Back in the Day: June 28, 1952


POSTED: Sunday, June 28, 2009

”;Back in the Day,”; appearing every Sunday, takes a look at articles that ran on this date in history in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Hawaii's oldest continuously published daily newspaper. The items appear verbatim, so don't blame us today for yesteryear's bad grammar.

Sacrifices to Pele pay off for 'Uncle George' Lycurgus

Kilauea's last eruption was in 1934.

Now, almost 18 years later, “;Uncle George”; Lycurgus' “;sacrifices”; to Pele, goddess of fire, have paid off.

Pele has come back. For a while, anyhow.

During the last eruption in September, 1934, Mr. Lycurgus, owner of the Volcano House, told his guests that Pele had returned to her Kilauea home to stay.

Just to make sure she didn't whiz off to some other old volcano, Mr. Lycurgus made sacrifices each week to the Hawaiian Fire Goddess.

Hawaiians used to take ohelo berries or tapa or poi or sweet potatoes.

Not so Mr. Lycurgus.

Realizing that even goddesses may like the modern touch, he made his weekly sacrifices a bottle of gin.

The volcano erupted on September 6, 1934. Lava flowed and covered the floor of Halemaumau pit until October 8 when the flow ceased.

A sharp earthquake preceded the burst of lava from a 600 foot crack half way up the west wall of Halemaumau. It cascaded 500 feet to the blackened flow below.

The flow subsided several hours later, but fountains on the floor of the pit played with increasing intensity, with some spurts reaching as high as 250 feet.

The steady outpouring of lava during the four weeks altered the floor of Halemaumau enormously, and added about 100 feet to the depth of new

material in the crater.

As the fountains spurt up their lava, cones are built up at the foot.

At one or two fountains, streams of lava were flung 100 to 150 feet above the level of the lava lake in the pit with accompanying explosions like cannon fire.