Advertisement - Click to support our sponsors.

Monday, April 17, 2000



Press release photo
A locomotive sits on the lawn in front of the main office of the
Ewa Plantation Co. More than 30 freight cars, a "merci" car
(box car with sliding doors) and two passenger coach
cars await refurbishing.

Vision team hopes to
connect Ewa residents
to area’s history

A plantation manager's mansion
and a train platform might
be restored


By Leila Fujimori


Sixty years ago, trains carried freight and passengers from Honolulu to Ewa. Now, some Ewa residents hope those same trains will bring back some of their past.

Ewa resident Tom Berg envisions restoring the train station platform at the site of the former Oahu Railway & Land Co. train yard. A gazebo to hold outdoor concerts and a few refurbished box cars could create an attraction for both residents and tourists, he said.

Half a mile away on Renton Road, an elegant plantation manager's mansion sits on 3 acres owned by the city. Although the paint is peeling, it retains some of the grandeur of a bygone era with its brass chandeliers, butler's pantry and grand staircase. Rodolpho Ramos, who worked for Ewa Plantation, says it could be preserved for use as a community center by area seniors and youths.

Ramos and Berg, members of the Ewa-Kapolei-Makakilo Vision Team, presented their ideas to preserve the historical aspects of their community during a team meeting recently.

In the visioning process, volunteers develop ideas for their community. The city then provides $2 million annually for each team's projects.


Lance Arakawa, executive director of the Ewa Historical Preservation Society, supports converting the manager's mansion into a community center. Already, his organization is working to restore the house, built in 1925, with help from volunteers and those doing mandatory community service.

It could continue to house programs to train people to return to the work force and community service, he said.

"It's really worth saving to preserve the past -- to show our kids what went on with plantation life," Arakawa said.

"A lot of the major decisions were made in this house," he said. "The sugar planters union negotiated a lot of their union contracts. A lot of the future decisions of the Ewa Plains were made here."

On the makai side of the mansion, train tracks lead to the train yard, now run by the Hawaiian Railway Society. Ramos said that a refurbished train car or other railway equipment could be placed on the mansion property to add to its historical character. That's fine with the railway society's administrator, Joy Bowles. She said more than 30 freight cars, a "merci" car (box car with sliding doors) and two passenger coach cars await refurbishing. "They're all falling apart," Bowles said, but the organization does not have the manpower to restore them.

The society, however, might have a problem with a proposed bandstand, an idea that has just been tossed around, Bowles said.

"We will look into the proposals from the Ewa community, but we have to be very careful of our historical and nonprofit status," she said. Equipment must be refurbished historically, and a bandstand might not fit the original purpose.

Although the Oahu Rail trains never carried sugar cane, they brought raw sugar to the docks, Bowles said. Ewa Plantation had its own railway, with its own tracks.

Seven miles of the original 100 miles of track were restored from Ewa to Kahe Beach Park, just beyond Ko Olina Beach Resort. The society runs a train for passengers to enjoy a nostalgic trip across the Ewa Plain every Sunday.

Vision teams from Waipahu, Waianae and Aiea "all have the same concept: to connect to different communities with the passenger train," Ramos said. And to connect to the past.


Roadwork planned this week throughout Oahu:


Ewa Beach
Fort Weaver Road from Farrington Highway to Hanakahi Street; and Farrington Highway from Piliokoe Bridge to Kahe Power Plant in the vicinity of Tracks Beach Park.

Manuaihue Street and Place; Manuliilii Place; and Heleuma, Okokomo and Okohola streets.

Hakalina Road from Pahihi to Puhawai roads.


Vicinity of Kunia Interchange to Waikele Stream Bridge and from Kupuna Loop to Farrington Highway; Kunia and Fort Weaver roads; H-1 freeway ramps 5 and 5-B and all other ramps in Kunia Interchange; H-1 freeway in the vicinity of Kunia Interchange; and Kunia Road from Anonui Street to South Kupuna Loop.

Haiku Valley Bridge Tunnel.

Kilani Avenue from Holoku Place to Ilima Street; and Mala and Ilima streets.

Farrington Highway, Leoole to Awanui streets; and Paiwa to Leoku streets.

Lumiaina Street from the Board of Water Supply Waipahu Wells II facility on Kukula Street to its facility on Lumiaina Street; Kahuanui Street between Kahuanani and Kahuahale streets; Kahuanani Street between Kahuanui and Kahu streets; Kahuanui Street from Paiwa to Kahuanani streets; Waipahu Depot Road from Haakoa Place to the Waipahu Incinerator; Pupuole Place; and Awaia, Awanei, Awanui, Paiwa and Pupuole streets.

Moanalua Road from Punanani Channel to Pali Momi Street; Kaonohi Street between Alania and Kahapili streets; Kahapili Street between Kaonohi and Kaonohi streets; Maohu Place; and Akaaka, Ilee, Kulawai, Neki, Ulune and Kaamilo streets.

Pearl City
Kamehameha Highway from Acacia Road to Honomanu Street; Komo Mai Drive from Waimano Home Road to Hookupa Street.


Foster Village
Halupa Street from Haloa Drive to Punihi Street.

Dillingham Boulevard between Waiakamilo Road and North King Street; Kamanaiki Street from Violet to Laulani streets; Skyline Drive; and Kapalama, School, Moani, Laulani, Puolani, Pahulu, Ashford, Lima, Kamalii, Hillcrest and Noe streets.

Huli Street; and Vineyard Boulevard at Nuuanu Avenue.

Kahawalu Drive; Ragsdale and Homelani places; Waokanaka Street from Pali Highway intersection to street end; and Old Pali Road.

Keawe Street on Ala Moana, South and Queen streets, and Nimitz Highway and River Street to end at Hotel Street; and Coral Street from Ala Moana to Auahi Street.

Harding Avenue from Kapahulu to 1st avenues; Kapiolani Interchange; Kapiolani Boulevard to 1st Avenue; Kapahulu Avenue from Kaimuki to Waialae avenues; and Kapiolani Boulevard from Old Waialae Road to Kapiolani Boulevard.

Date Street between Isenberg Street and University Avenue; Kuulei Street from Kahoaloha Lane to University Avenue.

H-1 from Keeaumoku Street to Bingham Street Offramp and vicinity of Punchbowl Offramp to Kapiolani Interchange; Bingham Street; and Punahou to Isenberg streets.

Aha Nui Place.

Ala Wai Boulevard between Ala Moana and Kalakaua Avenue; Ala Wai Promenade; and Kalakaua Avenue from Kaiulani to Kapahulu avenues.

Wihelmina Rise
Maunahilu, Pakolu and Pili places; and Paula Drive between Maunahilu Place and Iwi Way.


Kahekili, Kamehameha and Likelike highways from Waihee Road to Kaneohe Bay Drive.

Ahuimanu Road; and Kialua, Hoopai and Poomau streets.

Keala, Kawaipapa and Puuowaa roads; Waikulama Street; and Kamehameha Highway from Pipilani to Kaupau places.

Halekou Interchange to Kaneohe Marine Corps Base; Kapaa Quarry structures 1 and 2; Mokapu and Kailua interchanges; Kalanianaole Highway, Kamehameha Highway to Kapaa Quarry Road; Ililani Street from Mokapu Boulevard to Iliwahi Loop; Iliwahi Loop to Ilimano Street; Iliaina Street from Ililani Street to Iliwahi Loop and from Ilihau Street to end; Kalaheo Avenue between Wilikoki Place and Kaiholu Place and on Aumoe Street; Kalanianaole Highway to Kawainui Bridge; Alahaki and Akupa streets; Kailua Road; Keolu Drive; and Akupa, Ilikaa and Nanaloko places.

Kaaiai Street from Huli to Nakini streets; Kumuhau Street from Waikupanaha to Mahailua streets; Waipahu Street from Amokii Street to Waikele Road; and Humuniki Street.


Waialae Iki
Kaimoku Place and Kaimoku Way.

Niu Valley
Paiko Drive; and Niuiki Circle.

Kuliouou Road; and Keoki, Pahukula and Wakine places.

Kalanianaole Highway from Makapuu Lookout to Kealahou Street.


Annual Pineapple Run, 7 a.m. Saturday from California Avenue at Makani Street to Fred Wright Park, along California Avenue, Dole Road, Eames Street, and Glen and Kilani avenues.

E-mail to City Desk

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]

© 2000 Honolulu Star-Bulletin