President Designates Honouliuli Internment Site as a National Monument

2/19/15: President Barack Obama has designated the former Honouliuli Internment Camp site on Oahu as a national monument, ensuring its future preservation. Opened on March 1, 1943, Honouliuli was the longest operating and largest World War II internment and prisoner of war (POW) camp in Hawaii.  Built on 160 acres in west Oahu, the camp site was hidden from view in a deep gulch that the internees called jigoku dani, or “hell valley.” Following the Japanese Empire’s attack on Hawaii on December 7, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 in February 1942. This order authorized the exclusion of persons of Japanese ancestry from the entire Pacific coast. Citizens with as little as one-sixteenth percent of Japanese blood were placed in internment camps. Without judicial process, nearly 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry were detained in War Relocation Authority Camps and Department of Justice Internment Camps; over 3000 of those detained were Hawaii residents of Japanese ancestry. On January 2, 1945, the exclusion order was revoked entirely and the internees began to leave the camps to rebuild their lives. The Honouliuli Internment Camp was constructed on Oahu to intern citizens, resident aliens, and prisoners of war.  The camp held approximately 320 internees, mostly second-generation Japanese Americans but also Japanese, German and Italian permanent residents who were living in Hawai‘i.  Honouliuli was also the largest POW camp in Hawai‘i, incarcerating nearly 4,000 individuals.  In total, during World War II, over 2,300 Japanese American men and women from Hawai‘i were incarcerated, including many prominent community leaders, teachers, journalists, religious leaders, local politicians and World War I veterans. The impetus to preserve Honouliuli  gained momentum in 2009, when then-Senators Daniel K. Inouye and Daniel K. Akaka introduced [...]

2017-04-21T01:01:20+00:00 February 19th, 2015|Categories: Preservation|

UH-Hilo Establishes Heritage Management Program

By Peter Mills, Professor of Anthropology, UH-Hilo On August 7 (the morning Hurricane Iselle was heading ashore on the Big Island), the Academic Affairs Committee of the University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents voted to approve a new Master of Arts (MA) program in “Heritage Management” at University of Hawai‘i Hilo, which will be administered through the department of anthropology. The program’s main strengths will be in archaeological heritage, traditional cultural properties, and cultural impact assessments, and will primarily address heritage issues affecting Hawaiʻi and the Pacific. The program is intended to complement UH Mānoa graduate programs offered in applied archaeology (Anthropology Department) and the graduate certificate in Historic Preservation (American Studies Program). One major benefit of having such a program in Hilo is that it will reach a somewhat different pool of descendant community members who can then gain leadership positions within consulting firms, community organizations, and county, state and federal positions related to heritage management. Without the MA program, many UH Hilo students end up working with BA degrees for existing firms, but are barred by state regulations from obtaining leadership positions in those organizations unless they obtain a graduate degree. The first cohort of eight graduate students is slated to enter the program in the Fall of 2015. In the interim, the UH Hilo anthropology department is conducting a search for new faculty member who will specialize in Pacific Island paleoethnobotany, who will broaden the range of faculty expertise available in the graduate program. The department also intends to hire another faculty member by the Fall of 2016 (when the graduate program will begin teaching the full range of the graduate curriculum) who will specialize in community-based collections management. Those who may [...]

2014-12-19T22:51:53+00:00 December 19th, 2014|Categories: Preservation|

Hawai‘i County Gains Status as Certified Local Government

By Anna Broverman, Architectural Historian, State Historic Preservation Division Hawai‘i County has joined Kaua‘i and Maui counties to become Hawaii’s third Certified Local Government (CLG), a designation under the National Historic Preservation Act. The CLG program is a partnership between local, state and federal governments to promote historic preservation at the local level. By joining the program, local jurisdictions make a commitment to preservation and become eligible to receive technical assistance and funding. Hawai‘i County adopted its enabling ordinance in 2009, and took several years to develop the rules and operating procedures, appoint the members of the preservation commission, and apply for certified status. The State approved the County’s program in 2014. Benefits of the CLG program include access to expert advice from the State Historic Preservation Division and the National Park Service, the chance to network with other CLG programs throughout the state and country, and grants up to $57,000 within the State of Hawaii. Requirements include the formation of a qualified historic preservation commission; the establishment of a local preservation ordinance; the creation and maintenance of a system of survey and inventory for historic properties; and the facilitation of public participation in local preservation efforts, including the National Register of Historic Places listing process. Together, these programs help the community continually identify their historic resources, educate the public about those resources, and monitor changes to them. The CLG program hinges on the idea that local communities know the most about their historic resources. Each CLG has a commission that consists of local experts knowledgeable in specific fields including culture, history, architecture, and archaeology. Through the county historic preservation commission and county staff person, CLGs are able to raise awareness about historic preservation and [...]

2017-04-21T01:01:20+00:00 December 19th, 2014|Categories: Preservation|

MEMBERSHIP CORNER: Interview with Jan Atkins, Charles Black and Bob Fox

Happy 40th Anniversary to HHF! Historic Hawai‘i Foundation’s official launch date as a nonprofit organization was June 12, 1974. At that time, a dynamic and diverse group of highly skilled and courageous individuals came together with a common vision to preserve the unique historic places that make Hawai‘i special and relay the story of Hawai‘i’s exceptional history. Three of the founders and current HHF members, Bob Fox, Jan Atkins and Charles Black, agreed to share some experiences from HHF’s early days, the context in which the organization was formed as well as offer a few observations about the state of preservation in Hawai‘i today. The interview has been abridged for space and clarity. Historic Hawai‘i Foundation: Tell us a little about yourself and your background and interests. Bob Fox: I am pleased to have the opportunity to be a part of this exchange of ideas and memories of the founding of Historic Hawaii Foundation and how it has flourished today. While I was going to school in California, studying architecture I became very interested in Historic Preservation. The school was in a small town with many historic building. In my last year I studied architecture in Japan. I was fascinated with the historic and contemporary buildings of Japan. I traveled a great deal and visited many historic and contemporary and historic buildings and historic sites, and my thesis was titled a Comparative Analysis of the Transition of Japanese Architecture. This experience developed into a lifelong interest in Historic Preservation. Charles Black: I was born and raised in Hawai‘i, a fifth generation descendant of Amos Starr Cooke and Hiram Bingham. (Hiram Bingham was the first missionary who arrived here in 1820.) I graduated from Punahou and [...]

2017-04-21T01:01:22+00:00 September 2nd, 2014|Categories: Preservation|

Visioning Charrette Establishes Guiding Principles for Hono‘uli‘uli

On October 11, 2013 some 55 people gathered at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i to discuss the preservation and future interpretation of the Japanese American confinement camp and WWII prisoner of war camp that was operated in Honouliuli Gulch from 1943 to 1945. During the years of WWII, several hundred first and second generation Japanese Americans, as well as thousands of prisoners of war were incarcerated at Honouliuli detention camp. In 2012 the Hawai‘i State Legislature passed Act 235, establishing the Honouliuli park site advisory group to develop recommendations for funding of an educational resource center at the Honouliuli detention site. In May 2013 the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i (JCCH) received a contract from the State Resources Historic Preservation Division (SHPD) to design, coordinate and document a community visioning process for the development of the Honouliuli Educational Resource Center. The visioning charrette was organized by JCCH with the assistance of Historic Hawai‘i Foundation; SHPD; Townscape, Inc.; and John Hara Associates Inc.  Invitees included family members of former internees, JCCH docents, the confinement sites committee, the Honouliuli tour guide team, the state advisory group, city and state agencies that have an interest in the project, and elected officials. The report of the activity and related actions of the advisory group will be submitted to the state legislature for consideration for next steps. The vision statement for the Honouliuli internment camp is a dual vision – for the site and for the prospective education center: "The site should be a place of respect and reflection that honors the experience of the internees; it should remain largely untouched, except for some clearing of brush and trees and ongoing archaeological field work. Visitors should be able [...]

2017-04-21T01:03:35+00:00 January 24th, 2014|Categories: Preservation|

Why Historic Preservation

By Peter Apo, Trustee, Office of Hawaiian Affairs This month’s column is inspired by two recent experiences, one as master of ceremonies for the 39th Historic Preservation Awards staged by the Historic Hawai‘i Foundation, and the other as master of ceremonies for a memorial service at the Waikiki Natatorium War Memorial.  You should know that I am an outspoken and undeterred advocate of preserving the Natatorium.  So I guess I was swept into a cerebral state that made me want to write about the importance of historic preservation. There’s a Hawaiian proverb – Ke ala i ka wa ma mua, ka wa ma hope – the road to the future leads through the past.  It’s a piece of wisdom that says it’s important to know where we’ve been in order to figure out where we should be going.  It assigns a high priority to preserving our history and keeping our past connected to our future.  It is absolute in the belief that, as a matter of public policy, preserving our historic buildings, landscapes, artifacts, and all meaningful physical evidence that we were here is important.  Perpetuation of the community history is a mark of a great society. An example of the work recognized by the Historic Hawai‘i Foundation in past years is Kuka‘o‘o Heiau or temple in Manoa Valley. Historical evidence suggests that the heiau was built in early history, eventually becoming an agricultural temple of the mapele class dedicated to the rites and rituals surrounding food productivity. Restored in 1993, Kuka‘o‘o Heiau survives as the last intact Hawaiian temple in the greater ahupua‘a of Waikiki and remains an extraordinary link to the past. Surrounding Kuka‘o‘o Heiau is a garden featuring endemic and indigenous plants [...]

2017-04-21T01:03:37+00:00 December 28th, 2013|Categories: Preservation|

Hawai‘i Scenic Byways Highlight Historic Corridors, Other Intrinsic Values

By David Zevenbergen, Hawai‘i Department of Transportation, & Kashmira Reid, Lyon Associate Established in 1991, the National Scenic Byways Program includes a distinctive collection of National Scenic Byways and All-American Roads, their stories and treasured places. Modeled after the national program, the Hawaii State Department of Transportation (HDOT) in 2008 developed a state-wide Scenic Byway program to recognize locally significant corridors featuring archeological, cultural, historical, recreational, scenic and/or natural qualities. Local government agencies (typically County Planning or Public Works departments) or 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations are eligible to sponsor a scenic byway. Sponsors form a Local Byway Committee in collaboration with government, businesses and community stakeholders to protect, preserve and enhance significant features and sites along the route. This is a volunteer-based, grassroots-driven program that identifies and supports outstanding roads across the state. The program provides technical resources to help local governments or community sponsors to document the unique qualities and assets that each byway has to offer. HDOT guides byway sponsors as they engage in a two-step nomination-designation process, followed by the development of a Corridor Management Plan. Once state designation is achieved, information about these corridors is published in three venues:, and Signage is also planned for all routes, enabling both residents and visitors to locate and enjoy the routes. There are currently 4 state designated byways; three on Hawaii Island and one on Kauai: Mamalahoa Kona Heritage Corridor, Highway 180 through the Historic Village of Holualoa, Hawaii Island (2009) Royal Footsteps Along the Kona Coast , Ali‘i Drive in Kailua-Kona, Hawai‘i Island (2010) Holo Holo Koloa  Scenic Byway in Po‘ipu –Koloa, Kaua‘i (2011), and Ka‘u Scenic Byway – Slopes of Mauna Loa, along the southern coast of Hawai‘i Island (2011) [...]

2017-04-21T01:03:37+00:00 December 28th, 2013|Categories: Preservation|

Community Effort Revitalizes Historic Shrine -Again

By Kevin Kawamoto The Wakamiya Inari Shrine at Hawaii’s Plantation Village in Waipahu has a new roof – and much more – thanks to contributions from numerous community members, businesses and the Freeman Foundation, in a generous grant administered by the Historic Hawai‘i Foundation. The new roof marks a just-in-time triumph for this apple-red Shinto Shrine after its weathered shingles littered the grounds and leaks threatened its interior, housing an altar and religious and cultural objects.  The new roof signals the second time the same group of volunteers rescued the Shrine, the first being when it faced demolition in 1979. Dedicated volunteers, then instigated by religion professor Michael Molloy, assumed the cause to save the Shrine and move it to Waipahu with the aid of then-Gov. George Ariyoshi and then-union leader “Major” Hideo Okada. Relocating to Waipahu cost the Shrine its roof, which had to be removed so the building could pass under bridges while it was moved successfully in the dead of night with police escort. In Waipahu the roof-less Shrine was faithfully restored so that it remains architecturally significant “as the only example of this Shinto sect’s traditional shrine architecture on Oahu,” according to its nomination to the National Register of Historic Places. It has been listed there since 1980 (I.D. No. 80001285), as well as on the Hawaii Register of Historic Places. Over the decades, however, the Shrine’s shingled roof deteriorated. The core members who had rescued the building three decades earlier again sprang into action and succeeded in raising funds to give the Shrine a new roof. Thanks to local architect Lorraine Minatoishi, it has also been more closely restored to its original architectural integrity. Minatoishi studied old photographs of the [...]

2017-04-21T01:03:37+00:00 December 28th, 2013|Categories: Preservation|

HHF Joins Advisory Group for Honouliuli Internment Camp

On December 7, 1941, Hawai‘i was attacked by the Japanese Empire’s naval and air forces. Immediately following those attacks, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066. This order authorized the exclusion of persons of Japanese ancestry from the entire Pacific coast. Citizens with as little as one-sixteenth percent of Japanese blood were placed in internment camps. Without judicial process, nearly 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry were detained in War Relocation Authority Camps and Department of Justice Internment Camps; about 2000 of those detained were Hawai‘i residents of Japanese ancestry. On January 2, 1945, the exclusion order was revoked entirely and the internees began to leave the camps to rebuild their lives. This photo: Concrete foundations are all that remain of the Honouliuli internment camp.   Top photo: Guard stations were positioned at the top of the valley in order to watch over the internees.  There were five internment camps in Hawai‘i, known as the “Hawaiian Island Detention Camps.” One of those camps was the Honouliuli Internment Camp located in ‘Ewa on O‘ahu. Little was known about the Hawai‘i internees and their experience. Surprised by the lack of information, the Resource Center at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i (JCCH) set out to collect documentation, first-hand accounts and artifacts from the internees. Honouliuli Internment Camp Advisory Group was developed to complement the JCCH’s goal of designating the Honouliuli internment-prisoner of war camp site and associated sites within Hawai‘i as part of the United States National Park Service (NPS). The committee is comprised of members from JCCH, State Historic Preservation Division, University of Hawai‘i West Oahu, Japanese American Citizens League Honolulu Chapter, Historic Hawai‘i Foundation; Monsanto, and members appointed by the Speaker of the House and [...]

2017-04-21T01:03:37+00:00 December 28th, 2013|Categories: Preservation|

HDOT Inventory to Identify, Prioritize Historic Bridges

By Michelle Cheang, Fung Associates, Inc. The Hawaii State Department of Transportation (HDOT) is making a substantial effort to proactively identify Hawaii’s historic thoroughfares that have been instrumental in our state’s evolution into the modern age. HDOT funded the Statewide Bridge Inventory that involves the initial analysis of approximately 800 potentially historic bridges constructed between 1894 and 1968 on the islands of Oahu, Hawaii, Maui, Molokai, and Kauai.  The project intends to identify which of the bridges may be eligible for listing on the Hawaii or National Registers of Historic Places.  HDOT has goals to utilize this inventory to develop a Programmatic Agreement with the State Historic Preservation Division (SHPD) and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) to aid in future consultations and stream-line the approval process for various construction projects. This photo: Kolekole Stream Bridge, Hawaii Island Above: Ihiihilauakea, Oahu A number of historic bridges were first identified in reports prepared in the 1980s and 1990s.  The 2008 draft inventory and evaluation completed under the supervision of Spencer Leineweber serves as a basis for the current project team to update the eligibility status of all bridges.  Bridges that are being considered include state and county owned bridges, but do not include private and federal owned bridges.  While the project identifies historic bridges, the inventory does not take the place of consultation on specific projects that may impact them in the future. The inventory also does not address archaeological and cultural concerns in the historic identification process, but instead focuses on architecture, engineering and history. HHF Executive Director Kiersten Faulkner serves on the DOT Advisory Committee for the project, along with representatives of the county public works and planning departments, the federal highways administration, [...]

2017-04-21T01:03:37+00:00 December 28th, 2013|Categories: Preservation|