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Thread: How development spread on Oahu

  1. #1
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    Default How development spread on Oahu

    Can you offer an opinion as to how development spread on Honolulu-Oahu?

    Let me try some examples.

    Kapolei - People did not really live there until 2000+
    Ewa Beach - 90s.
    Mililani - 80s.
    Hawaii Kai - 70s.

    Using Ewa Beach as example. It was once all sugarcane land. Then Gentry moved in and became all residential.

    I know this is in general. People have lived there for a long time, but I'm talking about major developments.

    Some examples I'm wondering. Like areas like Manoa, Kaimuki, Kalihi, Aiea, Pearl City, Kaneohe, Kailua, etc. Share what you know or remember as far as a time-line. Each of these area seem to have a generation and a generation change.

  2. #2

    Default Re: How development spread on Oahu

    The development patterns on Oahu is not unlike that of any other place in the world. Geography, economic activity, and politics were the main driving forces.

    The fact that Honolulu Harbor offered the most navigable waters for ships to land on this island naturally led to the surrounding area becoming the hub of economic activity in Hawaii. The Kingdom of Hawaii recognized this trend and accordingly moved the capital from Lahania to Honolulu in 1850.

    As the business community in Downtown Honolulu grew, the residential areas moved outwards to some of the nearby areas, creating neighborhoods like Kakaako, Moiliili, Kaimuki, Nuuanu, etc.

    In the latter 1800s, sugar and pineapple plantations became the engine of the economy. Rural areas like Aiea, Waipahu, Wahiawa, Kahuku, Waialua was largely turned to agricultural use. Of course, these areas all had small plantation-style towns where workers had homes, went shopping, watched movies, sent their kids to school, etc.

    When statehood and airjet service arrived, tourism became the economy's main driving force while the sugar and pineapple industries declined. Former planation land was converted into residential and commercial zones, with the latter always seeming to lag behind the former, creating the phenomenom of "bedroom communities." It's a familiar story, right? Young families buying an affordable dream home in Aiea, Pearl City, or Mililani..... but having to fight traffic on the freeway every morning in order to get to where the bulk of good jobs existed (i.e. the urban core of Honolulu, Downtown, Waikiki.)

    As the population grew, real estate prices in urban Honolulu and the surrounding suburbs continued going up, necessitating further generations of young families to purchase lots that went even farther out. Thus creating neigborhoods in areas like Makakilo, Kapolei, and Ewa.

    Needless to say, the above description is a very cursory recounting of Oahu's development history. A thorough and complete description would take up a book, really.
    Last edited by Frankie's Market; November 29th, 2011 at 08:08 PM.
    This post may contain an opinion that may conflict with your opinion. Do not take it personal. Polite discussion of difference of opinion is welcome.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: How development spread on Oahu

    Thats a very good summary of development. but, it seems to be more of a story of the caucasian development sprawl. I lived in Waianae & Ewa in 1963-1964. It was a very vibrant area - just not all that "white". I loved living out there when I did - we thought going as far a Waipahu/Pearl City was a big excursion! and we rarely came all the way into town. I wouldn't like it so much now, its too crowded. Can you expand on your posting to address the sprawl from a "local" viewpoint? I'm curious to know if others looked at things like I saw them? Thanks for your post! This can be a very useful and interesting discussion.
    "Democracy is the only system that persists in asking the powers that be whether they are the powers that ought to be."
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  4. #4

    Default Re: How development spread on Oahu

    I contemplate similar interest with the Windward areas when I see old photos of the Waimanalo to Kahuku stretch. It was all cane for a good 50 years then started fading after WW2. Kaneohe began growing and by 1960 was substantial enuf to fuel places like Honey's and thus Don Ho's career began. But out here in the Kaaawa region it was still a remote destination in the 60s, seen mostly by tourists as they went around the island, but people like Hilo Hattie chose to make their home here, and she could have lived anywhere, so it did have an allure to some and once humble stops like Pat's At Punaluu sprung up and have thrived for decades. Maybe the most whites in these areas pre '60 were military.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: How development spread on Oahu

    What made me ask this question was this. I went to Roosevelt HS in the 80s. Most of the kids live in Manoa. But they were living with their grandparents, so it was grandma and grandpa that bought the house. Their parents went to schools like McKinley or Farrington.

    Many of the seniors would talk about the old days in Kaimuki. How tight it was. And as they moved on, their houses are flatten and replaced by apartments.

    Those friends/classmates that live with parents only (without grandparents), are from Mililani or Hawaii Kai area.

    Today, my former classmates kids are attending schools far from their parents or grandparents roots. I only know one friend who's kids are attending the same schools are their parents. That's because they live in Hawaiian Homestead land (?) Papakolea.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: How development spread on Oahu

    This is too large a topic to cover in a concise and definitive manner (at least here). But it is a very interesting one. I agree with FM: it would take a book (or more) to cover adequately. So let me just mention what I know from personal experience.

    I grew up in Aiea/Halawa. At that time we were still considered country. This was in the 50s and 60s. It was difficult to get from Aiea to Town (Honolulu proper) and vice versa. Remember, there was no H-1 freeway. There was only Moanalua Road, which was a meandering two-lane road that stretched from Waimalu to Kalihi. The only other connecting conduit was Nimitz Highway, which was always jam-packed.

    Aiea was just a plantation town, and there were cane fields scattered everywhere. From Red Hill to the outskirt of Halawa, there were cane fields on both sides of Moanalua Road. The old Halawa Housing, where Aloha Stadium is now located, was surrounded by cane fields all the way up to Radford High School, and stretched almost to Nimitz Highway. The Pearl Country Club was cane field.

    Statehood in 1959 brought rapid change. During the 1960s, the construction of the H-1 Freeway began. They dug a deep trench right through the middle of Aiea, splitting the town in two, the sugar mill on one side, what was once the community center on the other. The section of H-1 that connected Aiea to Town opened in 1965. That opening paved the way to more development. Pearlridge Shopping Center came shortly after (1972). Then Aloha Stadium (1975). And dozens of planned communities sprouted up here, there, and everywhere.

    Just like that, Aiea went from a small, intimate community to a sprawling bedroom community. Aiea became nothing more than the gateway to other bedroom communities: Mililani, Makakilo, Kapolei, Ewa, Waipio, and more.

    From my perspective, statehood and the subsequent building of the H-1 Freeway, were the sparks that led to the rapid development on the west side of Oahu.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: How development spread on Oahu

    but it was so pretty and peaceful when it was all the cane fields, before the urban sprawl!! I miss those days.
    "Democracy is the only system that persists in asking the powers that be whether they are the powers that ought to be."
    Sydney J. Harris

  8. #8

    Default Re: How development spread on Oahu

    Quote Originally Posted by Honoruru View Post
    From my perspective, statehood and the subsequent building of the H-1 Freeway, were the sparks that led to the rapid development on the west side of Oahu.
    I agree. But I would say that all of the freeway systems (H2 & H3 as well) have also had an impact on development patterns on this island. For example, the opening of H2 freeway gave the once-steady growth of Mililani a turbo boost. Residents there, old and new, paid the price with heavier and heavier rush-hour traffic on both H2 and Kamehameha Hwy.
    This post may contain an opinion that may conflict with your opinion. Do not take it personal. Polite discussion of difference of opinion is welcome.

  9. #9

    Default Re: How development spread on Oahu

    Don't forget old Pali Road...

  10. #10
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    Default Re: How development spread on Oahu

    It all started when the Hawaiians first landed and it was all downhill after that.
    Life is what you make of it...so please read the instructions carefully.

  11. #11

    Default Re: How development spread on Oahu

    Quote Originally Posted by craigwatanabe View Post
    It all started when the Hawaiians first landed and it was all downhill after that.
    Just ask the Menehune for confirmation of that.

  12. #12
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    Talking Re: How development spread on Oahu

    Quote Originally Posted by Leo Lakio View Post
    Just ask the Menehune for confirmation of that.
    For real. They confirmed it.

    I offered them access to my 1/4 acre in Volcano, they laughed at me. Their kahuna said, "So what? You think we can't take what we want?"

    I replied it was an offer in good faith, and they promised, consequently, not to harass me. At least not any more. They also said they would take better care than I have been doing over the past 20 years. AND I needed to give them 4 seasons of warning before I made ANY changes.

    Not a bad deal, I guess. They said, ultimately, that it belonged to them, but they MIGHT let me use it, un harassed, if I behaved myself....

    Development on Hawai`i might be different.

    (TIC)K
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    Spreading the virus of ALOHA.
    Oh Chu. If only you could have seen what I've seen, with your eyes.

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