Why we love Historic Honolulu Chinatown!

The buzz from Chinatown Upstairs continues! The tour was a great way to showcase a small sampling of the fabulous rehab  projects that exist one flight up (sometimes two) in Chinatown Historic District. The atmosphere in the district continues to vibrate with creativity as more visionary artists, restaurateurs and entrepreneurs find there way into the maze of this incredibly interesting historic locale. We asked several local business owners and entrepreneurs why they love Chinatown. Hear their response in these upbeat video shorts.  Mahalo to Localize Hawaii for creating the videos! PEGGE HOPPER, artist w=500&h=280 CHRIS KAJIOKA, chef, co-owner Senia MAT D'ASCOLI, entrepreneur CELINE CASAMINA, RealOfficeCenters LEE STACK, Chinatown Improvement District

July 18th, 2016|Categories: Blog|

A New Vision for the Waikiki Natatorium

Restored Waikiki Natatorium envisioned by Nov. 11, 2019 By Dominique Times July 4, 2016, Honolulu Star Advertiser The Waikiki Natatorium War Memorial could be restored to its former glory — but with a high-tech touch — by 2019, exactly 100 years after the land was first acquired to construct the site, according to the senior field officer and attorney for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Honolulu’s Department of Design and Construction hosted a series of meetings over four days last week with nearly 60 interested groups to gather information on the historic aspect of the natatorium’s design and the upcoming environmental impact study. The ocean-water public swimming pool, where local Olympic gold medalist Duke Kahanamoku swam, was built as a memorial to those who served in World War I. Owned but not operated by the state, the site was closed to the public in 1979 due to a lack of upkeep. Brian Turner, a lawyer with the trust, said the site would be a “waste to lose,” and remains optimistic that the pool can be reopened within three years. “We feel like we’ve developed a fresh look at something that’s been a real engineering puzzle,” Turner said. His goal is to have the project completed by the centennial of the armistice, Nov. 11, 2019. For years there have been discussions on the memorial’s future — whether to demolish it, restore it completely or get rid of the pool but keep the facade. The National Trust for Historic Preservation, which placed the natatorium on its 11 most endangered structures list in 1995, submitted a proposal with preliminary drawings to rehabilitate the site, preserving as much of its original look as possible. “We want it [...]

July 5th, 2016|Categories: Blog|

Denby Fawcett: A Rare Chance To Explore Chinatown’s Mysterious Lofts

History is preserved in the apartments and businesses that most people will never see above street level in Honolulu’s Chinatown. Column by Denby Fawcett for "Civil Beat", June 28, 2016 When I walk through Chinatown I often wonder what’s going on upstairs in the historic buildings. Most of the windows are opaque or covered with curtains, making the upper levels seem even more mysterious. “Everyone knows about Chinatown shops and businesses on the street level. But very few are aware of the revitalization going on upstairs,” says Kiersten Faulkner. Faulkner is the executive director of the Historic Hawaii Foundation. On Thursday, Historic Hawaii Foundation and the Chinatown Improvement District co-sponsored a fundraiser tour for 80 people to visit businesses and residential lofts tucked away on Chinatown’s upper floors. The tour started at The Tchin Tchin! Bar, a Chinatown upstairs cocktail lounge, for drinks and pupus before participants took off in groups of 20 to walk to four upstairs sites. “People love to explore. Our goal was to appeal to people’s sense of discovery and show off some of the urban revitalization they might not realize is happening in their own backyard,” says Faulkner. My friend Jim Waddington says, “We were wowed by what we saw. In the past I had always assumed that the upper stories of most buildings in Chinatown were dusty storage areas. It was exciting to see these upper floors converted into collaborative workspaces, small apartments, and trendy bars.” Pegge Hopper’s loft space above her gallery comes complete with a diving mannequin. Cory Lum/Civil BeatHistory is preserved in the apartments and businesses that most people will never see above street level in Honolulu’s Chinatown. Attorney Jeff Portnoy, who was in my group, says, [...]

June 29th, 2016|Categories: Blog|

Hanapepe’s Entrepreneurial Past

This small town's history is present and relevant today By Kristen Pedersen We know Kauai for its incredible natural scenery, dense rainforests, and dramatic ocean cliffs. It has been the location for several Hollywood movies and television series, and is a popular destination for hiking and exploring. But, there is also a slice of history, alive and well,  in the small town of Hanapepe, that warrants attention. Hanapepe, a quiet town on Kauai's south shore, is off the Kaumualii Highway, about 16 miles southwest of Lihue. With a population of just 2700, there may be as many free-range chickens on the streets as there are human residents. The lush Hanapepe Valley was home to native Hawaiians for centuries before Captain Cook arrived in 1778. Many crops were grown in the area, including banana, sugar cane, taro, and sweet potatoes. By the 1880’s, the sugar industry was flourishing in Hawaii, bringing Chinese, Japanese and Filipino immigrants to the islands. While most stores and towns on Kauai were built by the sugar plantation owners, Hanapepe was largely built by entrepreneurial immigrants. Many workers who retired from the sugar plantations came to Hanapepe to grow taro, rice, or begin small farms or businesses to serve the local community. Historical Hanapepe. Photo courtesy of In addition to agricultural businesses, the military also played a large role in the history and development of Hanapepe. From World War I to the 1950’s, Hanapepe’s Port Allen was a port of call for the US Navy and, subsequently, became one of the biggest towns on Kauai. The Navy no longer docks at Port Allen, but tour boats come and go on their routes up and down the Na Pali coast. There [...]

March 1st, 2017|Categories: Blog|

Honolulu Harbor’s Historic Beginnings

The Historic Hawaii Foundation Annual Meeting held at Aloha Tower Marketplace on May 11, 2016 was steeped in harbor history.  Members were treated to a special presentation and "quiz" about Honolulu Harbor by writer Bob Sigall after which Bruce McEwan, President of Friends of Falls of Clyde, provided an update on preservation efforts for "Falls of Clyde" currently docked at the Harbor.  Below, HHF volunteer writer Kristen Pedersen provides a backdrop of harbor history. Honolulu Harbor:  A Brief Overview by Kristen Pedersen In 1793, when Captain William Brown directed his sailing ship, Butterworth, into what is now known as Honolulu Harbor, he couldn’t have known the influence the harbor would have on the future of the island. Although the crew called it Brown’s Harbor, the captain decided to name the harbor Fair Haven. It eventually became Honolulu Harbor, which is a rough translation of ‘protected bay.’ Even then, it was clear that the bay offered an excellent place for large ships to set anchor, and as more trade ships followed in the next few years, a town began to grow up around it. In 1809, in response to the rapid growth of the harbor area and the increase of trade ships docking in the bay, King Kamehameha moved his Waikiki residence closer to the harbor. His goal was to tighten control on the valuable sandalwood trade flowing through the islands at that time. By the 1820s, whaling ships began to stop at Honolulu Harbor. Shops and businesses such as sail-makers, boarding houses, blacksmiths, laundries, and bakeries were built to support the new industry, and residential neighborhoods for the business owners followed shortly after. The town of Honolulu was growing rapidly, due in large part to [...]

June 28th, 2016|Categories: Blog|

Most Endangered Update – Saving Kanewai Spring

UPDATE:  On June 1, funding from a dedicated city land conservation fund which had been pending in the city's proposed budget was restored to be used toward the purchase and permanent protection of Kanewai Spring. In a grand show of support for the project, more than 100 people from Hilo to Maui and the North Shore to Kuliouou submitted testimony on behalf of securing the funding to help protect the Spring. "Mary Lindsay Kalikolani Correa testified that the preservation and care-taking of Kānewai was valuable for the connection to the community and the next generation as well as for the cultural and environmental health of the land and sea. Greg Stock, a teacher for the past 16 years in East Honolulu, regularly takes his students to Kānewai for service learning opportunities because it is an invaluable resource where young people can learn about Hawaiian culture, values, land management and much more," (noted on Maunalua Fishpond Heritage Center Facebook page). The Spring was listed as one of Hawaii's Most Endangered Historic Places of 2015, an annual public awareness campaign jointly sponsored by Historic Hawaii Foundation, HONOLULU Magazine and the Hawaii State Historic Preservation Division. Groups hope to save the Kanewai Spring By Andrew Gomes, Honolulu Star Advertiser April 17, 2016 It was named one of Hawaii’s most endangered places last year and has been a trophy property owned by business scoundrels, but now a historic multimillion-dollar East Honolulu estate with a freshwater spring feeding a wildlife preserve is close to becoming a public resource through a community effort. The Trust for Public Land and Maunalua Fishpond Heritage Center are trying to pull off a $2.65 million purchase of a nearly 70-year-old mansion that fronts a fishpond and [...]

June 13th, 2016|Categories: Blog|

Historic Property Spotlight: The Gannon Residence in Upcountry Maui

Home Showcases the Architectural Talents of Charles W. Dickey by Kristen Pedersen, Historic Hawaii Foundation guest writer Tucked into Maui’s upcountry, halfway between Makawao and Paia on the road to Hana, this former plantation manger’s historic estate is on the market. Just about everything connected to this beautiful seven-acre property is interesting – the location, the architect, the house, and the owners. Upcountry Maui is well known as the home of cattle ranches, rodeo competitions, and the paniolo, or Hawaiian cowboy. Paniolo have been working Maui ranches since the 1850’s, even before cowboys were riding the mainland wild west. Makawao town itself is a bustling arts community with galleries, shops and restaurants. Just a few miles down mountain is Paia, a small, funky sugar plantation village with some of the best windsurfing in the world and the famous Mama’s Fish House Inn. This area of Maui is home to over 30 micro climates, where just the right amount of sun and rain combine to make for perfect weather. The 7-acre Gannon Residence is significant for many reasons – not just the location and micro climate. The 2,968 sq. ft. house was designed in 1938 by renowned architect, Charles W. Dickey (1871-1942), at the very height of his career. Dickey was from a kama’aina family, born in Oakland, CA, raised in Haiku and a resident of both Hawaii and California for a good chunk of his career. His Hawaiian roots were deep, however – his mother was an Alexander, his cousin was a Baldwin, and his sister married James Dole. Dickey designed many acclaimed houses and buildings throughout Hawaii and in the Bay Area. Some still exist around the islands today – including the Kula Sanitorium [...]

June 7th, 2016|Categories: Blog|

Why Preservation Matters: Connecting Youth with Nu‘uanu Pali

Preservation Program Helps At-Risk Youth Among the programs I have most enjoyed has been to mentor at-risk teens in a cultural mentoring partnership with Alu Like. Historic preservation in an era dominated by electronic distractions presents a challenge to youth engagement, and this program enabled us to connect young people with important places in our history. Places like Nu`uanu Pali, where the battle of Kamehameha's drive to unify the islands ended. We preserve history not for ourselves, but for generations beyond us, to carry on the memory of who we are and who we were from time immemorial. Failing to do this will result in loss of our personal identity as a people and a community. Why Preservation Matters Historic preservation, in my view, is an important kuleana of every civilization because it endeavors to preserve the mo`olelo, or stories and history of a community, a people, and its treasured places of antiquity and connects us all with where we came from.  For example, when I visit the wahi kapu of Lulumahu, a narrow valley of Nu`uanu that is "hidden from view", I can feel the presence of the kupuna kahiko - our ancestors of O`ahu island who were trapped in this valley and killed during the great Battle of Nu`uanu. I sense the sadness and quiet of the stone mounds that mark their common graves, and hear the cries of the children left on the trail as the kupuna and women fled from the pursuing army. Encountering this large pohaku a Kane, I find a silent sentinel that stands watch near Lulumahu falls and see in him a vast body of ancient knowledge from the time before the Hawaiians of old settled in the [...]

June 2nd, 2016|Categories: Blog|

Cultural Heritage is Theme of 2016 New Generation Seminar

East-West Center 2016 New Generation Seminar- Now Accepting Applications Dates: September 18-October 1, 2016 Theme: Cultural Heritage and Identity in a Globalizing, Urbanizing World Destinations: Honolulu, Hawaii; Phnom Penh, Cambodia; and Yangon, Myanmar Application Deadline: Monday, June 13 ________________ Annually since 1990, the East-West Center invites rising young leaders from the United States and Asia Pacific to participate in The New Generation Seminar (NGS), a two-week intensive educational and dialogue program. The program is developed around a thematic focus and provides participants with an opportunity to strengthen their understanding of regional developments and challenges, increase their contacts with counterparts in the region, and to become more effective leaders with an international perspective. 2016 marks the program's 26th year. The New Generation Seminar Program is an intensive two-week study, dialogue and travel program that provides the next generation of Asia Pacific and American leaders an opportunity to strengthen their understanding of key Asia-Pacific developments, discuss policy options for common challenges while building an international network and broadening their perspective. The first week of the program is held in Hawaii and focuses on key regional policy issues such as international relations, security, economics, population, health and environment. The second week involves field travel to either the United States or Asia Pacific for exploration of the program theme. Who can apply? Young leaders aged 25-40, from Asia Pacific and the United States who are in a position to influence policy, shape public opinion and lead action. The strongest candidates for the program will be elected officials and other political, business, law and community leaders or communicators with broad-based policy knowledge and influence and/or demonstrated leadership in their countries and communities. Social and business entrepreneurs also make strong candidates. What about [...]

May 23rd, 2016|Categories: Blog|

History of Holau Market Featured at Preservation Month Event

Come hear the history of Hōlau Market at this Historic Preservation Month event! HART’s Planning team would like to invite you to a collaborative gathering with the State Historic Preservation Division, a historic preservation lunchtime event at HART-owned Hōlau Market on Friday, May 27, 2016 at 12:00pm-1:00pm: He Inoa no Hōlau: Ka Mākeke i ka Mele Hōlau Market (next to site of planned Chinatown Station) 928 Kekaulike Street, Honolulu, HI 96817 Friday, May 27, 2016, 12:00pm RSVP at: HART will showcase a property we own, Hōlau Market, located on Kekaulike Street adjacent to the future site of the Chinatown Station. Within its walls is a unique story of a native Hawaiian woman, Mary Ellen Hōlau Loncke, who in the early 1900s saw a need to bring Hawaiian food back to feed native Hawaiians who worked in the midst of Chinatown and Honolulu Harbor.  She endeavored to bring the food of her people to the specifically Chinese area to enhance the availability of familiar food to Hawaiians, an allegory and parallel to the ongoing grassroots efforts taking shape now a hundred years later to return to traditional Hawaiian diets and cultural connections through food. Beyond the story of female indigenous entrepreneurship is another story to tell, that of the wealth of information and historical documents that shaped the research of this property.  HART’s Planning team utilized resources often overshadowed in western-focused research and delved into a Hawaiian language newspapers and personal ‘ohana oral histories.  Through the discovery of research, a Hawaiian mele composed by noted “Hawaiian Songbird” Lena Machado emerged – a tribute to the market upon its opening day, simply called “Hōlau.” HART will conduct standard Hawaiian protocol, tell the story of Hōlau Market, [...]

May 20th, 2016|Categories: Blog|