Development of the Ewa Sugar Plantation and Oahu Railway & Land Company, 1890

Henry M. Whitney’s Tourists’ Guide Through the Hawaiian Islands [33] provides readers with an overview of sugar plantation development in Honouliuli and the larger ‘Ewa District in 1890. At the time of writing, the O‘ahu Railway & Land Company (OR&L Co.) had just opened with train service passing from Honolulu to the ‘Ewa Court House; remaining track routes to be laid shortly thereafter. With the development of the rail system, businesses began immediately expanding, as rail access made the job of transport of freight and livestock an easy task, and the ‘Ewa Plantation incorporated. Whitney’s account of the inaugural service on November 15, 1889, coinciding with King Kalākaua’s birthday, and subsequent trips, provides a description of the Pearl Harbor regions, documenting the continuing change in the ‘Ewa landscape, and the planning going into making Pearl City where new homes and business opportunities came to be built. Another part of the rail development focused on the wharf at Iwilei, by which crops, livestock, and goods could be easily transported from the field to ships for transport across the sea. Below is an excerpt from The Tourists’ Guide, which ran under the title “Oahu Railway and Land Co.: The story of its origin.”

…Within the past year Hawaii has started in the footsteps of America by projecting a railroad around the island of Oahu, and actually perfecting, within the period from April 1st, 1889, to January 1st, 1890, a well-equipped railroad in running order, extending from Honolulu along the southern shore of the island to a temporary terminus at Ewa Court House, a distance of twelve miles. It was five years ago that Mr. B. F. Dillingham advanced the idea of building a steam railroad that should carry freight and passengers, and conduct business on the most improved American methods. A hundred men told him his scheme was infeasible where one offered encouragement. He believed he was right, and so put forth every endeavor to secure a franchise, which was granted to him only after vigorous legislative opposition to the measure. The incorporation of the Oahu Railway and Land Company with a capital stock of $700,000 was the next step in the venture, but not an easy one by any means, as home capitalists were timid at that time, and few would believe that the soil of Oahu was worth developing to the extent of Mr. Dillingham’s plans. A small number of gentlemen, notable among whom was Hon. Mark P. Robinson, came forward at the right time and purchased enough stock and bonds to set the enterprise on foot. With all the disadvantages that remoteness from the manufacturing centers of America offered, Mr. Dillingham undertook the contract of building and equipping the railroad. Rails were ordered in Germany, locomotives and cars in America, and ties in the home market; rights of way were amicably secured, surveyors defined the line of road, and grading commenced. The work was prosecuted with the utmost speed consistent with stability and safety, and there was hardly a day’s delay from the time grading commenced, in the spring of 1889, till September 4th following, when the first steam passenger train, loaded with excursionists, left the Honolulu terminus, and covered a distance of half a mile. It was the initial train, and the day was Mr. Dillingham’s birthday, a period he had designated when he secured his franchise, exactly twelve months before, as the natal day of steam passenger traffic on Oahu. The little excursion was a success, as far as it went. On November 15th, his Majesty’s birthday, the formal opening of the road took place. Trains ran to Halawa and back all day, carrying the public free. Following this event, which marked a significant epoch in the commercial history of this kingdom, the Oahu Railway & Land Company opened the doors of their commodious offices in the King Street depot for business. [33]

The story continued with a section entitled “Developing the Country.” Simultaneous with the commencement of business was the acquisition, by the O. R. & L. Co., of a fifty-year lease of the Honouliuli and Kahuku

Rancho’s 60,000 acres, and the purchase of 10,000 head of cattle running thereon. This vast area, hitherto utilized as a stock range, is, under the manipulation of the railroad people, becoming one of the garden spots of the Kingdom. Two new corporations of sugar planters,—the Ewa plantation and Kahuku plantation—capitalized at $500,000 each, have each secured from the railroad leases of from 5,000 to 10,000 acres for sugar cultivation. Cane is now growing on a part of the lands. These two great agricultural enterprises, the direct outgrowth of the railroad movement, confer valuable pecuniary benefits on the business men and mechanics of Honolulu. Artesian wells, yielding a bounteous flow of water, supply the means of irrigation, and make possible in that section of the island what almost everyone but the promoter of the railroad formerly believed to be impossible—the culture of sugar cane on a large scale. This abundance of water, which is obtained by the mere sinking of wells, has stimulated other agricultural pursuits on the railroad’s lands. Ever since the day traffic was begun, the railroad people have been pushing forward in their good mission of banding the island with iron rails. [33]

The story of the railroad at Pu‘uloa was told in a section entitled “Pearl Harbor.”

The quiet precincts of Pearl Harbor were first invaded by the locomotive in December, 1889, and in the following month Ewa Court House was reached.

Graders and track layers are still marching on. Pearl Harbor signifies something more than a mere body of water. It is a series of picturesque lochs, connected with the sea, but sufficiently protected from the encroachments of the breakers to render its water calm and placid, whereby boating, bathing, and fishing may be enjoyed in all the fullness of those pastimes. From the sandy shores of these lochs the mountains of the Koolau range rise up to a high altitude. The new town of Pearl City, another offspring of our railroad enterprise, rests on one of the loveliest slopes of Pearl Harbor’s borders. A handsome depot and several residences built in new styles of architecture present a decidedly attractive appearance. The town is bisected by a wide boulevard, from either side of which extend well graded avenues. A landscape gardener is engaged in beautifying the borders of the thoroughfares, and setting out trees of all the varieties that flourish in this generous climate. Pearl City will afford pleasant homes for those who desire recreation after the day’s toils in Honolulu. Another prominent feature of Pearl Harbor’s improvements is a pavilion, seventy feet square, built by the railroad company. This is designed for the accommodation of picnic parties, and, being embowered by a grove of choice tropical trees, furnishes the sylvan environment so essential to the pleasure of the conventional picnic. An electric light plant has been introduced for the special service of evening parties on these grounds. [33]

The efficient layout of the railway on O‘ahu was described in a section entitled “Wharf Terminus.”

Chief among the ends secured by facilitating the shipment of produce from the interior to the seaboard is the conjunction of ship and car, and principle that Mr. Dillingham had in view when he launched his railroad venture. This project, involving the construction of a wharf from the present railroad terminus at Iwilei to deep water in Honolulu harbor, is being carried out.

Only three or four cities in the United States claim this superior arrangement for rapid and economic transfer of freight, and it certainly becomes a progressive movement on the part of Honolulu when our railroad cars bring sugar, bananas and rice from plantations on the northwest side of the island directly to ship’s tackles. The wharf now being built is 200 feet long and sixty feet wide. The piles are torpedo proof, and the whole structure is put up with an eye to strength and durability. Its usefulness will be appreciated when, in 1892, the first crop of Ewa Plantation will, with only a nominal cost of handling, be placed in the hold of out-bound packets. The company are reclaiming in the vicinity of the wharf thirty acres of tideland, which will prove very valuable water frontage. Banana and rice planters along the line of the railroad will not be slow to avail themselves of the shipping advantages provided by the meeting of ship and car. Bananas can be cut from the plant on the morning a vessel sails, and will arrive in the California market in a much better condition than those heretofore transported by horse and mule back from the interior. Hawaiian rice, which commands a higher price in American markets than the South Carolina product, can be placed in San Francisco at a lower figure than formerly. While the banana and rice traffic will be stimulated to a greater extent here than in any other country on the globe, the advantage given to sugar, the staple commodity of the Kingdom, will be heightened to an extraordinary degree. In no other country have we the spectacle of sugar being taken from the mill directly to ship’s tackles. In Manila, Jamaica and Cuba, and even in Louisiana and Mississippi, the process of transportation is slow, laborious and expensive, reducing the profits of the planter to a minimum. [33]

The railroad is described as part of a larger project to colonize Hawai‘i with Europeans and Americans in the following section, entitled “Colonization.”

It is patent to every resident of this Kingdom who is acquainted with Mr. Dillingham that his pet scheme is the industrial development of these islands through colonization. The railroad signalized the advancement of the scheme. It is now the purpose of the railroad company to bring out thrifty people from Europe and America who will take up land, cultivate the same, and establish their homes thereon. The railroad makes colonization possible, and is in itself an invitation to ranchers to engage in the different pursuits that are especially adapted to this soil and climate.

Market gardening, dairying and the raising of poultry can be made lucrative to the industrious, while fruit culture, embracing a large variety of products, offers the liberal inducements. Along the line of the railroad there are now 7,500 acres in rice, yielding 10,000 tons annually, and 150 acres in bananas, yielding 100,000 bunches annually, and besides these prolific plantations there are, in close proximity to the several stations, thousands of mellow acres untouched, capable of bearing all the multifarious fruits and flowers of the tropics. The plan of colonization contemplated by the railroad tends to promote the nation’s welfare as well as to bring the railroad lands under systematic cultivation. Repeated successes in the past give some assurance that the railroad will succeed in this laudable project. None but the industrious and law-abiding will be invited to these shores. Worthy people who are without the means of traveling expenses will be assisted. In the sale of lands special inducements will be given to those now living in the Kingdom. As Mr. Dillingham has recently procured the franchise of a seventy-mile railroad from Hilo to Hamakua, on the island of Hawaii, he will have a still larger scope for the promotion of colonization. [33]

The progress made by OR&L through 1890 is described in the following section, entitled “Condition of the Railroad.”

The Oahu Railway & Land Company are nothing if not progressive. It is difficult at this stage of the corporation’s history to convey an idea of what will be accomplished at the close of the year 1890. The projection of branch roads, the importation of locomotives and cars, the improvements around Pearl Harbor and the track laying beyond Ewa are circumstances of the present that indicate preparations for an enormous business. The branches or spurs now under way are, one extending into the Palama suburb, having its terminus at the stone quarry, and the other is a line running along the peninsula at Pearl City. The stock of the company is 7,000 shares at a par value of a $100 each. At a public auction, held in January, 1890, stock sold at five per cent premium. The bounded indebtedness is $300,000. The income of the railroad with its promising future cannot be readily estimated. It is safe to assume that the income from the lease to the Ewa Plantation alone for the year 1893 will be an amount equal to the rent to be paid by the company on the whole Honouliuli Rancho, 40,000 acres, leaving the income from Kahuku Plantation and sale of livestock, and land rentals, which will amount to about $60,000, as a net profit on the land transaction. Adding to this figure the returns from sale of lands now owned in fee by the company, and the net earnings of the road, which must necessarily be large in view of the rapidly increasing traffic, there is presented a healthy condition of business. Some idea of the profits may be gathered from the fact that while the trains were running only to Pearl City, during the time of construction, the receipts from passenger traffic exceeded by $1000 per month the running expenses from the day the road was opened, Nov. 16, 1889. The property of the Oahu Railway & Land Company, represented on the books at a valuation of $1,000,000, is as follows: Fifteen miles of road bed (three-foot gauge) equipped with steel rails and ohia and redwood ties, two Baldwin passenger locomotives, two combination baggage and smoking cars, six first class coaches, one parlor car, six second class cars, eight flat freight cars, one box-freight car, two hand cars, eight well-furnished stations, 2,250 acres of land in fee, 60,000 acres under 50 years’ lease, 18,000 acres under thirty years’ lease, 10,500 head of beef cattle, 325 head of horses, and 50 miles of good fencing on ranch property. The officers of the company are as follows: Jno. H. Paty, President; J. I. Dowsett, First Vice-President; W. C. Wilder, Second Vice-President; Robert Lewers, Third Vice-President; W. G. Ashley, Secretary; C. P. Iaukea, Treasurer; W. F. Allen, Auditor; J. B. Castle, S. C. Allen, T. R. Walker, and J. G. Spencer; Directors. [33]

The benefits of the OR&L are extolled in the following section, entitled “Progress of the Oahu Railway and its Attendant Improvements.”

The enterprise shown by the Oahu Railway and Land Company from the very commencement of its great undertaking, and in every branch of its service, is worthy of special note and commendation. Every month witnesses the opening of some new plan, or the completion of some noteworthy object, in which all will be more or less interested. Of what may be termed the Pearl Harbor Section of the Oahu Railway there will be sixteen miles of track from the city to the mill of the Ewa Plantation, located near the shores of the west loch of the lagoon, of this twelve miles are completed and in excellent order to Pearl City Depot, improving, however, with each month’s service and use by daily freight and passenger trains, and with the additional ballasting which the road receives from time to time, wherever and whenever wanted. At each station convenient buildings have been erected, with two good depots at Honolulu and Pearl City. A commodious turn-table building has been erected near the Honolulu Depot, where the engines may be housed when not in use, and another smaller one at Pearl City.

The site of the new town at Ewa, which has been named Pearl City, is a very desirable one, the land rising gradually from the water’s edge to the foothills of the mountains, distant three or four miles, and with a beautiful view of the lagoon from any portion of it. About one hundred lots have been surveyed, and will be built on, and water from mountain springs being brought down in pipes for the use of residents. On a recent visit there, the writer left the city on a calm and very sultry day, and on reaching Ewa was surprised to find a cool mountain breeze blowing, which made it very comfortable.

Several new buildings have recently been erected. Among them are the pavilion, the hotel, the depot and several fine private dwellings. The pavilion is located in one of the most beautiful groves on the island. Here will be found the tallest royal palms, Poinciana regia, mango, and other rare exotics, some of which reach eighty to a hundred feet in height. This grove was planted thirty or more years ago by Mr. Remon of the firm of Bernard & Remon, who then owned the property, and introduced many rare trees and plants. [33]

Along with construction of the railroad itself, OR&L developed facilities to promote railroad use. One such facility in Pearl City wasn’t a harbinger of fashionable resorts there as the author suggests. The facility is described in the following section entitled “The Pavilion.”

Was erected specially for the accommodation of picnic parties, for which it is most admirably adapted. It is seventy feet square, well ventilated on all sides, with a smooth, clear floor, large enough to accommodate at one time twelve to sixteen sets of dancers. It is lighted with electricity, and when the forty incandescent lamps hanging throughout the building and in front as far as the railway track, are all lit, it resembles fairy land. On the occasion of a recent picnic, when six hundred guests were brought by rail from Honolulu, and the pavilion was decorated with flags and colored lanterns, the scene was exceedingly brilliant. For a holiday outing for old and young no more desirable place could be chosen than this charming spot, which must improve from year to year. The Hotel is a small but neat structure, containing a central reception room, and seven smaller ones for sleeping apartments. It stands on a large lot, and can at any time be enlarged to meet the wants of the public. The Depot is also a neat and commodious building, with all the conveniences needed in such a structure. It shows what taste and skill can do at a small cost.

It may not be long before Pearl City will become a fashionable resort, and probably will attract many permanent residents. It enjoys a mild climate, with land and sea breezes, plenty of fresh water, and good facilities for boat sailing on the placid bay, and bathing in the salt water, without fear of sharks, or heavy surf, or strong currents, which in other places endanger life and limb.

Respecting the improvements now being made by the Railway Company along the harbor, the following, taken from Paradise of the Pacific, will be of interest to tourists and readers of the GUIDE.

Hearing that extensive improvements were in contemplation, involving the construction of wharves to connect the rails with the shipping in the harbor, we wended our way to the engineer’s office in the depot building where we found Messrs. Kluegel and Allardt, engineers in consultation with the Minister of the Interior and Superintendent of public works, in regard to the proposed extension of the business area of Honolulu. Mr. Kluegel, Chief Engineer of the Company, a gentleman of large experience and ability, has been with them from the beginning of their enterprise and has shown himself to be a master of the art of civil engineering. Mr. G. P. Allardt is Consulting Engineer of the Spring Valley Water Works of San Francisco. He is considered one of the ablest railroad and hydraulic engineers in the United States. He came here the second time in the interest of this Company with Mr. Dillingham on his return from his late trip to the Coast. He is now installed in the engineer’s office as Consulting Engineer for the Company, until such time as the problems involving special engineering skill shall have been worked out. These gentlemen showed us the maps and drawings illustrating what is proposed to be done; which were supplemented by their own lucid explanations; from which it appears that there has been granted by the Government seven hundred and fifty feet of water front property on the harbor, and that wharves are to be built out to where there is sufficient depth of water to accommodate ships of the largest size that enter the harbor. Slips will be made for the accommodation of as many as possible of vessels of all classes that will come to this port to load and unload. To one or more of these, the rails will be laid and the cars will be run, thus securing for Honolulu what is rarely accomplished in any city in the world, the connection of the shipping with the railway lines of the country, avoiding all caring which is no small item of expense in transportation, especially of the heavier articles, such as sugar, rice, etc., much of which will be carried by this route. The building of this extensive line of wharfage involves the filling up and reclamation of twenty-six and a half acres of land south of the prison road; equal to about eleven blocks. So much wrested from the grasp of old ocean and made available for the uses of commerce in what will then be one of the busiest parts of this already busy town, can but be of immense advantage to the city and the interest of that large class of people who will soon do business with the Oahu Railway and Land Co. More than that it will be a public improvement, that will be a benefit to the whole country. The twenty-six and a half acres mentioned are located south of the prison road and do not include the smaller area of reclaimed land north of it, a large part of which has already been done, adding much to the beauty, healthfulness, and business capacity of this commercial and political center of the Paradise of the Pacific. As all this requires time for its full development, the enterprising managers of the road have provided for bridging over the interim by means of a scow that will run from the end of the rails that will soon be laid to a point where there is sufficient water, to go along side of vessels in the harbor. In order that the development of the new Ewa plantation may not be hindered, the work is being rapidly pushed forward, so that in a few weeks at most the material for improvements will be taken from the ships directly to them by rail. [33]

The following section, entitled “Pearl City,” describes the city’s origin as an OR&L project.

Mr. A. B. Loebenstein, civil engineer, has laid out the streets and lots on the site of Pearl City. The main avenue is eighty feet wide. The situation of the embryo town is one of the finest to be found in the Kingdom. It is on a gentle slope where the drainage will be easily accomplished, and the view of the mountains, the harbor and the sea, is such as is but seldom seen from any one point of observation. The shores of the Pearl Harbor lie at its feet, and that inland sea with but a single narrow opening connecting it with the great ocean affords unlimited opportunities for boating, yachting, and all the pleasures to be had upon water untroubled by any stormy wind. Honolulu almost at its very doors, for with the distance-annihilating railway train between, you count not by miles but by minutes. All these advantages will make the new town one of the most desirable places for residence in the world, and the interest which the people of the Capitol city are already taking in the matter, shows that the matter of town or no town at Ewa has already been decided in the affirmative. Some have even thought that, with the great area of fertile land lying back of it and its own great natural advantages, that sometime a city will be built up there that will rival Honolulu in numbers and commercial importance. But that remains for the future to unfold. The success of the present enterprise seems to be assured.

The recent negotiations with the United States have made Pearl Harbor almost as widely known as London, and now these new attractive features that make it easily accessible, and the supplementing of Nature’s wonders by these additions from the hand of man will make it in future one of the places that all tourists to the Islands will visit as surely as the volcano. It will be in the programme of tourist travel.

The freight business of the road is increasing with each new enterprise, that is being developed at or near the present western terminus. And it is also a noticeable fact that business along the line of road between Honolulu and Ewa has already received a stimulus that is helping to increase the passenger and freight traffic and to develop the resources of those fertile plains.

Bananas are already coming by rail, as well as wood, beef, milk, etc. During the coming year 10,000 tons of paddy and 100,000 bunches of bananas will be shipped over this route to Honolulu, besides large quantities of the above mentioned article, and the material and supplies to be carried the other way for the use of the Ewa Plantation Company.

In regard to the proposed extension of the road to complete the circuit of the island, it is encouraging to note that Messrs. Kluegel and Allardt, assisted by Mr. M. D. Monsarrat, Civil Engineer, have made reconnaissance of the entire island with a view of determining the feasibility of the proposed extension and they both assured us that it is practicable, and that there are no difficult obstacles to overcome, though portions of the line will be somewhat expensive. [33]

The primary business of the OR&L was to transport agricultural produce. The following section, entitled “The Ewa Plantation,” describes the origin of that corporation and its future plans for ‘Ewa.

One of the direct results of the railroad enterprise is Ewa Plantation, now an accomplished fact. Over 5,000 acres of land have been leased, and a company organized with the following efficient officers, who are all experienced sugar men, thoroughly versed in all the ins and outs of sugar production on these islands: C. M. Cooke, President; J. B. Castle, Vice-President; E. D. Tenney, Secretary; J. B. Atherton, Treasurer; J. H. Paty, Auditor. The foregoing five officers constitute the Board of Directors. Castle & Cooke are agents, and William J. Lowrie is Manager. He has had a large experience as manager on plantations on Maui, and brings to this work the energy and business capacity that are needed. Sixty-five acres are planted with seed cane.  The best of Lahaina top-seed is being used, which is considered much the best. Sixty men are now employed. Flumes have been constructed connecting with those from Mark Robinson’s pumping works, which were already in operation when the company took possession. The young cane show a marvelous growth for this season of the year. This seed will plant six hundred acres, and that area will be seeded for the first crop, the planting to begin in August, 1890, and next year it is expected that one thousand acres will be planted. The best Fowler & Son’s steam plows have been ordered from Scotland. The McCandless Bros. are already at work putting down artesian wells, and expect to have six wells in operation during 1890. The wells are ten inches in diameter, which is somewhat larger than is usual in this country. Carpenters are at work building laborers’ houses, etc. A Baldwin locomotive, cars, rails, etc., are already ordered for the transportation of the cane. The pumping plant will be of the latest designs and the best patterns made. Five hundred workmen will be employed, and the planting of the first crop will be pushed forward as rapidly as possible. [33]

The article ended with some thoughts about the prospects of artesian wells in ‘Ewa in a section entitled “Abundant Water Supply.”

One peculiarity of the Ewa Plantation which receives the unqualified endorsement of the manager is the source of the water supply. The main dependence will be artesian wells, and as the water does not naturally rise to the required height, the cost of pumping must be taken into account, but notwithstanding that it is claimed to be the best, inasmuch as water can be had in sufficient quantities when it is most needed, which is not the case when the supply is from mountain streams; for when those streams are lowest is the particular time of the year when the most water is needed. Another thing in favor of the Ewa Plantation is the fact that on account of its low altitude and the corresponding warmth of its soils a crop of cane can be matured there in from six weeks to two months less time than in some places where cane is successfully raised on these islands.

From what we have learned from all sources we have greater faith than ever in the success of both the Oahu Railway and Land Company and the Ewa Plantation. [33]

The following is more about development of water resources at Honouliuli from an article in the Hawaiian Gazette entitled “Ewa’s Pumps: Graphically described, giving their cost and capacity.”

On Wednesday a party of business men were enabled through the kindness of the O. R. & L. Co. and the plantation agents, to take a run down to the Ewa plantation. The mill which was made the first objective point, has already been described in these columns. It is being rapidly pushed on to completion, and will be ready long before the cane is. The whole party devoted itself principally to the examination of the pumps which are to put the water on the fields.

There are twenty-two ten-inch wells on the Ewa plantation, and three large pumping stations. The smallest of these pumps is used to raise the water from two finely flowing wells and is now watering 180 acres of cane. The pump if worked twenty-two hours a day will raise from four to five million gallons of water sixty-eight feet. This is fifty per cent more than the average daily water consumption of Honolulu. The whole plant cost $22,000 which includes building and foundation, piping and a small reservoir. The furnace consumes about two long tons of coal for each day of twenty-two hours, and the coal can be laid down at the furnace doors for about $7 per ton. If this single pump—the smallest in the plantation were transplanted from Ewa to Honolulu, the water famine would be over, and people might water their gardens “twenty-five hours in the day.”

The above pump like all those on the Ewa plantation is the produce of the Blake Manufacturing Co. It runs very smoothly, so smoothly that even the engineer one day forgot in a moment of absent-mindedness, that the powerful and noiseless engine was in motion. He got in the way—just with one finger—and did not notice the collision until he saw his finger—lying in the dripping pan!

Pumping Station No. 3 is now in process of construction, and, when complete, will be one of the “sights” of this Island. There will be nothing to beat it on this side of the Rocky Mountains. Two large pumps will lift the water from twelve artesian wells—one to a height of 137 feet, the other to a height of 167 feet above sea level. Deducting 32 feet, the height of the natural flow, we have a straight lift in the two pumps of 105 and 135 feet respectively. The ordinary capacity of these pumps is, together, twenty million gallons per day, but they have a maximum capacity of about ten millions more. Yet the ordinary daily consumption of coal will probably not exceed seven tons. This very moderate consumption of coal will be due in a great part to the use of tubular boilers which, it is claimed will furnish about twice as much steam per pound of coal as the best boilers of any other pattern. These climax tubular boilers were made at the Clombrok Steam Boiler Works in Brooklyn, N. Y. The whole work of preparing the foundation and erecting the pumps is under the personal supervision of Mr. Bunge, a courteous gentleman as well as a skillful mechanic, who has been sent here by the Blake Manufacturing Company for this special purpose.

The total cost of this great pumping station, including the wells and the piping will be in the neighborhood of $100,000.

The total capacity of the twenty-two artesian wells, with the four pumps working at their maximum capacity, will probably be not far from fifty million gallons per day. This is an astonishing figure, but it gives only a correct idea of the power of these splendid pumps. There will be water enough to irrigate, if necessary, 4,000 acres of cane, and at the ordinary working capacity of the pumps, there will be abundance of water for 3,000 acres. Enough water will flow in the once thirsty deserts of Honouliuli to supply a city of 200,000 people.

After doing more than justice to an exceedingly bountiful and generous repast, the party rode through the cane fields to convince themselves by personal inspection of the magnificent condition of the crop.

The condition of the plantation is a highly gratifying one and its prospects bright, even with sugar at the present low price. Everything which a favorable situation, a surpassingly fertile soil and appliances of the most approved efficiency can do for any plantation, nature and man have done for Ewa. The wells have not been in the smallest degree affected by the severe drought of the passing summer.

The plantation has passed the experimental stage, and the stockholders may lay, as a flattering unction to their souls, the observation of one of Honouliuli’s leading business men—an observation made after careful personal inspection:

“The plantation appears to be very carefully managed. Everything seems to have been thought out beforehand.”1

1“Development of Water Resources at Honouliuli,” Hawaiian Gazette, September 1, 1891, p. 2.


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Little more than a year after the debut of the Oahu Railway & Land Company, the new Ewa Plantation Mill at Honouliuli was up and running, and major changes were underway in land use, population makeup, and loss of cultural landscape.

In 1891, a number of men interested in the sugar business visited the Ewa Plantation. The excursion included a trip on the Oahu Railway and Land Co.’s line, and a tour of the new mill.

At a quarter to nine on Saturday morning a party of about five and twenty gentlemen started by train for Ewa Plantation and Mill, at the invitation of Mr. J. N. S. Williams, manager of the Union Iron Works, to whom was assigned the contract for the whole machinery of the mill.

Amongst the invited guests were Senor Canavarro, the Portuguese commissioner, Messrs. W. G. Irwin, Jos. Marsden, H. M. Whitney, H. T. Waterhouse, F. A. Schaefer, F. M. Swanzy, Austin, Chas. Cooke, Bowen, W. O. Smith, Holdsworth, Mist, May, Evans, Frear, J. O. Carter, Kluegel, and the Bulletin and Advertiser representatives, all interested in the sugar business of the country. Mr. Robert Moore, the superintendent of the Union Iron Works, was there too, and neither last nor least Mr. Dillingham, whose indefatigable energy has rendered possible such an undertaking as this which the party went to see.

Stopping for a minute at Moanalua the group was joined by Hon. S. M. Damon, and the train ran on to the Peninsula junction of the Pearl City station, where a few minutes were spent looking at the work going on for an ornamental fish pond for the coming city.

Thence the train ran on to the Ewa station, where the company alighted and, passing through the large general store of the plantation, entered the mill building, a large business-like erection, walls and roof being all of corrugated iron, and here they were met by Mr. Lowrie, the manager, and Messrs. Kopke and Hughes, engineers, who showed the visitors through the works and answered the numerous questions put by observers in search of information.

To go through the mill and describe briefly the processes from the field to the sugar room, we begin with the spot where the cane is brought from the fields and passed direct into the cutting or slicing engine, which was running at full speed.

From here the cane now reduced to shreds is carried by an endless chain of rakes up an incline to the upper story of the building, where it is distributed by a series of hoppers into the diffusion battery of 28 huge vertical cells each of which will take 2 tons of sliced cane. Here it is treated with hot water and the necessary proportion of lime and passed on to the quadruple effect and then to the vacuum pans, one of the 10 tons capacity with 7 coils of steam pipe, the other with 20 tons capacity and 9 coils. After this the sugar descends to the 15 centrifugals where it is dried, the residuum being led into the tank from whence it is passed away as fertilizer.

Meanwhile the chips or slices of cane deprived of 97 per cent of their saccharine qualities, are dropped through the opening base of each diffusion cell on to another moving platform or endless chain, which takes them to a 4-roller mill which was running on Saturday where the water they may contain is thoroughly expressed and they become fit for fuel for the furnaces.

There are 6 boilers all leading into the same steam pipe whence the whole machinery is worked.

A chimney 110 feet high which took 125,000 bricks in its construction affords ample draught.

This, though it may be a mere sketch of a great industrial undertaking, may serve to show the work in outline of one of the newest as well as the greatest of the enterprises of our sugar men. Barons if you like—we hope that they may soon vindicate their title.

From the upper windows of the mill one looks over hundreds of acres of waving cane and other hundreds of acres all of virgin soil only awaiting the plow and the planter to be tuned to a like account.

The red volcanic soil enriched by centuries of neglected vegetation only needs invitation to produce whatever the ingenuity of man can demand from it. The three well-stations of the company will yield, it is estimated, 33,000,000 gallons of water a day, and it is not in hands which will waste it.

After viewing the mill in self-assorted groups, the visitors sat down to a pleasant lunch of salads and sandwiches, coffee and effervescent drinks, at tables presided over by Messrs. Dillingham, Williams and Lowrie, while Messrs. More and Hughes kept the waiters up to the mark and saw that their guests wanted for nothing.

Soon after noon the party started homeward-bound from Ewa, and stopping for a time at Pearl City Station were able to be present at the opening of the first store in Pearl City itself.

Thence the train ran on to Honolulu, reaching it in time to clear the 2:15 p.m. passenger train just ready to start out.

Many hearty handshakings did Mr. Williams receive as his guests left the train with earnest congratulations on the admirable way in which he and his coadjutors, Mr. More and their staff, had carried to success one of the greatest enterprises ever undertaken in these islands.

All of which would have been impracticable but for Dillingham and his railway!

The weather was delightful and the whole excursion most enjoyable.1

An article regarding labor contracts at the Ewa Plantation Company published in the Hawaiian Star follows. Entitled “Co-operative Labor,” it ran with the subtitles “How it May Supersede Contract Methods” and “A way out for sugar men – How the new method works at Ewa Plantation.” It argues that co-operative labor is more beneficial to the laborers than contract labor. It gives an example of the agreement made between employer and planter for the co-operative system.

One way, and perhaps the best, to settle the cane planting question without contract labor, is to run the big sugar farms on the co-operative plan. This method has been tried at Ewa plantation with a measure of success which ought to lead Hawaiian growers generally, as the opportunity comes, to give it a fair trial.

The details of the co-operative plan as it has been developed at Ewa are as follows:

This agreement, made this … day of … 189…, by and between the Ewa Plantation Company, a corporation, of the first part, hereinafter called the employer, and …, of the second part, hereinafter called the planter, witnesseth:

That in consideration of the promises, terms and covenants herein below set forth from either party to the other moving, the said employer does hereby promise, covenant and agree to admit the planter as an agricultural laborer and share planter upon the Ewa Plantation, at Honouliuli, on the Island of Oahu and in furtherance of said object does hereby agree:

I.  To give to the said above named planter for cultivation on the profit sharing system, as herein below set forth … of that section of land now plowed and furrowed on the Ewa Plantation amounting to about … acres, and described in plantation map as follows: … and also an advance not to exceed … dollars ($…) for each month of service for food and other necessary uses of the planter which amount shall be returned by the planter without interest as hereinafter set forth.

II.  The employer agrees: to furnish, without charge, lodgings sufficient for the planter, and also fuel for domestic use, which shall be cut and gathered by said planter for himself at such place as the employer shall designate; also tools for irrigating purposes shall be furnished in the first instance, after that all tools shall be furnished by the planter; also seed cane; also water in the main plantation ditches for irrigation, but taking water therefrom to the cane fields shall be done by the planter, and the water so furnished shall be used economically and without waste for each irrigation. Also, to place movable tracks through the fields at a distance of not over four hundred (400) feet apart.

And the planter on his own behalf, covenants and agrees in consideration aforesaid, to go to the Ewa plantation, on the island of Oahu, and there to labor in accordance with the terms of this agreement, to wit:

III.  With such other planters as may be designated by the employer to cut and load the seed, prepare the land, make level ditches, put in gates and boxes, plant, irrigate, and cultivate in the best manner to maturity, and, when so required by the employer, to cut and deliver the cane to be so cultivated upon the cars of the employer whenever deemed necessary by the employer. In cutting, it shall be cut close to the ground and topped clean, and care shall be taken not to load any dead or sour cane upon the cars, and all unsound cane so loaded shall be separated at the cane carrier, weighed and deducted from the sound cane, and all expenses connected with separating and weighing such unsound cane, shall be charged to and deducted from the planter’s share. All of the cane to be stripped at least twice, and in heavy places three times whenever so directed by the employer; and all roads and ditches running through said fields to be kept clean and free from weeds.

IV.  It is likewise hereby agreed that all work, labor and service to be performed by the planter under this agreement, shall be subject to the supervision, and shall be done to the satisfaction of the employer in all cases; and if it shall seem necessary to employ extra labor to do the work satisfactorily, the employer shall so employ extra labor, and all costs of same shall be charged to and deducted from planter’s share with interest at the rate of nine per cent, per annum, except such extra labor as may be necessary in cutting and loading seed, planting and first watering, making level ditches and putting in gates and boxes for which the planter shall be charged $… per acre to be returned without interest; and the planter shall always be subject to the supervision or order of the employer.

V.  For all labor performed under the terms of this agreement in cultivating and harvesting cane upon the land set off to said planter, he shall be paid at the rate of … per ton of two thousand (2,000) pounds of cane on all of the cane produced upon the land cultivated by himself in common with others as aforesaid, such proportionate part as his labor bears to the entire amount of labor expended upon such premises by the planters, averaging the same between the total number of such planters.

VI.  From the proceeds of his labor, as set forth in the last article, he shall return to the employer the advances set for in articles No. 1 and 4 afore said as therein set forth.

VII.  This agreement may be terminated at any time by the employer, and upon two months’ notice by the planter, the planter being entitled upon such settlement, to wages at the rate of … dollars per month for the term of his service rendered deducting there-from the advances as aforesaid under Articles No. 1 and 4.

VIII.  In case of the death of the planter during the term of this agreement, the estate shall be entitled to an immediate settlement at the rate of … dollars ($…) per month, deducting advances as aforesaid; or settlement may be deferred until the crop is harvested and then it shall be made upon the terms hereof for the proportionate time given by said planter hereunder. In case of accident to or sickness of said planter whereby he is prevented from performing the labor under this agreement, if he shall not supply labor in place of his own, the employer shall do so and a proportionate amount of said planter’s share under this agreement shall be deducted for the time lost.

IV.  The planter, together with his co-workers, shall have the right to inspect the weighing of their cane at any time.

V.  This agreement shall terminate and be at an end when the last cane upon the fields to be cultivated hereunder, shall have been placed upon the cars and weighed, and settlement shall be made in full not later than one week thereafter.

In witness whereof, the said employer has caused the execution of these presents, by the attachment of its corporate seal together with the names and seals of its President and Treasurer, and the said planter has hereunto set his hand and seal the day and year first aforesaid.2

An article from the Hawaiian Gazette suggests that the water resources at Honouliuli are capable of supplying Honolulu with the water it needs. This in turn is evidence of the capacity of the Honouliuli water system. The section reproduced below was subtitled “Water wanted.”

The water famine has brought down on the heads of the Government anathemas from all quarters. It must be confessed that these anathemas are not altogether undeserved. The Government has been somewhat dilatory in providing against the recurrence of the annual water famine. With the improvidence which is supposed to be the peculiar characteristic of the aboriginal race, they have enjoyed the moisture when wet, and folded their hands in a fatalistic apathy, when dry.

The curse of the Honolulu water works system has been the infatuation of the rulers with reservoirs and rain water. The study of elaborate maps and estimates and calculations has turned the head of one Government after another, and the result has been that, while Ministers were lapped in gorgeous visions of chains of reservoirs stringing Nuuanu Valley, and costing, fortunately only on paper, fabulous sums, the town has gone dry. Now, a pump has been ordered, and it is to be hoped that the long-tried and deeply discredited mud pond system will yield to a more rational plan.

The wells of Ewa have been flowing for four years, and its pumps have poured out upon the thirsty plains of Honouliuli enough water daily to supply the waste of a city as large as San Francisco. With this example at the very door, what possible excuse can there be for any more water famines?

A tenth part of the power in the great pumps at Ewa, applied to a group of two or three artesian wells, will insure to Honolulu an abundant supply of pure, fresh water in the driest days of August no less than in the midst of the winter rains. The problem is a simple one, and there is no reason why there should ever be another water famine in Honolulu.3

1“Ewa Plantation. Visited by a Number of Representative Sugar Men. A Brief Description of the New Mill. Excursion Over the Oahu Railway and Land Co.’s Line,” Hawaiian Gazette, November 3, 1891, p. 4.

2“Labor Contracts at the Ewa Plantation Company,” Hawaiian Star, p. 5, April 22, 1893.

3“Honouliuli Water Resources Capable of Supplying Honolulu,” Hawaiian Gazette, August 16, 1894, p. 4.

There are thousands of references contributing to the history of Honouliuli Ahupuaa. From those references are found classes of information covering such topics as

•  Residency: land ownership and access;
•  Paakai: salt making;
•  Kai lawaia: fisheries and access;
•  Ranches and the land development programs in Honouliuli;
•  Water development, railroads, and the Ewa Plantation; and
•  Military condemnation of Honouliuli lands and offshore waters.

The selected narratives categorized as Land Use: Development Period provide eyewitness accounts to historic events. While there are few identifiable references for the immediate area of the Hoakalei program, the narratives give us an historical context for understanding changes on the land since western Contact.

This 1895 article shares an account of the journey made by newspaper staff, landowners, rail executives, and dignitaries on the newly opened extension of the Oahu Railway & Land Company track to Pokai, in Waianae. While passing through the Ewa District, the author-editor W. H. Kapu referenced several traditions of noted places seen along the way. The translation that follows is not complete, but is a summary.

E like hoi me ka mea i hoikemua ia, pela no hoi i hooko ia ae ai i kakahiaka Poalua iho la, hora 9:30. Ua akoakoa ae ua poe kakau nupepa ma ke kahu kikowaena o ka Hui Alahao a Aina Oahu mamua ae o ka manao i hoikeia maluna ae, a i ka hora 9:40 nae hoi i haalele iho ai ia Kuwili, no ka ulu niu o Pokai ka pahuhopu, kahi hoi i makaikai o ka hooloihi ana aku o ke alahao, e hoopuni aku ai paha hoi ia Oahu nei ma keia mua aku, no ka lio hao e holo ai.

Malalo iho na lala o ka Papapai i holo aku F.J. Testa (Hoke), Puuku o ka Ka Makaainana nei; J. Nawahi, Aloha Aina; J.E. Buki, Ka Leo o ka Lahui; a me D.M. Punini o ka Oiaio; J.U. Kawainui, Kuoka, i kokuaia e G.P. Kamauoha, luna makaainana hoopili wale; Bihopa Wilisi no ka Nupepa Ekalesia oili hapaha, S.W. Bihopa, Hoaloha; W.R. Farinetone, Pi Ki Adavataisa ame Kekake; G.C. Keniona, Kuokoa namu; E. Tause, Hoku; J.M. Vivasa. A Senetinela; G. Mansona, Bulletin Ahiahi; J.D. Haine, Ka Hawaiiana; J.D. Stake, Kamanawa; L.P. Linekona, nupepa ekalesia oili malama a ka Re. A. Makinikoki; Ho Fona, Nu Hou Pake; C. Iakanama, Manawa Pake; H.M. Wini, nupepa malama a no poe mahi ko; F. Godfere, aihe ana nupepa, aka he kamaaina oia no ia oihana. Aohe mea o na nupepa Kepani i hiki ae, a me he la, oia keia paha kekahi akoakoa nui loa ana o na poe o ka papapai, koe nae hoe ke ano laulea like nui ole ae, A mawaho ae hoi, na kau aku ma ke ano ohua o Hope Makai Nui Kelekona o Waianae a me kana wahine. O ke Ana aina Nui o ka Hai a me ka mea paa ae like no ka hoomoe alahao ana kekahi i kaa pu me na poe kakau nupepa.

Mai ka hoomaka ana aku e holo a hoea hou mai iluna nei, ua nana , malama, a hoomaopopo ia na mea a pau e Luna Nui F.C. Samita, a ua hookeleia hoi ka enegina mahu e ka Wiliki Nui H.D. Robata. I ka haalele ana iho ia Honolulu nei a mahoe koke iho, ua hoolawaia mai kela a me keia me ua po-ke pua Pake poni a ulaula, a ma hope iho me na kika a me na mea inu mama. Hora 10:09 i kaalo loa aku ai ia Kulanakauhale Momi me ka hoomaha ole, a ku i ka halewiliko o Ewa i ka hora 10:25, a aole no i loihi loa iho hoomau aku la i ke kamoe ana no ke kaha o Waianae, kahi i kaulana i ka moolelo o Kamapuaa, a me Kaopulupulu i ke au o Kahahana ka Moi o Oahu nei, a pela no hou me Hiiaka-i-ka-Poli-o Pele, ma kana huakai imi kane, ia Lohiau.

Ua like ka holo ana o ke kaa mahope iho o ka haalele ana i ka hale wili me he “kai nehe i ka iliili,” a e “pahee ana i ka welowelo,” hookahi no hana, he hoolai wale no, i ka maikai a iliwai like o ke alanui a i ka laula ae paha hou kahi o ke alahao. I ka hoea ana aku hoi keia i kahi papaakea o ke ala, i awaili pu ia me ka lepo, aohe puehu a koe mai o ka lepa, a poina na maka o na poe ma ke kaa hamama mahope. Maika na me ma ke ala i ka ikena aku a na maka, koe no ka uliuli mai o na pohaku on na pali. Komo aku la i Waimanalo, he ulu kiawe ma o a maanei, a aole i liuliu iho puka ana i ka aekai, ae waihoa hamama mai ana ka uliuli o ka moana i ka loa a me ka laula, a aohe nani aku a koe mai oia wahi o ke ala. A hoea i Piliokahe, he wahi pa pohaku kahiko, a ilaila la, wahi a kamaaina, pale mai o Ewa a pale aku o Waianae, a e waiho lahalaha mai ana hoi mauka ae na awawa hanai holoholona o Nanakuli a me Mikilua…

…A pau no hou ka ai ana, ua hele hou aku kela a me keia e makaikai hou i ka halewili a me kahi mau wahi e ae… a haalele aku ke kaa ia Waianae i ka hora 2. Ma ke ala hou, ua ku ma ka halewili o Honouliuli e kali ai no ke kaa iho aku. A mai laila mai hoi, aohe no i holo nui loa mai, no ka ike e ia ana mai nae paha hoi kahi o kekahi kaa maua i ke kamahele kaa ma Waiau, a nolaila, ua ku pokole ma Kalauao, a hoohiki loa iluna nei he mau minute mahope iho o ka hora 4…1

The summary translation is below.

At 9:30 on Tuesday morning, newspaper editors and others gathered at the Honolulu station of the Oahu Railway & Land Company. At 9:40 we departed on our trip past Kuwili on our way to the end of the route now at the Pokai in the coconut grove.

Having left Honolulu, by 10:09 drew near to Pearl City, and then reached the Ewa Sugar Mill at 10:25. We continued on our path [through Honouliuli] before us towards the shore of Waianae, passing the place made famous in the traditions of Kamapuaa and Kaopulupulu in the time of Kahanana, king of Oahu; also in the tradition of Hiiaka-i-ka-poli-Pele, in her journey to fetch Lohiau… We entered into Waimanalo, where the kiawe trees grew here and there, and passed along the seashore, arriving at Pili-o-kahe, where there is an ancient stone wall. This was pointed out by a native as being the boundary between Ewa and Waianae…

Reaching our destination we ate and then left Waianae at 2 o’clock, traveling along the new track to the mill at Honouliuli where we waited for the passing of another train. From there, it was not long until we traveled to Waiau, then a short time to Kalauao, returning [to Honolulu] at 4 o’clock.2

1Ka Makaainana, July 8, 1895, p. 1.

2Translated by Maly.


While ranching remained a part of Honouliuli’s history through the mid-twentieth century, the development of the Ewa Plantation Company took over as the major revenue generator, and source of the major changes on the land. Thousands of acres were cleared for sugar fields, work force populations were developed, housing and commercial interests grew, and traditional cultural resources were erased from the landscape. Sugar cultivation dominated Honouliuli Ahupuaa through the 1970s.

In an article subtitled “Water prospects of the Colonization lands” the writer discusses the prospects of developing water sources for Honouliuli.

A few weeks ago the writer was one of a party of explorers, to examine the prospects of irrigation on the lands proposed to be developed by the Oahu Colonization Company. The particular occasion was a request from Messrs. John Fowler & Co., a large manufacturing firm of London and Leeds, to Mr. A. M. Sproull, B. E., their practical engineer and correspondent in these Islands, to report on the water prospects of those lands. Since Mr. Sproull’s arrival in this kingdom about five years ago, that firm has supplied a good deal of sugar making machinery to plantations here, and has also acquired a financial interest in some of them. It is gratifying to have such an influential and wealthy firm, so far away as England, manifesting a practical interest in the colonization scheme, the success of which implies a vast increase in the productive resources of this country. What Mr. Sproull’s report will be time may show; but, so far as the unprofessional eye of the Bulletin could judge, the feasibility of ample irrigation of the lands, at a cost not disproportionate to the certain returns, is assured. This conclusion is reached from evidence that may be summarized briefly: 1, Water has been obtained wherever a hole has been bored in the driest of the different properties; 2, the best and widest stretches of soil are below elevations where steady streams have been obtained; 3, Water in great abundance has been procured on other properties, where the conditions do not appear to have been any more favorable than on the colonization lands; 4, In one case, at least, it is demonstrated that the storage of water in mountain gulches is an available resort to a certain extent.

Incidentally the expedition gave an opportunity of inspecting, at close range, other features of the colonization scheme than the one under particular investigation. One fact made prominent was that, an investment, the scheme offers immediate returns from the stock raising branch of the enterprise. Indeed, there seems no necessity for diminishing the scale on which this is conducted, while thousands of acres are being reclaimed for sugar, rice and other cultivation. Also, it seems feasible, by turning water on some now desert stretches that will not be fit for agriculture for a long time to come, to create fresh pastures for herds, thus releasing lands now necessary for their sustenance, on the grassy foothill slopes, for a variety of agricultural operations by prospective settlers. Enough was seen to convince anybody that fruit-growing could be successfully prosecuted over a very large aggregate of ground, in rough and diversified sections, where ordinary agriculture would be attended with more or less difficulty.

A brief report of the expedition referred to, which is given below, will, we think, bear out the generalizations contained in the foregoing. As the lands have been previously described in detail by another member of our staff, in connection with a larger expedition, this narrative only requires to be a brief sketch, as much the record of a very agreeable few days’ outing as anything else.

About 4 o’clock in the afternoon of March 9th, an equipage provided and driven by Mr. B. F. Dillingham, chief promoter of the Oahu Colonization Company, rattled up the Ewa road bound for Honouliuli Ranch. It was a strong but not too heavy wagon, drawn by a large, well-fed span of mares, thoroughly trained roadsters. With an ample commissariat and light baggage, as befits an outing of the sort contemplated, and three passengers, the vehicle was snugly but not uncomfortably laden. Between the enthusiastic colonizer, the critical Bachelor or Engineering, and the journalist—supposed always to be on the seat for information on the public’s account—it may be imagined that not much of the works of either nature or art within the range of vision escaped notice and discussion by the way. This road—as everybody in Honolulu ought to know—affords one of the pleasantest drives in all the kingdom. The views of the city and harbor from Palama and Kalihi are superb pictures, while the scenery all the way to Pearl Harbor is full of majesty, with snatches of beautiful, but quiet—very quiet—pastoral vales and slopes. Health itself blows on us in the cool, pure mountain breezes: the road for the most part is easy: therefore, this stage of our journey may well be described as delightful. Branching off the main road a few miles from the ranch, a remarkable object looms up over the track. It is an immense piece of trestle-work, gossamer-like in the lightness of its material, but towering up, over the deepest part of the gulch it crosses, some 40 or 50 feet, and stretching away more than half a mile. This elaborate piece of engineering is on the property of Mr. Mark P. Robinson, carrying irrigation pipe from a pump over a steep hill to extensive banana fields. That soil is rich and promising of large returns, indeed, which justifies much costly works of irrigation as this. Shortly after sundown, the young moon lighting the now rather rugged way, Mr. James Campbell’s group of houses, local headquarters of the Honouliuli Ranch, is reached. After exhausting his lungs in vain on a tin horn in calling Charlie, our conductor, with the assistance of his guests, proceeds to get up a hot supper. His eminent success in that respect, if allowed as a token of his ability as “chief cook” of the colonization scheme, would leave no doubt of that project doing more than anything else to fulfill his Majesty’s motto, “Increase the nation.”

Early the next morning the much-wasted Charlie, the head driver of the ranch, a very active native man, had horses ready for a ride over the property. A short distance from the house a flowing excavated well was encountered, its troughs surrounded with cattle. Cantering off over very even ground, the slaughterhouse on the margin of Pearl Harbor is shortly reached and its unrivalled natural facilities for shipping are observed. A pipe line leads to a well dug through ragged coral, a little distance off, which, at an elevation of 20 feet, shows water 15 feet from the surface, which is pumped by one of the patent windmills supplied by the Pacific Hardware Co. Then, to horse again, and after going through large enclosed paddocks with a capacity of thousands of cattle, we ride for several miles over rich, alluvial soil, apparently of great depth. This part of the estate consists of almost imperceptible slopes from the foothills of the Waianae Mountains, divided at intervals by light gulches. Here and there are the beds of small lakes or large pools, now dry but affording evidence of large volumes running to waste from watersheds above in the rainy season.

After resting a few minutes, while Mr. Sproull takes bearing and notes on his map, on a knob 400 feet above the sea, we head for the top of the mountains. On a high but even slope, beside a vast gulch, a herd of wild goats is seen ahead, and Charlie is after them in a moment with his lasso. He makes a splendidly exciting chase, down and up the precipitous banks, and wheeling like lightning when the goats double on him. It was no use, however; the frisky creatures went through the flying snare and would not be caught. Onward and upward, now, the sure-footed cattle-driving horses are urged, and still it is “Excelsior.” Inclines so steep are surmounted, ridges overlooking such awful depths are traversed, and a path so rugged in some places is climbed or descended as on stairs, that nobody who faces the difficulties for the first time would think it possible to get over them on horseback until he was the guide ahead actually performing the varied feats—or rather letting the horse do them. Once the writer’s horse stopped at a descent of about four feet at one step, over bare rocks, with a slope of about 45 degrees beyond, and both sides of the path tumbling down through the trees a thousand feet at an angle of 70. It looked prudent to get off, and horse and rider each choose his own way of climbing down. But the reckless brigands below shouted, “Let the reins loose and hit the horse.” Not without apprehension this injunction was followed: the animal carefully felt for the notch beneath with his forefeet, then with a lurch brought down his posterior limbs, the saddle creaked and groaned, its bands giving a crack—the descent was made. We reached an altitude of 4,320 feet before returning by an equally difficult way to the plain. The scenery away up there was sublime in lofty peaks, awful gorges, and gaping notches: while beautiful with the foliage of a profuse growth of trees on the mountain sides, and bright green herbage away down in the valleys. Cattle swarmed out of the woods in countless number in answer to the peculiar “whoophoo” of the cowboy. They were rolling fat on the teeming rank grass and rich browsing. Going back over the plain we come to a well sunk over 300 feet at an elevation of 60 feet, in which the water is 20 feet from the surface. There is an engine and piping on the spot, but not in working order.

Next morning the road is taken for Waialua, the wagon having a smooth thoroughfare for several miles before getting off Honouliuli, traversing a magnificent stretch of heavily greased land, containing hundreds more of well-favored cattle of good breed. At an elevation of 800 feet is a windmill, at the foot of the mountain, placed on a dug well 30 feet deep, in which there is 15 feet of water. Just on the border of Honouliuli ranch, close to Hon. C. H. Judd’s ranch, at an elevation of 1,000 feet, is a flowing artesian well 80 feet deep, from which a perennial stream flows through a gulch presenting very favorable conditions for storing unlimited supplies of the essential element. It should be mentioned that we had been traveling all morning on the edge of gulches leading from the watershed, which would lend themselves easily and cheaply to a system of water storage. At the main road, the saddles were taken again for a three or four miles’ jaunt, to take a view of the Kaukoanahua and neighboring gulches, the one named being the source of the Waialua river. There could be vast reservoirs made almost anywhere here, and judging by the rain clouds bathing the distant mountain summits water would not be wanting to till them.

Early in the afternoon we reach Waialua, where, at the hospitable cottages of Mr. Robert Dickson, manager of the Kawailoa and Waimea ranches, adjoining each other, we have a chance of changing apparel after being caught in the heavy rain shower, as well as of procuring a bountiful meal. Then we push on to Kahuku ranch, 12 miles distant along the beach. At the Waimea sand spit the breakers catch us when the wheels are down to near the hubs, and we are thankful at getting across with nothing worse than the whipple-tree broken. Having made repairs, the remainder of the road is a pleasant drive over green pastures close to old Ocean. Mr. W. C. Lane, manager of Kahuku, with his amiable partner, gives us hospitable welcome, good cheer and inviting beds. In the morning he and two sturdy sons accompany us on horseback over the mountains to Laie, the Mormon settlement. An orange grove in the mountains is visited on the way, and levied on for its luscious fruit. The chief men of Laie show the party round with great courtesy, the mill and fields being visited. There is a powerful flowing well on the property, but without irrigation this community have got six tons of sugar to the acre. Returning to the ranch house by the plain, any number of wells full of water are inspected.

Returning to Waialua, Mr. Dickson meets us a little way out, and conducts the carriage straight up over the Kahuku ranch, five miles on a luxuriantly grassy slope, smooth as a race course. As much more distance may be traversed the same way, but this brings us to the object of pursuit. Here is a storage dam, with a retaining wall 150 feet in length, 100 feet thick at the bottom and five feet at the top, having a capacity of nine million gallons.

All the ranches visited are included in the Oahu colonization scheme.

Having enjoyed Mr. and Mrs. Dickson’s royal hospitality over breakfast on Saturday morning, the party visit Mr. Robt. Halstead’s sugar mill— one of the best equipped on the Island—then drive on to Mr. James Gay’s stock ranch. At his place there are eight or ten abundantly flowing wells. Some 150 acres of dry pasture land have been converted into rice fields, which are leased at $25 per acre. Mr. Gaspar Silva, on the adjoining estate, has an equal area similarly transformed, yielding an annual rental of $30 per acre. After a bountiful lunch at Mr. Gay’s hospitable board, the road is taken for home, Honolulu being reached at sharp, five in the evening, the time fixed three days previously.1

The article below, entitled “Over the Oahu Railway Line,” describes the Oahu Railway Line through Ewa. The development of the railway is yet another factor in grooming Ewa to be an area for agriculture.

Just at sunrise on a glorious morning, such a day-break as only Hawaii can furnish, we started for Ewa to glance over the line and Ewa terminus of the first section of the projected railway. The grass, trees, flowers, fences, everything sparkled with the dew. A few tufts of white and fleecy clouds tipped the mountain summits; a cool air, fresh from the northern ocean, wafted down the valleys and lent an unwonted vigor to us and our horses. The blockade at Leleo causes a wide detour to School street, emphasizing the need of the new street continuing Beretania to Liliha. After the roughness of the Palama road it was a delight to roll over the smooth hard road through Kalihi and Moanalua. On account of the grade the railway will run off makai from Palama, crossing Kalihi-kai and Kahauiki a good way below the road; but in Moanalua it will tap the center of that thriving and contented looking settlement. The whistle of the engine and roar of the cars will wake the echoes along the cliffs and palis of that old domain of Pele. A new life will be infused into our hitherto sleepy suburbs, and the ancient Hawaiian as he squats on the ground pounding his poi will gaze with astonishment at the speed of the iron horse. Will he realize that it is whirling him and his whole race into a more and more complex life? The changes in Kalihi and Moanalua have been so rapid that one needs to go out there often to keep abreast with the times. The old road leading through a dusty wilderness has changed into a pretty street with the fine buildings and grounds of the Kamehameha School and many private residences, on the one hand, while on the other, a short distance off, a fine rice plantation stretches towards the sea. In Kahauiki the magnificent artesian well near the road still wastes its wealth of waters, although mauka of the road a banana plantation shows how rich the soil and how prolific when it gets the water. In Moanalua improvement has been the order and both sides of the road attest of what the place is capable. Near the head of the valley where the village lies, stands a tall derrick where Mr. Damon, the enterprising owner of the ahupuaa, is sinking a well to supplement the abundant springs in the valley.

At Moanalua the road will turn makai, running south and around the old volcanic crater. It will pass through a very dry but fertile section of country which, if irrigated, will produce abundant crops and support a considerable population. The salt industry might also be made a good deal of here and undoubtedly will be when there are facilities for transportation. The road will reach the shores of the lagoon in Halawa kai, and from this point on to Hoaeae will run along the shores, passing through a continuous and unbroken rice field. The tourists, however, did not turn off and follow the line of the road but continued on the Government road up to the romantic and wonderful gorge which has been torn open in some remote past age by the waters of the Moanalua River. The efficient road supervisor under our Reform administration has made a splendid piece of work of this road; the grades have been improved, the rocks covered, and a carriage rolls through from one end to the other with hardly a jolt. Rising from the gorge our party soon reached the point separating Ewa from Honolulu, the highest point on the road. Here the cool air coming down the valley in the morning reminded one of a colder clime and wraps were in demand. The recent rains have made the whole country green, which rendered it doubly beautiful. Only a short stay was made, when the party dashed down the long hill of “Kapukakii;” everywhere along the road are visible the signs of improvement; land in the past considered almost worthless are being fenced, wells are being sunk in the valleys in order that new land may be put under cultivation; the rice fields are green with waving rice, and in some places are already well headed out. Whirling on past the old Mission station at Waiawa and here turning south-west the party soon reached the Waipio residence of this estate. Mr. and Mrs. C. A. Brown were of the party and soon made us all at home. A pre-requisite in this place is a dash in the clear cold water of the bathing tank. The water is absolutely clear and pure, flowing in directly from an artesian well. It is protected from the wind, and a bath there is simply perfection. Most of our party evidently thought so, for instead of coming out when they were washed and cool they sat in the water talking railroad! They might have been there to the present moment had it not been that a call from outside announced the arrival from the fields of a large number of watermelons. All hands now scrambled to see who should get dressed first and in a few minutes were engaged in devouring the most delicious watermelons that ever fell to mortal share. After this a half hour’s rest in the delightful cool of the trees surrounding the residence, admiring the beautiful view across the waters of the bay, prepared us for a mount. Half a dozen of us took horse and rode out upon the peninsula which forms the makai extremity of the land of Waipio. This peninsula is divided into two sections, separated from each other by a low and narrow isthmus and from the mainland by a marshy flat now covered with rice fields. The inner section contains about four hundred acres, the outer about one thousand. On the west side lie the Waipio and Honouliuli lochs, on the north-east side is the large body of water comprising the main portion of Pearl Harbor. The extreme point of the peninsula is directly opposite of and in from the mouth of the harbor. It is said that the United States Government has been in negotiation for the purchase of this extremity. It is the commanding point in the entire system of lochs. Upon the inner section Mr. Brown has sunk a fine artesian well which has a magnificent flow of pure sweet water which will rise to an altitude of about thirty-four feet above the sea level. As the highest point of the peninsula is only about thirty feet, water can be made to flow all over it. The success of this well demonstrates that water can be obtained elsewhere on the peninsula. The shores are very much indented with little bays and inlets. They are lined with bluffs or fall gently off into sandy or pebbly beaches. In the little bays it is generally shallow; out-side it is usually deep. The view from the north-east side is one beautiful almost beyond description. The whole Kaukonahuanui range of mountains is in dew. Upon the morning we were there nearly every peak could be seen, for it was perfectly clear. The trade winds coming over the broad water gathers freshness and loses heat, fanning the cheeks with delicious coolness. Across the water the shores of the bay are extremely varied, the low rice fields being broken by the densely wooded Manana point. The soil along this shore is fertile and in some pockets quite deep. It is an interesting question as to where it could have come from, in view of the fact that it could never have received the mountain wash. There are most interesting points all along the shore; at several places are banks composed of immense masses of oyster shells, in some places nearly perfect, in others having the appearance of having been melted by heat or possibly by the action of the water itself. Where these oyster shells could have come from is an interesting question. One of the younger members of the party very nearly wept at the thought of the great waste of oysters which was shown on this great bank. It was saddening to think that we could have none.

This peninsula is covered with a luxuriant growth containing many algarobas. When the railroad is finished no doubt this whole northeastern shore will be occupied by residences; people will enjoy living out of town, when they can go and come from such a delightful point within an hour. It is to be hoped that prior to selling lots or permitting the erection of dwellings the whole peninsula may be laid out upon an artistic plan whereby the full effectiveness of its beautiful location and surroundings may be secured. After a long and careful inspection of this land and all of its surroundings till we were satiated with its beauties, the party returned to the Brown residence. Upon the way back a fine view was had of the thousands of acres of splendid agricultural and grazing land lying west of the lagoon. Waipio, Hoaeae and Honouliuli contain thousands of acres of land susceptible of fine cultivation and the production of abundant crops. Several thousands of acres of land lie below the level of artesian water flow and no doubt a series of wells could be bored on the lower Honouliuli lands which would supply flowing water for a first-class sugar plantation. This whole country will grow potatoes and other root crops, melons of every kind, corn, and could no doubt raise all of the hay and feed required for Honolulu. One marvels that these splendid resources should remain so long undeveloped. Were this in California there would have been such a boom long ago as Los Angeles never dreamed of! It lies with the Oahu railway to develop these resources and reap the fruits of the business so created.

We soon reached the house where a most delicious luau was awaiting our arrival. Under the combined attacks of a lot of hungry travelers the good things soon disappeared, and after that the party broke up, some remained to spend the night, others returned to town, and thus ended one of the never-to-be-forgotten days.2

The narrative below, entitled “Teachers’ Excursion,” describes the experience of teachers who traveled to Ewa on the Oahu Railroad and Land Company train line.

The national school bell rang at the depot of the O. R. and L. Co., at ten o’clock Saturday morning and thereupon came hurrying and scurrying from all parts of the city, dominies and school marms galore, to the trysting place. Five passenger coaches with the band car in the rear were pulled up alongside the platform. At sharp ten, the Royal Hawaiian band struck up a merry air, the engine gave the usual screech and the train moved out leaving nothing but vain regrets for all “passengers aboard who had been left behind.” A more highly delighted crowd than filled the coaches could hardly be imagined. As the train went rolling through the rice fields, the clatter of the wheels, the easy rocking of the coaches and the mountain breezes playing through the open windows, recalled to many present some pleasing recollections of home lands beyond the sea. At Pearl City a stop of twenty minutes gave groups of excursionists the opportunity of strolling through the streets and avenues of the Ewa metropolis. Whether any of them located corner lots for themselves deponent saith not. “All aboard” was called again, and the party was run through to Honouliuli, where track laying has been carried forward to within about a quart of a mile of the great artesian wells which have already solved the “water problem” of the colonization scheme. Four wells have been sunk and the fifth is in progress. Most of the excursion party having gathered round, the fourth well was uncapped for their entertainment. A volume of water came rushing up through the ten-inch pipe from a depth of 450 feet, with a force that drove the column about a foot above the mouth of the pipe. Hard by, the brick layers are at work on the foundation of a building in which pumping machinery will be fixed with a capacity of raising six million gallons of water per day and delivering it over the adjacent bluff to irrigate the new plantation. The water is clear as crystal and has a barely perceptible brackish taste. On the return trip, a halt was called at Manana for refreshments. A splendid collation was provided in the grand pavilion, Mr. Johnson of the Hamilton House, caterer. In quantity, quality and variety, the bill of fare was first class. “Mine host” of the day, the Hon. C. R. Bishop, personally supervised the serving of the large company and seemed to possess the facility of being everywhere at the same time seeing that no guest’s timidity abound preventing his wants being fully satisfied. After lunch, the teachers were grouped in the grove and photographed by Mr. J. A. Gonsalves and other operators. The assembly next came to order with the Inspector General standing under a big tree as chairman, when a resolution was read: “That the hearty thanks of all the teachers present are hereby tendered the Hon. C. R. Bishop, President of the Board of Education, for this delightful excursion and entertainment.” The motion passed with a strong unanimous “aye,” backed by three cheers. The Hon. President responded in brief and cordial terms: “Ladies and gentlemen, if you have enjoyed the day as much as I have, I am satisfied.” Then followed a return to the pavilion where the band struck up music, a large number of the guests took the floor and whirled through the maxes of the dance until the foot of the locomotive announced that it was time to return to town. The afternoon train from Honolulu, just arrived, let down one passenger and thereupon the fine physique of the Hon. Secretary of the Board of Education was seen moving toward the pavilion. The “late Mr. Smith” expressed himself well pleased on hearing about the fun that office duties had prevented his sharing. At 3:30 P. M., the train arrived back at the depot, whence the excursionists disperse, all very grateful to the Honorable President of the Board for his kindness in providing them with such an exceedingly pleasant wind up of the past year’s work.3

1Development of Water at Honouliuli, Daily Bulletin, April 8, 1886, p. 4.

2“Progress on the New Oahu Railway Line through Ewa,” Hawaiian Gazette, September 25, 1888, p. 5.

3“Narrative of a Visit by Teachers to Ewa via the Oahu Railroad and Land Company Train Line— Development Described,” Daily Bulletin, July 23, 1890, p. 4.