Readers help find Tamura Hospital
The private hospital was built before 1940 in what was Ota Camp
THANKS to our readers, we've gotten more information about Tamura Hospital.
Someone had asked if we knew where the hospital was located where his brother was born in 1944, and if it still existed (Kokua Line, Nov. 12).
Laura Gerwitz, reference librarian at Mamiya Medical Heritage Center, uncovered this tidbit: "Returning to the islands in 1923, Dr. (Thomas Henry) Tamura settled at Honokaa, Hawaii, where he was in practice for seven years. In 1930, he came to Oahu and located at Waipahu, where he operated his own hospital at Waikele."
But that was all that could be found.
Two people -- a former Waipahu resident now living in Oregon and a 78-year-old woman whose childhood home was on the site of St. Joseph Church on Farrington Highway -- did not want to be identified, but told us they remember the hospital. That was back when Waipahu was just starting to develop, before many of the roads even had names, the former resident told us.
He remembered it was on what is now known as Pahu Street.
Tamura's was a private hospital, operating out of residential-type buildings near St. Joseph Church, the latter recalled.
Tamura's was not a plantation hospital. "The plantation had its own hospital," she said. "That's why most (Waipahu) people don't remember" Tamura Hospital.
She and a third caller both said they believed the hospital was on what is now Nawaakoa Street.
DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Dorothy Kikuchi stands in front of the building that was once the Tamura Hospital at 94-126 Pahu St., off Farrington Highway in Waipahu. CLICK FOR LARGE
We hit the jackpot when Dorothy Kikuchi called.
She co-owns the former hospital property, at 94-126 Pahu St., adjacent to St. Joseph Church and its school, and just makai of Farrington Highway. Pahu Street connects to Nawaakoa Street.
She's lived next door to the former hospital for 51 years, after marrying her late husband, Shoji Kikuchi, and moving into his family home.
"When I came here in 1955, Dr. Tamura was already retired," the 87-year-old Kikuchi said. By then, he had converted the hospital into rental apartments and lived on the opposite side of the property from the Kikuchis.
Kikuchi said the hospital was divided into three units: The front housed his office, the middle section the actual hospital and the back unit was the maternity ward.
Little has changed since the modest, plantation-style buildings were built sometime before 1940 in the neighborhood once known as Ota Camp.
Kikuchi remembers her husband telling her he used to hear "a lot of noise" coming from the maternity ward.
"A lot of people say, 'I was born here,'" she said, pointing to the back building.
Shoji Kikuchi and the doctor were "good friends" who played cards regularly.
One day, Tamura asked if Shoji wanted to buy the property, because he was "moving back to the mainland" to be with his children, Kikuchi said.
The Kikuchis purchased the property in 1958.
The former hospital, a little-known piece of Waipahu's history, continues to be used for rental housing.
Got a question or complaint?
Call 529-4773, fax 529-4750, or write to Kokua Line, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu 96813. As many as possible will be answered. E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
. See also: Useful phone numbers