“An instance of community enterprise truly admirable is being exhibited by the Wahiawā Settlement Association in the erection of a hotel in that Salubrious village.”
“As shown in the list of building permits in this paper the other day, the building is estimated to cost $3,650, and the plans have been prepared by Emory & Webb, architects. Its location is 300 feet from the railway station.” (Star Bulletin, January 21, 1913)
Let’s look back …
In 1897, Californian, Byron Clark, became the Hawaiian Republic’s commissioner of agriculture. In looking for land for him to settle on, he learned of the availability of land at Wahiawā.
Clark organized a group of other Californians (as well as others) to join him in settling the whole tract of thirteen hundred acres — which became known as the Wahiawā Colony Tract. Having formed an agricultural cooperative called the Hawaiian Fruit and Plant Company, the homesteaders began formalizing and refining the physical organization of their Wahiawā settlement.
Initially each settler lived in a house on his five-acre parcel in the town site and farmed his other land in the surrounding area. It was soon discovered, however, that each settler preferred to reside on his own farmstead, holding his town lot in reserve. The homesteaders abandoned the village plan and agreed that one man, Thomas Holloway, would live on their 145-acre central lot site.
On August 27, 1902 a trust deed, referred to as the Holloway Trust, formally set aside the central town lots for the use and benefit of the Settlement Association of Wahiawā resident landowners.
Within a few years, Wahiawā Town was underway. Some of the town’s streets would be named for the early homesteaders – including Clark, Kellogg, Thomas and Eames streets (initial mapping shows California Avenue as the first, and main, road.)
Back to the hotel … “This hotel scheme was taken up by the association as the best way to expend a snug balance in the settlement funds, as well as to utilize the hall that had been erected for community gatherings.”
“Originally the structure was used for a schoolhouse, but ultimately the government provided a school building for itself. Besides erecting the hotel, the association is going to provide Uncle Sam with a post office building.”
“There are two buildings in the establishment as planned, the main building to be an auxiliary cottage the old assembly hall reconstructed. In the main building there will be six bedrooms, a parlor and a dining room, the last being utilizable also as a living room.”
“The remodelled cottage will have four bedrooms. A veranda ten feet wide will extend along the four sides of the main building. The bedrooms are of good size, the four on the ground floor of the main building being 12 by 13 feet. There is a gable outlook on every side of the house, each commanding beautiful scenery.”
“Each house is equipped with all needed conveniences, including linen closets. Guests will have pure water from the clouds, a large tank for rain water being provided. This is exclusively for drinking purposes as for other uses the hotel will be connected with the piped mountain water system of the settlement.” (Star Bulletin, January 21, 1913)
At the corner of Lehua Street and California Avenue stood the old Wahiawā Hotel. The “cottages,” as the hotel was referred to, was operated by Mary Johnson until World War II, when it was formally taken over by the Army for nurses’ quarters.
The start of World War II further helped to accelerate developments within Wahiawā to accommodate the needs of the growing military population. Wahiawā Elementary School on Lehua Street soon closed their doors in the 1940s to become the new Wahiawa General Hospital.
The Office of Civil Defense established a 42-bed wartime medical facility in the wood frame buildings formerly housing Wahiawā Elementary School.
At the end of World War II, the facility continued to remain in operation under the leaders of the Wahiawā Hospital Association. The 72-bed acute care facility was dedicated in 1958, under the official name, Wahiawā General Hospital. (Cultural Surveys)
Post World War II, the old Wahiawā Hotel had been used as living quarters for area school teachers. By the 1960s, Wahiawa teachers, who had been quartered at the teachers’ cottages (as they referred to them), were forced to relocate as plans for the new Wahiawa Branch Library were in the making. (Cultural Surveys)
Wahiawā Hotel was demolished in the 1960s to accommodate construction for the new Wahiawā Library. The library opened its doors on July 19, 1965. The library continues to remain in operation today. (Cultural Surveys)
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Barbara J. Cox says
I enjoyed reading about the Wahiawa Hotel. Very interesting how Mr. Byron Clark had built a little community. And how California avenue came about? Clark, Kellog, Thomas and Eames streets how they came about naming those streets. Now, Kilani avenue is there and that’s where my brother leaves. In actuality, my grandparents bought that house and lot back in the 1930’s and raise his family there, until he passed. House was passed on to uncle and uncle sold it to my brother. Just so property is still in the family. Would love to read more about Wahiawa. Born Waipahu, but raised Wahiawa. Lived there 55 years and live Nanakuli (Hawaiian Homelands).
I grew up in Wahiawa in the mid 50s and appreciate this story.
Jennifer Drake says
I am interested in finding wahiawa general hospital’s old labor and delivery photos.
From beginning to end.
Also is Dr. McKenzie still in his office practice? I would like a photo.
Dr McKenzie delivered four of our babies. Today is our daughter Annabelle Goetke’s birthday. Thanks and muchly! Jen Drake