Reciprocity and Military Condemnation of Honouliuli Lands and Offshore Waters: Development of Pearl Harbor, 1873–1998

Pu‘uloa, the land area of Honouliuli, and the lochs of the harbor played a major role in Hawai‘i’s political history and eventual loss of sovereignty. The narratives under Related Documents below take readers through the decades of turmoil in development of sugar plantations, trade agreements, the “Reciprocity Treaty” (1875 & 1884), and eventual military control of Pearl Harbor and large tracts of Honouliuli Ahupua‘a by the United States.

In 1884, the “Hawaiian-American Supplementary Convention” amended the January 30, 1875 Treaty to grant sole use of Pearl Harbor to the United States. Article II states:

His Majesty the King of the Hawaiian Islands grants to the Government of the United States the exclusive right to enter the harbor of the Pearl River in the Island of Oahu, and to establish and maintain there a coaling and repair station for the use of vessels of the United States, and to that end the United States may improve the entrance to said harbor and do all other things needful to the purpose aforesaid.1

Military activities directly impacted lands of the Hoakalei program area as roads and training grounds were developed across the region. Cultural sites preserved within the three preservation areas include the remains of military usage, and periodically, unexploded ordinance has been found along the shoreline.

Areas where native Hawaiians and large landowners lived at Pu‘uloa-Honouliuli were condemned, including those of families under the names of Dowsett-Parish, Kealoha, Kealakai, Campbell, Stephenson, and others. The nearshore lands that surround the Pearl Harbor lochs were condemned, and access to the harbor waters is still controlled. During the war years, no access was allowed to the Honouliuli coastline fronting the open ocean as well. The resulting development of bases, communications centers, munitions storage facilities, training grounds, naval fleet yards, and housing—such as Keahi, now called Iroquois Point, the childhood home of Sister Thelma Parish and Kupuna Arline Eaton—have all evolved since 1900.

Colonel David Kalakaua wrote a letter on the Pearl Harbor matter which was published in the Honolulu Bulletin in 1873.

Sir.—this has been an eventful year for Hawaii. It is only thirty-four years since the King and chiefs of this nation granted a Bill of Rights at Luaehu, Lahaina, Maui, 1839, which is the basis of a civilized government by the people. The Constitution granted by King Kamehameha III, by and with the advice and consent of the Nobles and Representatives of the people, followed in 1852. In 1864 the present Constitution, under which the country has been governed was granted by Kamehameha V.

Many feared that the nation was not sufficiently educated in Constitutional Government to elect a Sovereign on the demise of His Late Majesty without naming his successor. But these fears were groundless. The peaceful election which followed showed that Hawaiians are capable of self-government.

Last July the government proposed to the United States Commissioner to renew negotiations for a treaty of commercial reciprocity, and suggested this might be made desirable to the United States by ceding to them the Harbor of Pearl River for a naval station.

It soon appeared that the Hawaiians were not in favor of such a cession. I was myself not in favor of it. Many people had fears that if the United States has possession of Pearl Harbor, the independence of the nation would be jeopardized.

The previous action of the United States does not justify those fears, for that government has always desired to see the Hawaiian nation free and independent. When Kamehameha III. placed this country under the protection of the United States in 1852, to save us from the threatened attack of a French man-of-war, the United States returned the country to its rightful King as soon as the trouble was over.

From my knowledge of all free government, I know that the prosperity and independence of the Hawaiian Islands, depends on our showing to the world that we are a law abiding people and regard our Constitution and laws, which protect every man’s rights.

It is my belief that the Hawaiian people will never permit a violation of the Hawaiian Constitution and laws. If any reforms are needed, there is a lawful way to make them, and that way will always be followed.

We say to the world, as our neighbor the United States says, that we have always welcomed foreigners to our shores. Let them come, and bring with them money and skill to develop the resources of the country, here, as in the freest and strongest nation in the world, all men will be protected in their rights, under civilized law. Whoever says that this is not so, is in my opinion no friend of Hawaii or of Hawaiian independence.

A great deal has been said by a few persons in our community to the effect that the natives are antagonistic to the foreigners. This I deny, and I take this opportunity to say that no such feeling has or now exists; for the proof of which I state that during the discussion about ceding Pearl River to the United States, no violence or threat came from any one of the natives, save a fair criticism in regard to the action of the Ministers.2

1Hawaiian-American Supplementary Convention, December 6, 1884.

2Letter from Colonel David Kalakaua on the Pearl Harbor Matter, Honolulu Bulletin, December 17, 1873, p. 2.

Related Maps

Related Documents

The title of the following article, “Development of Pearl Harbor,” accurately describes its content. It was published in the Hawaiian Gazette in 1903.

Reefs and Shallows of Pearl Harbor Channels; Many Points that may be Dredged or Blasted Away Before Navigation Commences—Sharp Corners that Form Natural Protection

The channel leading into the Pearl Harbor lochs and recently dredged by the United States government has still many reefs and other obstructions to free navigation. One of these reefs is considered a natural protection rather than menace but it is generally accepted that others will be cleared away. In the lochs themselves are many projecting splits and unexpected reefs in the middle of natural channels that will probably be removed as soon as the lochs are opened up for general navigation.

The Principal Obstacles

The accompanying map1 shows the principal obstacles. In the main channel on the right hand or starboard side in entering, all that now remain of the many piles driven by the dredging company and of those that were in place before they started operations, are two dolphins, formed each of three baulks of heavy timber meeting at the apex. Other piles are removed but some are submerged close to the surface. Marking rods of three inch pipe were driven down. Some of these have been broken off by the vessels of the dredger and are a serious menace to entering boats. They lie on the starboard side of the channel on entering but no buoys have yet been placed to mark the entrance of the channel as with the bell and spar buoys in Honolulu harbor. The dolphins already mentioned are nearly half way up the channel and a yacht, tug or vessel not knowing the waters might easily attempt, coming from Honolulu to enter the channel inshore from the proposed entrance and strike the submerged piles. These dangers will be obviated later, when the entrance marks are placed.

Wrecked Dredger a Menace

The sunken dredger, which is marked by a buoy, which is however generally well to leeward of the wreck, is on the edge of the right channel and directly in the road of the old bearings of the Puuloa tower and the line where the Waianae range strikes the plain. These bearings are marked on the chart and will be generally used until the channel is finally buoyed. In ordinary weather the hull shows a brown patch on the water as it lies a scant fathom beneath the surface, but with the surf running free, it is indistinguishable and the buoy is small. Many moorings left by the dredgers are swinging loose in the channel. These are too small to hurt any but a small boat.

Following the channel in to the cross on the chart marked “small stake” an incoming vessel under steam or in tow is compelled to turn a sharp corner and skirting a hard coral reef three feet below the water, with some portions above at low tide. It is thought that this corner will be taken out.

A Natural Protection

The second corner also marked “small stake” and still more abrupt, is the one considered a natural protection as incoming vessels are forced to proceed slowly and, in the case of an enemy, they could be shelled to pieces by land batteries.

The next stake is on the port or left hand side of the channel and marks the extremity of the “shark pen” built in bygone days as a trap for unwary sharks who found themselves caught within its wall by an ebbing tide. This works and its reef foundation will probably be removed.

Next comes the spit on which the railroad wharf is built and which necessitates a sharp turn to the left. The spit can be easily dredged without blasting.

On the right hand side at the point marked 1–2 (fathom) there is a dangerous coral spit causing a turn to the left before entering the channel to the Middle and East lochs. This was staked by the Hawaii Yacht Club but Japanese sampans have either run down or carried away the stake by mooring.

West Loch is Navigable

The West loch is singularly clear from projecting spits, the water running deeply to the coral banks on either side, where it averages, for some two miles, nine feet for the edge shallows.

The water in the center channel off the shark pen and in that neighborhood, runs to an extreme depth of 138 feet.

Proceeding toward Ford’s Island, a rocky point, partly formed from the ruins of an old fish pond, projects off Waipio point, marked 1–2 (fathom) ‘stake H. Y. C.’ This stake has sunk or broken off close to the surface. This with the point last mentioned will, it is thought, be included in the straightening out plan.

Ford’s Island Dangerous

Rounding Ford’s Island on the seaward side, the course taken by the Iroquois in her late cruise, that vessel mooring for luncheon at a point off the flag on the Island marked U. S. N. on the chart, a shoal runs out to the center of the natural channel, the deep water being under the lee of the island. This shoal marked 1 (fathom) is charted but not otherwise signalized.

The eastward end of Ford’s Island runs out in a shoal of large area from which rise the rocky islets of Moku-nui and Moku-iki. Two stakes are set here by the Hawaii Yacht Club but by these there is a bare two fathoms and the larger boats often get a foot or two too close and stir the mud.

The East and Middle lochs contain much deep water but naturally shoal as they approach their ends where streams are constantly depositing alluvial banks. Off the Peninsula, particularly at its tip and on the leeward or western point, the bottom is but a foot or so below the surface. Where the water deepens between the spot marked 1 (fathom) and the shoal, runs a channel of three to four fathoms. The spot as marked rises abruptly and while charted as one fathom is covered by less than five feet of water. The deeper pleasure craft often pile up here and the yacht club has taken bearings and will stake the spot. They have already staked the extremity of the neighboring shoal.

Middle and East Lochs Shallow

The Middle loch contains but little navigable water for vessels of any draught. The East loch shoals rapidly towards the northern end, near Waianae but is deeper on the Eastern side. The natural channel on the western side of Ford’s Island, between it and the Waipio peninsula and across which the ferry between the Oahu plantation sugar wharves piles by cable, is navigable for deep draught vessels.

Four Miles of Inland Seas

The lochs extend inland some four miles from the mouth of the harbor whence it is one and a half miles to the bar of the newly dredged thirty-foot channel.

The Peninsula is settled with the summer homes of Honolulu folk and is the favorite resort of the yachting fraternity. Their principal club house is situated on the leeward side with a smaller erection at Puuloa near the shark pen. The naval property takes in a portion of Ford’s Island and the opposite shore as marked by the flags on the chart.2

1Not included here.

2Development of Pearl Harbor, Hawaiian Gazette, September 8, 1903, p. 2.

The following article was entitled “First Pearl Harbor Treaty” and was published with a "Map of Pearl Harbor" in the Related Maps below.

Grover Cleveland, President of the United States, and David Kalakaua, King of Hawaii, concluded the treaty which first placed Pearl Harbor within the control of the United States.

The proclamation setting forth the terms of the treaty is now in the archives of Hawaii and reads as follows:

Whereas, a Convention between the United States of America and the Kingdom of the Hawaiian Islands, for the purpose of definitely limiting the duration of the Convention concerning Commercial Reciprocity concluded between the same High Contracting Parties on the thirtieth day of January, 1875, was concluded and signed by their respective plenipotentiaries at the city of Washington, on the sixth day of December, in the year of our Lord, 1884, which Convention, as amended by the Senate of the United States and being in the English language, is word for word as follows:

Supplementary Convention to limit the duration of the Convention respecting Commercial reciprocity between the United States of America and the Hawaiian Kingdom, concluded January 30, 1875.

Whereas, a Convention was concluded between the United States of America, and His Majesty the King of the Hawaiian Islands, on the thirtieth day of January, 1875, concerning commercial reciprocity, which by the fifty-second article thereof, was to continue in force for seven years from the date after it was to come into operation, and further, until the expiration of twelve months after either of the High Contracting Parties should give notice to the other of its wish to terminate the same: and

Whereas, the High Contracting Parties consider that the increase and consolidation of their mutual commercial interests would be better promoted by the definite limitation of the duration of the said convention.

Therefore, the president of the United States of America, and His Majesty the King of the Hawaiian Islands, have appointed:

The President of the United States, Frederick J. Frelinghuyzen, Secretary of State; and

His Majesty the King of the Hawaiian Islands, Henry A. P. Carter accredited to the Government of the United States as His majesty’s Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary;

Who, having exchanged their respective powers, which were found sufficient and in due form, have agreed upon the following articles:

Article I

The High Contracting parties agree, that the time fixed for the duration of the said Convention, shall be definitely extended for a term of seven years from the date of the exchange of ratifications hereof, and further, until the expiration of twelve months after either of the High Contracting Parties shall give notice to the other of the wish to terminate the same, each of the High Contracting Parties being at livery to five such notice to the other at the end of the said term of seven years or at any time thereafter.

Article II

His Majesty the King of the Hawaiian Islands grants to the Government of the United States the exclusive right to enter the harbor of Pearl River, in the Island of Oahu, and to establish and maintain there a coaling and repair station for the use of vessels of the United States, and to that end the United States may improve the entrance to said harbor and do all other things needful to the purpose aforesaid.

Article III

The present convention shall be ratified and the ratification exchanged at Washington as soon as possible.

In witness whereof, the respective Plenipotentiaries and signed the present Convention in duplicated, and have hereunto affixed their respective seals.

Done at the City of Washington on the 6th day of December in the year of our Lord 1884.

Fredk. T. Frelinghuysen,
Henry A. P. Carter1

1First Pearl Harbor Treaty, Evening Bulletin, Section II—Atlantic Fleet Edition, July 16, 1908, p. 2.

This article is about Hawaii’s position in the Pacific and its strategic value to the US.

Look at Hawaii on the Map

Midway between Unalaska and the Society Islands, midway between Sitka and Samoa, midway between Port Townsend and the Fiji Islands, midway between San Francisco and the Carolines, midway between the Panama Canal and Hong Kong, and on the direct route from South America ports to Japan, the central location of these islands makes their commercial importance evident.

But vastly greater is their strategic value to the United States.

Captain Mahan says “Too much stress cannot be laid upon the immense disadvantage to us of any maritime enemy having a coaling station well within 2500 miles of every point of our coast line from Puget Sound to Mexico. Were there many others available, we might find it difficult to exclude from all. There is, however, but the once. Shut out from the Sandwich Islands as a coal base, an enemy is thrown back for supplies of fuel to distances of 3500 of 4000 miles—or between 7000 and 8000 going and coming—an impediment to sustained maritime operations well-nigh prohibitive. It is rarely that so important a factor in the attack or defense of a coast line—of a sea-frontier—is concentrated in a single position, and the circumstance renders it doubly imperative upon us to secure it if we righteously can.”

“This was written in 1893, and the final annexation of Hawaii shows that the lesson and warning conveyed in the above were minded at the right moment.”

“With the Sandwich Islands we have acquired Pearl Harbor, of which Admiral Walker said: ‘It should not be forgotten the Pearl Harbor offers, strategically and otherwise, the finest site for a naval and coaling station to be found in the whole Pacific.’ ”

Pearl Harbor Progress

1884 Treaty negotiated by President Grover Cleveland and King Kalakaua, giving the United States exclusive rights to Pearl Harbor.
1898  Annexation of Hawaii to the United States.
1908 Appropriation of $3,000,000 by Congress to straighten channel and establish Naval Station at Pearl Harbor.

Pearl Harbor Station Protection for America (By Hon. Jonah Kalanianaole, Delegate  to  Congress)

I simply cite some historical facts to show how conclusively and for how long a time the strategic value of Pearl Harbor and the Hawaiian Islands has been officially recognized by the Government of the United States.

Beginning in 1842, President Tyler gave notice to European nations that the United States would never consent to their occupying the Hawaiian Islands.

In 1851, when the French were threatening to occupy Hawaii, Daniel Webster, then Secretary of State, wrote: “I hope the French will not take possession of Hawaii; but if they do, they will be dislodged, if my advice is taken, if the whole power of the Government is required to do it.”

William L. Marcy, when Secretary of State, reiterated the declaration that Hawaii would not be permitted to fall into the hands of any European nation. Up to that time there was no menace of Hawaiian occupation by any nation other than European.

Almost a third of a century ago, when King Kalakaua was the reigning monarch of the Hawaiian Kingdom, the United States, by reciprocity treaty, obtained rights over the waters of Pearl Harbor. This was the first step toward carrying out the policy announced by President Tyler thirty-five years previously.

Coming down to the days of Blaine and McKinley, we find those statesmen repeating the declarations of their predecessors.

By the time that President McKinley reached the White House, it had become apparent that the danger of the occupation of Hawaii by a foreign power had been shifted from European nations to those of the Orient.

Finally, ten years ago, when the unexpected events of the Spanish-American war thrust a new situation upon this nation, it became apparent that it was necessary for the United States to acquire the sovereignty of the Hawaiian Islands, both for the protection of the Pacific coast and in order to make it possible to maintain any naval base in the Far East.

But although this Government annexed the Hawaiian Islands for the particular value of their strategic location, they permitted almost ten years to pass without turning a sod or laying one foundation stone toward the actual construction of a naval station at Pearl Harbor.

A magnificent site of over 600 acres of ground has been acquired for this purpose.

The 10 square miles of landlocked waters in Pearl Harbor could easily accommodate the combined fleets of this nation and of Great Britain, but that can never give shelter to a battle ship till docks are built and the channel approach is straightened.

The importance of Pearl Harbor as a naval and military base has been repeatedly urged by men able and experienced in military and naval science; among them Captain (now Admiral) A. T. Mahan, who pointed out with unanswerable arguments the commanding importance of Pearl Harbor as the key to the Pacific.

This Government for ten years neglected the safeguard of preparing a naval base in the mid-Pacific. Our relations with other nations are such to-day that it would be inexcusable neglect of the responsibility of Congress to the nation to postpone this work another year.

The development of Pearl Harbor is not a Hawaiian proposition; it is a national need. But as my nation gave over its sovereignty to this country ten years ago, we have a right to ask, and we do ask that adequate protection be provided for our islands, so that we could not be captured by a single hostile battle ship as could be done to-day.

Coast fortifications alone are not sufficient; there must be an operating base for war vessels as well as coast defenses, and the latter are useless without the former.

Hawaii should be defended for its own protection; but I repeat that it is far more important for the offensive and defensive plans of the nation as a whole.1

1Honolulu and Pearl Harbor, Vital Centers of America’s Power in Pacific Ocean, Hawaii Commands the Whole Pacific, Evening Bulletin, Section II—Atlantic Fleet Edition, July 16, 1908, p. 1–2.

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.

The move by businessmen—many the children of missionaries, and others foreigners who had taken up residency in the Hawaiian Kingdom—to develop sugar plantations led to the movement toward reciprocity. The sugar growers sought a way to compete with sugar growers in the southern United States, and through the Reciprocity Treaty which took effect on September 9, 1876, the Hawaii sugar growers were able to export their sugar and rice crops with relief from taxation on foreign imports. The treaty also set the foundation for American development of Pearl Harbor as a Pacific Base of military operations. In 1887, the re-negotiation of the treaty was forced upon King Kalakaua through the “Bayonet Constitution” [19].

In the article below, Hawaiian historian Samuel M. Kamakau questioned the move toward the kingdom relinquishing control of Puuloa (Pearl Harbor) to the United States.

About Ewa. Ewa and it’s [sic] many bays are surrounded by land on most sides. The entrance to the Harbor is at Puuloa. Its narrowest point is between Kapuaikaula and Kapakule. It is perhaps a little more or less than a furlong across. The rise (submerged hillock) outside of the entrance is Keaalii. There is a shallow place there, approximately 9 to 10 feet deep.

Here is a description: From Keaalii to the mound at the entrance of Puuloa harbor, there is a channel on the west, near Kapakule. Then [it runs] from Kapakule to Kepookala. From Kepookala one turns towards the estuary of Kaihuopalaai, and Kapapapuhi is on the west side. That is the branch of the estuary of Honouliuli. Amoe Haalelea is the chiefess, landlord of this section of the estuary, and the lesser landlords, who control the fishing boats.

From Keaalii and the channel to Kapakule, and to the east, to the tip of Mokuumeume, is the estuary channel of Komoawa. This branch of the estuary is now called the Halawa Branch. There are two titled landlords here, their highnesses Queen Emma and Ruth Keelikolani.

From Kepookala, along the sheltered western side of Mokuumeume, along the Halawa branch, and along the point of Paauau to Kalaehopu, Kupahu, and Halaulani; this branch of the estuary is called Waipio and Waiawa. The titled land lords of this section of the estuary are Malaea Ii and the relatives of Ruth Keelikolani. This is an expansive place, not filled with thousands of boats and more, from the point of Pipiloa to Mokuumeume, and from there to Halawa. Turning north are the lands along the sheltered bays of Manana, Waimano, Waiau, Waimalu, Kalauao, and Aiea. Waimalu is the land division to which Mokuumeume belongs.

What right does the government have in giving Puuloa and Ewa as payment for the Reciprocity Treaty? I know of no right that the government has.1

This is an editorial letter about Pearl Harbor and the treaty. The writer, like Kamakau, believes that the government does not own the waters in Pearl Harbor, and thus cannot convey the rights of use of the harbor to the US.

Dear Sir: Noticing lately several newspaper paragraphs in relation to the ceding of the water of Pearl River Lagoon to the United States, for a naval station, I should wish to remark that an impression appears to exist at the water of said Lagoon is Hawaiian Government property. But that is not the case; the only piece of water owned by the Government in that neighborhood joins Aiea, and you might almost cover it with a pocket handkerchief.

Being well acquainted with that neighborhood, I write this to inform those who are interested, and those who might wish to know to whom the water belongs inside the mouth of said Lagoon.

The mouth of the Lagoon and the water for a distance of about six miles in a north-westerly direction, being the North-west Lagoon, belongs to Honouliuli; adjoining that and including the central Lagoon, the water belongs mostly to Waipio.

The easterly Lagoon from its boundary with Waipio water, belongs to the Island of Mokuumeume, and extends to the opposite mainland in all directions (except Halawa on the south), so that the mainland water only extends the distance from the shore, that a man can wade so as not to be over his head.

On the Halawa side (south) the water belonging to the Island of Mokuumeume zigzags from the centre of the channel to close to the mainland and the island, until it joins the Waipio water on the west in the middle of that channel.

Therefore, this Government cannot lease what does not belong to it. If the United States wish to procure any part of the Lagoon, they can only do so by leasing or buying any land that the owners wish to dispose of.

The property that would be of most value to the United States, would be the Island of Mokuumeume, it containing about 380 acres, and has more water belonging to it than any other land in the lagoon except Honouliuli; and being an island would be better suited for their purposes than the mainland, supposing they did wish it for a naval station.

Any proposition coming from that Government to lease the island and its waters, would no doubt be entertained by those who have the management of the estate, and who no doubt, are waiting for an opportunity of leasing to them, and to none else.2

The article below is about development of Pearl Harbor as a naval base.

Our comparatively venerable and superlatively wise contemporaries are discussing the harbor in a manner that is, at least in part, rather idle. What is the use of complaining about the filling in that has been done on the harbor front at this time of day? If water is needed more than land, there are vast expanses of coral reef on almost every other side of the harbor that can be dug out as easily as the portion could have been which has been reclaimed for building ground.  Supposing the Government waited until it could afford the enormous expense of dredging out what it instead built up into dry land, where could the vast commerce anticipated find space for wharf and warehouse accommodation inside of the deep water line? The land is all occupied right down to the reef, with doubtless a high valuation put upon it by the many proprietors. Commerce cannot establish easy communications between sea and shore over the roofs of houses and flower and vegetable gardens. It would have to buy out all the real estate intervening between the sea and available business sites.

In view of these things, as well as of the fact that the filling in referred to has given a part of the entrance [illegible] the harbor, it would be hardly wise, if matters were put back to the conditions existing before that operation was begun, to decide upon digging out instead of dumping in.  By the time the harbor is dug out for deep sea commerce over to the prison embankment on the Ewa side and to the quarantine station opposite the town, the Government will need to take a good long rest for the replenishment of its resources. Indeed, before so much scooping out of coral reef is required by the fabulously large additional commerce anticipated from the Canadian and Panama steam and sailing traffic, it would be necessary to double the width of the harbor entrance and increase its depth by one half.

Moreover, after all is done that may be done for enlarging the capacity of the harbor of Honolulu, before accepting the stupendous alternative of digging out of Esplanade and buying all the real estate from the water front to Queen street, it would perhaps be worthwhile having a commission of engineers to report upon the cost of deepening the entrance to Pearl Harbor. Open out that beautiful and spacious sheet of deep water to commerce, and the fleets of all nations may be invited to come and find accommodation at the hands of “little Hawaii.” That would be taking commerce away from Honolulu. So it would, but it would be all in the country, and Honolulu will be rather crowded for comfort when it has secured all the business that its harbor can accommodate after all the presently feasible improvements are accomplished without counting the shoveling out into the ocean of the splendid tract of building ground added to the city front under the administration of Major Gulick.3

Two years later, an article in The Hawaiian Gazette entitled “Development of Pearl Harbor by U.S. Interests” and subtitled “The Disaster at Pagopago, Samoa” and “What the Samoan disaster may do for Pearl Harbor” continues to push for harbor development.

Among the points upon which interest will be quickened, will be that of foreign harbor improvements. This was shown even before the Nipsic canard, in the liberal appropriation of $500,000 made by congress for possible contingencies, and for improvements at the harbor of Pago-pago, ceded to the United States at Tutuila. Successive Administrations at Washington have somewhat languidly moved towards the improvement of our Pearl Harbor, of which they have the exclusive privilege for navy purposes. This concession remains useless to the United States until they deepen the channel through the soft coral of the outer bar, so as to admit large ships. Lieut. Wilson of the Vandalia, with his assistants, made a minute and exhaustive survey of both the harbor and bar during 1887–8. We believe the cost of opening the channel will be much less than one million dollars. It is reported that the losses of the U.S. Navy at Apia will foot up over two millions, showing how small, in proportion to possible losses, is the probable cost of needed improvement to the harbor.

With the opening of the bar at Puuloa, the Pacific squadron of the American navy will manifestly be in a greatly strengthened position. It will be in the exclusive possession of the only first-class harbor in the mid Pacific, and indeed in all respects, one of the very best harbors in the world. No destructive waves like those at Apia can possibly traverse the long, river-like channels above Puuloa, even if they could pass in full force over the barrier reef. The inner reaches of the harbor are safe against even the heaviest earthquake waves, or of anything short of a Krakatoa convulsion, such as drove the sea five miles inland. We never have hurricanes in this region of the pacific; but even in the fiercest cyclones, vessels in the Ewa lagoons would have their anchors in stiff mud, the best of holding ground. If driven ashore they would bring up on mud banks from which they could be easily and safely removed.

The defense of Pearl Harbor would seem to be a matter of great simplicity. The only approach for an enemy by water is up a straight channel, directly commanded by the end of the Waipio peninsula, upon which search lights and dynamite guns would form an adequate protection. So large and secure a harbor for purposes of supply and refitting, and in such a choice geographical position, must contribute materially to the efficiency of the American navy. In view of the gain in this respect, the expenditure, even of millions, must be regarded as trifling. It seems reasonable, in view of the recent events, to look for an early opening of Puuloa bar by the United States Government.4

1Samuel M. Kamakau, “Huikau, Pohihihi ke Kuikahi Panai Like me ka uku Kaulele o Puuloa,” Hawaii Ponoi, August 20, 1876, p. 3.

2Pearl River and the Treaty, Daily Honolulu Press, May 6, 1886, p. 3.

3“Development of Pearl Harbor as a Base,” Daily Bulletin, October 28, 1886, p. 2.

4“Development of Pearl Harbor by U.S. Interests (the Disaster at Pagopago, Samoa),” Hawaiian Gazette, April 16, 1889, p. 2.

An article about the assessed value of lands owned by the Oahu Railway & Land Company was entitled “Three Million Dollar Assessment for Pearl Harbor Lands” and subtitled “How tax assessor Holt arrived at his figures in Oahu railway case.”

The tax appeal of the Oahu Railway and Land Company was argued and submitted by Assessor Holt regarding his method of arriving at the

$3,000,000 assessment of the lands of the company also Ewa Plantation assessments. The assessor’s statement of the valuations and apportionments of taxes was as follows:

The value of the lands held by the Ewa Plantation Company are assessed as follows:

6790 acres cane land $120… $815,800
960 acres pasture $ 5… $ 4,830
110 acres building sites $100… $ 11,000

The assessments of the several interests are as follows:

Campbell Est., lessor $171,520
O. R. & L. Co. lessee 300,000
Ewa Plan., sub lessee 359,110

The total value of the Honouliuli lands held under lease by the Oahu Railway & Land Company containing about 40,640 acres is $1,241,880.

The proportion of the value of the lands subleased to Ewa Plantation Co. is equivalent to 67 per cent of the whole.

The Oahu Railway & Land Company pays an annual rental, according to their return of $34,000 to the Campbell Estate for the above lands.

The proportion that Ewa has to pay according to the terms of its lease is therefore $22,780. Deducting this sum from the rentals it receives from Ewa of $76,273.19 leaves a net rental of $53,473.91.

Allowing 25 per cent depreciation in the out-put of sugar crop which will naturally decrease the rentals due from Ewa, say, for the coming eight years, leave a clear net gain to the Oahu Railway & Land Co. of $40,000, which figured on the eight year’s rental basis is equivalent to an assessment of $320,000. I consider that the assessment of $3,000,000 for the Oahu Railway & Land Company’s holding is a just one.

The appeal was argued by D. L. Withington for the railway company and M. F. Prosser for the assessor. Last year an appeal of a much similar kind was taken, and the court denied it. It is contended that there are legal issues not yet determined, and these have been submitted for decision. The tax appealed from is $3,000.1

1“Three Million Dollar Assessment for Pearl Harbor Lands,” Hawaiian Star, November 8, 1905, p. 1 & 5.

This article is about the US government’s acquisition of Puuloa Fort Site, which occurred in 1904.

United States District Attorney Breckons paid out nearly $80,000 yesterday to the owners of Puuloa, Pearl Harbor property. Titles passed from the Dowsett Estate which received over $65,000, and the remainder was distributed among Waterhouse, Lovekin, and three others.

By June next the United States will have spent about $300,000 in acquiring property on which to build its fortifications at Pearl Harbor, Kaimuki and Waikiki Beach. The Kaimuki property has already been acquired.

Title to the Hobron property at Waikiki Beach will probably pass this week. The Schaefer title has not passed. No option, as far as Mr. Breckons is away, has been obtained on the Afong property.

While individual owners profit by the wholesale purchases of the War Department, the Territorial treasury suffers to some extent. Taking the whole property at an assessed value of $250,000, the territory loses in taxes about $2,500 per year.

On the other hand it is said that the property surrounding the War Departments reservations will increase in value, thereby reducing a possible loss to the Territorial treasury.1

1“Puuloa Fort Site Now Belongs to Government,” Hawaiian Gazette, December 23, 1904, p. 7.