Old Waikiki memory is hard to corroborate


POSTED: Thursday, November 13, 2008

Question: I have a clear childhood memory of playing on a cannon on an open terrace or lanai at the home of Prince Kuhio on the beach at Waikiki. Does anyone else remember the cannon or know what happened to it?

Answer: Any readers with memories of Waikiki that go back to the early 1900s?

We checked the State Archives, but it did not have any photographs showing or documents referring to such a cannon at Prince Kuhio's home, Pualeilani (”;flower from the wreath of heaven”;).

However, Martha Hoverson, a librarian with Hawaii State Library's Hawaii Documents Center, was able to find mention of a cannon wheel in a biography of Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole, “;The Empty Throne,”; written by Lori Kamae (published by Topgallant Pub. Co. in 1980).

Hoverson said that Kamae, describing the two-year honeymoon trip abroad that Kuhio and his wife, Princess Elizabeth Kahanu, took from 1899 to 1901, wrote, “;Among their mementos from their extensive trip, was a rimless wheel from a Boer cannon. This souvenir, which provided many beautiful and lasting memories, was mounted on the mauka (mountain side) lanai of their home, Pualeilani.”;

Pualeilani originally was the name of the home of Queen Kapiolani.

According to Kamae's book, that home was razed in 1918, and “;the Kalanianaoles temporarily lived in Queen Liliuokalani's Waikiki home, Kealohilani, until it too was razed the following year. On this new site, the new Pualeilani was constructed. ... There was a little bungalow on the property built out over the water. ... The small dwelling was colorfully decorated with curios and mementos gathered from around the world.”;

After Prince Kuhio died at Pualeilani on Jan. 7, 1922, the property was given to the city.

Kuhio Beach Park, between Moana Hotel and the Kapahulu Groin, was officially dedicated in 1940.

In our own research, we found a photograph of “;a salute cannon”; at the old Seaside Hotel in Waikiki in the book “;The Saga of the Sandwich Islands,”; by Edward B. Scott.

Published in 1968, the book is “;a complete documentation of Honolulu's and Oahu's development over 175 years,”; featuring photos of old Hawaii.

The book shows a 1913 photo of the old Seaside Hotel, describing “;a cluttered lanai with salute cannon guarding empty rattan chairs and potted plants.”;

It says the hotel, “;with its bath houses and cottages, was leveled in the mid-1920s to make way for the new Royal Hawaiian Hotel.”;

Q: We attended the 1 p.m. performance last Sunday of Cirque du Soleil, “;Saltimbanco,”; and were wondering why the twin sisters did not perform on the trapeze. Can you find out?

A: With a grueling nine-show-a-week schedule, the sisters sat out that performance.

“;It's just amazing to see what they're able to do, but it's just a little too hard on them to do nine full shows a week,”; a spokeswoman said.

So the sisters sit out one performance, usually one on Sundays.

With other performers rotating in, audiences “;aren't missing anything per se,”; the spokeswoman said.