)
ʻAuwai were generally dug from makai – seaward or below – upwards. The konohiki who had the supervision of the work having previously marked out where it would probably enter the stream, the diggers worked up to that point.
The different representatives in the ahupuaʻa taking part in the work furnished men according to the number of kalo growers on each land. (The quantity of water awarded to irrigate the loʻi was according to the number of workers and the amount of work put into the building of the ʻauwai.)
Dams that diverted water from the stream were a low loose wall of stones with a few clods here and there, high enough only to raise water sufficiently to flow into the ʻauwai, which should enter it at almost a level. No ʻauwai was permitted to take more water than continued to flow in the stream below the dam (i.e. no more than half.)
Use of the water was regulated by time increments, which varied from a few hours each day for a small kalo patch to two or three days for a kalo plantation. By rotation with others on the ʻauwai, a grower would divert water from the ʻauwai into his kalo. The next, in turn, would draw off water for his allotted period of time. (KSBE)
The ʻauwai primarily existed to support taro cultivation. Other crops, such as sweet potatoes, bananas or sugar cane, were regarded as dry land crops dependent on rainfall. Sugar cane and bananas were almost always planted on loʻi banks (kuauna) to receive moisture seeping through. (Nakuina, Thrum)
ʻAuwai varied in size and structure depending on the number and size of lo‘i they irrigated. In smaller lo‘i, water could be directed from one terrace into the next below it. However, larger lo‘i required individual ʻauwai capable of carrying more water. In more complex systems, these might be branches from another ʻauwai, often connected to the same source. (HART)
An early description of ʻauwai is from explorer Nathaniel Portlock, noting the Kauaʻi ʻauwai in 1787, “This excursion gave me a fresh opportunity of admiring the amazing ingenuity and industry of the natives in laying out the taro and sugar-cane grounds; the greatest part of which are made up on the banks of the river, with exceeding good causeways made with stones and earth, leading up the valleys to each plantation; the taro beds are in general a quarter of a mile over, dammed in, and they have a place on one part of the bank, that serves as a gateway.”
“When the rains commence, which is in the winter season, the river swells with the torrents from the mountains, and overflowed their taro-beds; and when the rains are over, and the rivers decrease, the dams are stopped up, and the water kept in to nourish the taro and sugar-cane during the dry season; the water in the beds is generally about one foot and a half, or two feet, over a muddy bottom … the taro also grows frequently as large as a man’s head.”
Another early description of ʻauwai and loʻi is from Otto von Kotzebue, a Russian naval officer who was in the Islands in 1816, “The artificial taro fields, which may justly be called taro lakes, excited my attention. … I have seen whole mountains covered with such fields, through which water gradually flowed; each sluice formed a small cascade which ran … into the next pond, and afforded an extremely picturesque prospect.”
The burden of maintaining the ditches fell upon those whose lands were watered; failure to contribute their due share of service rendering the delinquent hoaʻāina (tenant) subject to temporary suspension or to entire deprivation of their water rights or even to total dispossession of their lands. (YaleLawJournal)
In some ʻauwai, not all of the water was used; after irrigating a few patches the ditch returned the remainder of the water to the stream. (YaleLawJournal)
One notable ʻauwai, with water still flowing through it (however, the loʻi kalo is long gone) is in Nuʻuanu. After damage to the ʻauwai system during the battle of Nuʻuanu, Kamehameha moved to quickly restore the valley’s agriculture production, summoning Kuhoʻoheiheipahu Paki to rebuild the irrigation system.
“(I)n three days, (Paki) rallied several hundred men to construct the tremendous Nuʻuanu irrigation system which supplies the numerous pondfields (from Luakaha, near Kaniakapūpū to around what is now Judd Street) …this irrigation system is known even today as the Paki ʻauwai.” (Hawaiʻi Legislature)
Among other loʻi along its course, Paki ʻAuwai served the loʻi kalo of Queen Emma at Hānaiakamālama (the Queen’s Summer Palace.)
The image shows a portion of the rock-lined Paki ʻAuwai in Nuʻuanu (just below Kaniakapūpū (you take the same trail to see each.)) 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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