1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Honolulu

HONOLULU, a city, port of entry, and the capital of Hawaii, situated in the “city and county of Honolulu,” on the S. coast of the island of Oahu, at the mouth of Nuuanu Valley, 2100 m. S.W. of San Francisco. Pop. (1890) 22,907; (1900) 39,306, of whom 24,746 were males, 14,560 were females; about 10,000 were Hawaiians, 15,000 Asiatics, and 5000 Portuguese; (1910) 52,183. Honolulu is served by the Oahu railway, by electric lines to the principal suburbs, and by steamship lines to San Francisco, Seattle, Vancouver, Manila, Salina Cruz (Mexico), Victoria, Sydney, and Chinese and Japanese ports. The business section and the older residence quarters occupy low ground, but many of the newer residences are built on the sides of neighbouring hills and mountains, of which there are several from 500 to 2000 ft. in height. The Punch Bowl (behind the city), a hill rising about 500 ft. above the sea, Diamond Head, a crater about 760 ft. in height, 4 m. to the S.E., and the Nuuanu Pali, a lofty and picturesque precipice 6 m. up the valley, are especially known for their commanding views. In front of the city is the small harbour, well protected from all winds except those from the S.; in and after 1892 the Hawaiian government deepened its entrance from 21 ft. to 30 ft. Six miles to the W. is the much more spacious Pearl Harbor (a U.S. Naval Station), the bar at the entrance of which was removed (1903) by the U.S. government. Pearl Harbor and the harbour of Honolulu are the only safe ports in the archipelago. The streets of Honolulu are wide, and are macadamized with crushed or broken lava. The business houses are mostly of brick or stone, and range from two to six storeys in height. About most of the residences there are many tropical trees, flowering shrubs and plants. Wood is the most common material of which the residences are built; a large portion of these residences are one-storey cottages; broad verandahs are common; and of the more pretentious residences the lanai, a semi-outdoor drawing-room with conservatories adjoining, is a notable feature. Throughout the city there is a marked absence of poverty and squalor. There are good hotels in the city and its suburbs. The government buildings are extensive and have a pleasing appearance; that of the executive, in a beautiful park, was formerly the royal palace and still contains many relics of royalty. Facing the judiciary building is an heroic statue in bronze of Kamehameha the Great. About 2 m. W. of the business centre of the city is the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, a fine stone building on a commanding site, and containing a large collection of Hawaiian and Polynesian relics and curios, especially Hawaiian feather-work, and notable collections of fish and of Hawaiian land shells and birds. Four miles S.E. of the business centre, at the foot of Diamond Head, is Waikiki sea-beach, noted for its surf-riding, boating and bathing, and Kapiolani Park, a pleasure resort, near which is a famous aquarium of tropical fishes. Honolulu has other parks, a fine Botanical Garden, created by the Bureau of Agriculture, several public squares, several hospitals, a maternity home, the Lunalilo Home for aged Hawaiians, an asylum for the insane, several schools of high rank both public and private—notably Oahu College on the E. edge of the city, first founded as a school for the children of missionaries in 1841; the Honolulu High School, founded in 1833 as the Oahu Charity School, to teach English to the half whites; the Royal School, which was founded in 1840 for the sons of chiefs; and the Normal School, housed in what was in 1906 the most expensive building on the island of Oahu—a library containing about 14,000 volumes and the collections of the Hawaiian Historical Society, a number of benevolent, literary, social and political societies, and an art league, and is the see of both an Anglican and a Roman Catholic bishop. In 1907 the Pacific Scientific Institution for the advancement of scientific knowledge of the Pacific, its islands and their people, was established here. Among the clubs of the city are the Pacific Club, founded in 1853 as the British Club; the Scottish Thistle Club (1891), of which Robert Louis Stevenson was a member; the Hawaii Yacht Club, and the Polo, Country and University Clubs. There are various journals and periodicals, five languages being represented. The chief industries are the manufacture of machinery (especially machinery for sugar-refineries) and carriages, rice-milling and ship-building. Honolulu’s total exports for the fiscal year 1908 were valued at $42,238,455, and its imports at $19,985,724. There is a privately owned electric street car service in the city. The water-works and electric-lighting plant are owned and operated by the Territorial government, and to the plentiful water-supply is partly due the luxuriant vegetation of the city. Honolulu’s safe harbour, discovered in 1794, made it a place of resort for vessels (especially whalers) and traders from the beginning of the 19th century. Kamehameha I. (the Great) lived here from 1803 until 1811. In 1816 was built a fort which stood until 1857. In 1820 the city became the principal residence of the sovereign and soon afterwards of foreign consuls, and thus practically the seat of government. In 1907 an act was passed by which the former county of Oahu, including the island of Oahu and the small islands adjacent, was made a municipal corporation under the name of the “city and county of Honolulu”; this act came into effect on the 1st of January 1909.