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Posts Tagged ‘historic buildings’

‘Ewa Sugar Plantation (ca 1890-1970) as mentioned in a previous blog,  was my childhood home.  One day a friend and I were heading out to that side.  It is painful to see what that simple, charming community has degenerated into, I don’t go often.

First thing, since we were coming from Kapolei side, I got lost.  A testament to the City and County’s aggressive development of the ‘Ewa plain agriculture lands. We approached from the old Barber’s Point (Kalaeloa) gate along the old Oahu Land & Railway tracks, past the Hawaiian Railway Society. (Extra)

Varona is the first of the ‘Ewa Villages.  Seriously dilapidated, both physically and by scandal, but still inhabited. One of the things Varona was famous for is cockfighting.  Although, the only one I ever saw was in Fernandez Village.

We drove past the mill that isn’t there anymore.  Past the park with magnificent old royal palms, the only way to identify the town from the surrounding area.  Then into the driveway, which used to be lined with royal palms as well. My friend Joe grew up in Waimanalo, but like most people, including locals, had never been to Ewa Plantation, and was shocked at the extent of  deterioration.   The once spectacular landscaping reduced to dead grass and dirt.  A few of the old trees have survived.

We followed the driveway around the house, now occupied by a church and community association.  No one was there.  Outside the courtyard with dry fishpond, was a splendid pile of the old shutters!  They were there a couple of years ago on my last visit.  A combination of nostalgia and my commitment to sustainability kicked in.  Several of the wood louvers were no longer attached to the frames.  Frames. The wood remained miraculously unmolested by bugs.  Probably because of the lead based paint. The forest green slats were attractively time worn, fabulously faded by natural processes.   Picture frames. (!)

My wonderful brother-in-law, Dennis, who lives in Wisconsin, was a picture framer in his early days.  He’s moved on to more exotic projects, like weaving shuttles and looms, but he might be convinced to make some for his wife and her siblings.   Would that be stealing? Is it a crime to steal discarded items for non-commercial reuse?

I remember picking some thimble berries from our neighbor’s hedge once. My Mother insisted I go knock on their door, apologize, and ask for permission.  I did, wracked with shame, sniffling out my repentance.  The guilt induced was far more effective than the alternative of spanking. Fortunately Mrs. Cushnie was gracious, and invited me to take as many as I wished, anytime.  Lingering guilt prevented any future gathering forays.  Strange how 40 years later I my opu still contracts.  There was no one to ask for permission. Would anyone notice?  Ok, that’s hardly an acceptable moral standard.

 

 

As far as I’m concerned, there are no publicly accessible structures of historical charm between Waipahu and Ka’ena Point, you have to go to Wahiawa or Haleiwa.  Some of us appreciate the kuleana of Honouli’uli, but it’s no place for sightseeing.  The years of  labor and resources my parents invested in creating and maintaining this little plantation jewel were utterly destroyed.

Would Messrs. Jacques Pryor and William Messer,  high school European Studies teachers at Punahou, find my sentimental/environmental  arguments valid conclusions of moral discourse?   We put the wood pieces in the trunk and continued through town.

Isamu Murakami, who also grew up on ‘Ewa Plantation, has posted over 600 historical images on his Picasa site: http://picasaweb.google.com/waipahu46/MYHOMETOWNEWA#

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