Back in time


POSTED: Sunday, January 25, 2009

Ahhh ... the days of yore. A kinder, gentler time. I often wax moody and philosophical about how it was back in “;the good ol' days”; of Honolulu. Well, at least they always seemed “;good.”;




”;Historic Photos of Honolulu”;

        Text and captions by Clifford Kapono

Turner Publishing





This collection of photographs is a chronology of our fine city through the years, with most of the pictures culled from the Hawaii State Archives. They are accompanied by excellent captions, which provide great background as well as modest commentary on the scene depicted.

There are four parts to this photographic journey in time; 1850 to 1899, 1900 to 1919, 1920 to 1940 and 1941 to 1970.

The early photographs show a Honolulu devoid of tall buildings (well, almost any development, really). It's wild to see Waikiki as it really was - a swamp. Horse-drawn carriages creaked down dirt paths in downtown. Honolulu Harbor was home to schooners.

;As time went by, things began to change. The advent of modernization is evident as Hawaii became a territory, and downtown began to grow as the financial center of Hawaii. Carriages made way for gas-driven vehicles. The streets bristled with power lines.

Eventually, tourism swept Honolulu as people worldwide discovered Hawaii and found it to be an exotic figment of their hopes and dreams. This, coupled with World War II, focused attention on the city.

There's a certain optimism to the book. We can see Honolulu developing into the thriving metropolis that it is today through the ambition and hope-driven desires of its residents. But it's really up to viewers to come to their own conclusions based on the scenes in the pictures.

I found it fun to see what the streets we ply every day looked like 60 or 80 years ago. This is a great collection of photographs, reproduced well. Definitely good fodder for the historic bookshelf.