Nostalgia sends one back to an age that now seems so unreal.
“Was that really Waikiki Beach just one hundred years ago?”
The Hawaiian Islands have existed for millions of years (and new islands are being born to this day), but vintage photographs illustrate that Hawaii has seen its most remarkable changes in the last century.
I recently tumbled across a photo blog dedicated to old Hawaii photos. It’s called, simply, “Old Hawaii”, and looks at the Hawaiian Islands throughout the years, dating back to some of the very first photographs that were taken in Hawaii.
Here’s a few of my favorites:
The Ala Moana Shopping Center, 1950s
Today, the Ala Moana Shopping Center is one of the world’s largest outdoor shopping malls. Everyday, thousands of people flock the walkways of this Honolulu mall to shop at high-end retailers and unique boutiques, as well as grab a bite to eat and watch a hula performance.
But 60 years ago, the Ala Moana Shopping center was just beginning to take its shape. Today, the view of Diamond Head is obstructed by many buildings, including the Hawaii Convention Center and numerous Waikiki hotels.
Varsity Theater, 1940s
The former Varsity Theater was for many decades one of Honolulu’s premier theaters, where foreign and independent films would be playing every week.
Although the theater is now gone (the office building is still in use), this vintage photo from the 1940s shows a lively community built around the theater, showing “How Green Was My Valley” starring Mureen O’Hara.
The Varsity Theater was located down the street from the University of Hawaii on University Ave.
Princess Kaiulani, 1890s
A timeless photograph of a timeless woman, Princess Kaiulani.
Her full name was Victoria Kaʻiulani Kalaninuiahilapalapa Kawēkiu i Lunalilo Cleghorn, and she was one of Hawaii’s most distinguished, intelligent royalty. Robert Louis Stevenson called her “the island rose”.
Kaiulani is a fascinating individual with an impressive background, fit for royalty: she was of Hawaiian-Scottish ancestry, educated in Britain, multi-lingual, and one of Hawaii’s most beautiful women.
Hanauma Bay, 1890s
A must-see attraction on any trip to Oahu, Hanauma Bay was practically the same over 100 years ago. Today, you’ll find tourists walking down a paved road to the bay below, where lifeguards on duty watch over snorkelers discovering tropical fish, turtles, and coral reef.
Old Hawaii is a treasure chest of vintage photos of the Hawaiian Islands.