[ PHOTO CHALLENGE ]
Mystery view? Nuuanu Avenue, in 1952
Tim Fern of Kaneohe sought help figuring out the location and date of this tree-lined street photographed by his late father. His guess was that it was a street somewhere in Hawaii, around 1950.
"My brother and I are in disagreement as to its true date and location. Maybe your readers might enjoy the challenge and help us out?"
We posed the question on Dec. 26 and many readers responded with suggestions.
The consensus seems to be that it is a view of Nuuanu Avenue, looking mauka from the Vineyard Street intersection.
Bishop Museum historian DeSoto Brown also dated it to 1952. "What's the evidence? First of all, the cars have 1952 license plates, which can be identified because they had a distinctive appearance for that year only. (This was the last year that Hawaii issued license plates that were valid for only one year.)"
He said the photo could also be at the Fort Street intersection, but he's betting on Nuuanu -- "because the lower section still looks somewhat like this today, with large monkeypod trees."
Melvin Okita further noted that the left corner of the area pictured is now part of Foster Botanical Garden; the right side is Queen Emma Gardens and Harris United Methodist Church.
Other readers also focused very closely on the cars. "The car in the center of the photo is a Chevy that appears to still have the ration sticker on it for gas during WWII," Anne Bolos wrote. "Behind the Chevy car is a 1951 Nash Rambler. I'm dating the photo based on the 1951 Nash Rambler, because that is the newest car in the photo for that time frame. My mother remembers that car because that was the first car she and my father owned together and the same car she learned how to drive in."
A few others took a magnifying glass to the photo to read the sign halfway down the street as saying "Hisago" -- most likely the Hisago Delicatessen, which was located on Nuuanu at that time.
Another opinion, though, comes from Albert Kamaka'ola, who places the location as Nuuanu and Kukui streets, sometime before the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.
Kamaka'ola placed the cars in the late '30s, and notes that he used to wait at that corner for his transport to Mokapu Naval Base. "I worked the swing shift there for three years, 3 to 11 p.m."
Do you have your own mystery photo? Send it to "Photo Challenge," Honolulu Star-Bulletin Features section, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, Honolulu 96813. Or e-mail a jpeg image to firstname.lastname@example.org