used to be

Remember your favorite kid-time stomping grounds? Are they still there?

By June Watanabe

You're driving down the street and it hits you: That saimin stand you and your friends used to hang out at after school is gone.

The neighborhood drug store, the old movie theater, the favorite department store, all gone. Let's not even mention Queen's Surf, the Alexander Young Building and the Dole pineapple water tower. (Read on for a news bulletin on the tower.)

What's this town coming to?

When you start musing like this, ("Why, I remember when...") it's a sure sign of aging. Can you imagine the stories really old-timers can tell when they start reminiscing, i.e., duck ponds in Waikiki, a zoo in Kaimuki, a hotel in Haleiwa? (More on this later.)

THEN: Chunky's, across from old Honolulu Stadium and once the
hotspot of Honolulu cruising life, NOW: is now an empty lot

But let's put this in perspective. Honolulu is a relatively young town, building-wise. We're not talking the Coliseum or Great Wall of China here. Discounting structures such as heiau or rock walls built by early Hawaiians, old Honolulu is relatively young. The Mission Houses Museum is home to the oldest frame house in the islands, which was built in 1821.

With that all said, there are landmarks - neighborhood or island-wide, man-made or nature's own - that kamaainas count on as longtime directional points or links to a gentler past.

Rounding Waimea Bay, the St. Peter & Paul Mission-Haleiwa bell tower stands tall. The lone smokestack of Waialua Sugar Co. continues to serve as a beacon for fisherman as it has for nearly a century. (The sugar plantation will close this fall, but the stack is expected to remain).

The Aloha Tower, once the island's tallest structure, is still on the waterfront, now all spiffed up as part of a new shopping center-restaurant complex.

THEN: Kaiser Hospital, above, became part of Honolulu's skyline in
the 1950s. NOW:The Hawaii Prince Hotel sits on Kaiser's old site.

And, bulletin! This just in. Plans are to restore the 60-ton, 62-foot-long Dole pineapple tank (built 1928; knocked down 1993), according to Roger Moss, director of development for Horizons-Pacific Rim, which is the master developer for redevelopment of the old Dole Cannery.

Horizons is awaiting city approval for the estimated $1 million project. Pieces of the pineapple have been stored at the cannery. If all goes well, the huge metal pineapple - faithfully restored to its original condition - should be up again on its old site next year, Moss said.

Still, it's not often that resurrections like this happen. In fact, it's remarkable how once-familiar places have disappeared just in recent years.

THEN: The Alapai bus barn, above, was replaced by
NOW:the new main Honolulu Police Station.

The disappearance of some is a social commentary of sorts. Our list, for example, includes two former drive-in theaters, which, like thousands of others that once dotted the American landscape, went the way of ducktails and crinolines.

We've tried to remember what was where before that went there, but it's amazing how fast the mind can forget.

Here's where you, dear readers, come in. Share with us your recollections of then and now (old photos, too, if you've got them) and we'll continue to piece together a picture of a changing Honolulu. Here are some examples, in no particular order, in just the past few years to start you thinking:


KC Drive-In ... Waikiki Landmark (Kalakaua and McCully)

Vacant buildings ... Willows Restaurant (Hausten Street)

Kanraku Bindery/Hawaii Hochi warehouse ... Kanraku Teahouse (Kohou Street)

Ala Moana Park extension/Kewalo Basin ... McWayne Marine Supply, Ships Galley, UH dolphin research project

City housing/commercial building ... Wong Building/Cebu Pool Hall (Until demolished in 1992, 87-year-old building was oldest wooden structure in Chinatown

HPD headquarters ... Old city bus terminal (Alapai and Beretania)

Stalled Pawaa housing project ... Former HPD headquarters, first Sears store (Beretania and Kalakaua)

Oahu Educational Employees FCU ... Toyo Theater (College Walk)

Empty lot (bank to be) ... Chunky's Drive-In (King and Isenberg)

First Hawaiian Tower ... Kress (Fort Street Mall)

Symphony Park development ... Kapiolani Bowl (Ward and Kapiolani)

Sports Authority/former Marshall's ... GEM's (Ward Avenue)

Weekend farmer's market ... 404 Piikoi building of small shops

Gloria Garden Chapel for Japanese weddings ... Mac's Market (Monsarrat Avenue)

CPB building ... King's Garden restaurant (Waialae and 10th Avenue)

Convention Center ... Aloha Motors (Kapiolani and Kalakaua)

Hawaii Prince Hotel ... Kaiser Hospital (Ala Wai Boat Harbor/Ala Moana)

McCully Shopping Center ... Used car lot (McCully and Kapiolani)

Genki Sushi ... Old Love's Bakery (Kapahulu Avenue)

3660 Waialae Building ... Kaimuki Theater

Future site of Jehovah's Witnesses meeting hall ... The Ranch House/Metro/Rockchild's restaurants

Kakaako Waterfront Park ... City landfill

Subdivision ... Waialae Drive-In

Future campus of Le Jardin Academy ... Kailua Drive-In

Old places, new places

Share with us your recollections of then and now (old photos, too, if you've got them) and we'll continue to piece together a picture of a changing Honolulu. Tell us what was there, what is now there and your memories of the place. If you send a photo, explain what it shows.

Don't forget to give us your name and daytime phone number.

Send to:
Where Chunky's Used to Be

By mail:
Honolulu Star-Bulletin
P.O. Box 3080
Honolulu, HI 96802

By FAX: 523-8509

By email:

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