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Monday, November 20, 2017


The 15 Craigside holoholo trips around Oahu on Sunday afternoons are usually to sites frequented by tourists.  Yesterday we went where few of them go:  Kapolei, located 24 miles from Waikiki.

Certainly doesn't look that far, for Diamond Head is even further away than Waikiki, but that whitish line to the bottom of this photo is the Hawaii Rail Transit line at Kapolei:

Kapolei City covers 4 square miles of James Campbell lands, which were in part used for sugar and pineapple, where this very tiny block of the total Ewa purchase in 1890 is now known as the Second City of Oahu.  Named after Pu'uokapolei, an inconspicuous volcanic cinder cone located at the eastern corner of Kapolei Regional Park, as far back as the 13th century, it served as a place of governance.  The Bishop Museum considers this location to be the most sacred and important place in the ahupua'a of Honoluliuli (where was located the largest and longest-used internment camp during World War II, and has gained National Monument Status):

The largest heiau (Hawaiian burial ground) was found here.  However, how times have changed, for in 1920 the rocks from this graveyard were crushed and used as the foundation for Farrington Highway, as well as in irrigation ditches of sugar cane fields.

The Kapolei master plan was first drafted in 1955, and a decade ago had 800 companies and entities providing 25,000 jobs.  The 2010 census showed a population of 15,186 people.  Spellings' Best Places reports Kapolei has a median income of $70,129, compared to the national average of $42,350.  Home ownership rate is 70%.  A few months ago, a 15 Craigside outing took us to Ka Makana Ali'i, a mall with a hundred stores that opened in 2016.  

Image result for the bus logo, honoluluHow's this for stupid planning?  The Kapolei Station terminal of the mass transit system sits about a mile or so away.  Same for the UH's West Oahu campus.  Further, you can't directly take The Bus from Waikiki or Ala Moana Shopping Center to this major shopping site.  The City and County of Honolulu should make this mall the bus transfer center, and see if it is not too late to extend the transit line to this mall.

The University of Hawaii is in the process of expanding the West Oahu campus, which first opened five years ago.  It was eerie, but some of us walked through much of the campus and saw no one.  Not one student, not one employee.  The enrollment is around 3,000 and the average age is a very high 27.  If that sign is over land owned by the university, there will be a lot of room to grow, for the existing buildings now must be almost half a mile away:

The translation is Moving Forward Together.  Below, our guide Tony, Lily and Pat:

Across the parking lot is the new Tokai International University:

James Campbell's mark is all over Kapolei, including the library above.  
  • Born in Ireland in 1826, at the age of 15, was on a whaling vessel, which sunk, resulting in his clinging to debris until he floated to a nearby Tuamotu Island in the Pacific.
  • Captured by natives, was spared only because he talked the chief into using his talents.  Remember, he was still 15.  He escaped to Tahiti, where he lived for several years.
  • Joined another whaling crew at 24 and came to Lahaina, Maui.
  • Ten years later, he got into sugar processing, made a fortune, and bought lands on Maui,Oahu and the Big Island.
  • At the age of 51, married 19-year old Abigail Bright of a Hawaiian aristocratic family.
  • They had eight children, and of the four surviving daughters,  Abigail (same name as mother), married Prince David Kawananakoa (right), and their three children became heirs to the throne of the Kingdom of Hawaii as the House of Kawananakoa.
  • In 1890 he was derided for purchasing what was termed useless land:  41,000 acres in Ewa, where he found water and made even greater profits in sugar and agriculture, from where derived Kapolei.
  • He and his wife were loyal to Queen Liliuokalani when she was overthrown in 1893.
  • Three years later he was kidnapped in San Francisco and almost did not survive.
  • Four years after that in 1900, he passed away at the age of 74, leaving a $3 million trust (depending how you do the calculation, a sum of $3 million then is worth between $74 million and $2.7 billion today).
  • This trust dissolved in 2007, but was kept largely intact by his 176 beneficiaries.
  • Campbell High School in this region is named after him.
  • The 91 year old Abigail Kawananakoa currently involved in a legal battle is a descendant from the House of Kawananakoa
Interestingly enough, James Campbell is buried right next to 15 Craigside:


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