Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

2-digit address prefixes
denote districts

Question: Why is it that Oahu addresses outside of the "city" are prefixed by a two-digit number followed by a dash? For example, 91- in Ewa Beach and 98- or 99- in Aiea. What purpose did the prefix serve? My guess is that the prefixes originally had the same function as the ZIP code and its predecessor, the zone number. They could have denoted districts on the island of Oahu.

Answer: You guessed right.

The prefixes correspond to the tax map key numbers of an area, according to Nora Hinazumi, a building permit clerk for the city Department of Planning & Permitting.

The city first adopted street addressing in 1929, she said.

In 1937, the districts of Wahiawa, Kailua and Lanikai were officially numbered, sans prefixes. In 1942 an amendment was approved stating that Honolulu, Wahiawa, Kailua, Lanikai and Pearl City "would abide by the existing ordinance," meaning their street addresses would not have prefixes, but that "outlying" areas would have to correspond to the city's tax map key, Hinazumi said.

That ordinance established that the "zone" would be the first number and the "section" would be the second number of the prefixes, she said.

According to Section 2-9.2 of the Revised Ordinances of Honolulu, "The remaining digits of the building number shall be assigned in a manner to be determined by the director and building superintendent or such person's designated assistant."

In 1993 there was another amendment to the street numbering ordinance exempting the city of Kapolei, meaning the commercial area, from the "91" prefix, Hinazumi said.

"The other side, where you have your single-family and town homes, those have the prefix," she said.

Mystery solved

Bishop Museum archivist DeSoto Brown has solved the mystery of duplicate copies of a labor contract for Haruemon Miyashita and his wife, Riyo, dated Jan. 11, 1900. (See "Kokua Line," June 12 and 30.)

Two readers reported having copies of a "Memorandum of Agreement" between the Miyashitas and Olaa Sugar Co. on the Big Island. One cropped up in Colorado and the other in Iowa.

The copies "are not the originals, but are instead full-size reproductions which were printed in conjunction with Bishop Museum's 1985 publication, 'A Pictorial History of the Japanese in Hawaii, 1885-1924,'" Brown e-mailed. The book was written by Franklin Odo and Kazuko Sinoto.

When the book was first published, a copy of the contract was included as a loose item.

"Over the years, as the reproduced contracts have become separated from the books, people have mistaken them for originals," Brown said.

He said the copies look convincing but can be identified as reproductions by two stamps, resembling postage stamps, that are on the right edge.

Other immigration documents relating to the Miyashitas also are pictured in the book, including the same labor contract, Brown said.

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