October 22, 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Trinity Presbyterian Church (Auloa Road)
Free to the Public

The Kailua Historical Society is pleased to present a public program on the timely subject of THE OLD PALI ROAD: HUMBLE AND SHIFTING? The slide-illustrated program will take place appropriately near that historic road, namely at the Trinity Presbyterian Church (Auloa Road) on October 22, at 6:30 in the evening. The public is welcome to attend this free and informative event.

When the green lights soon open the Pali Tunnel in both directions, Windward commuters will be among the first to toot their jubilation. For the past seven months the tunnel’s connection to Honolulu has been blocked or severely restricted due to natural slippage, caused by heavy rains at the beginning of this year. Never before has closure to traffic lasted as long while repairs have been done. Government announcements indicate that all necessary work will be completed sometime around the season of Thanksgiving.

On the Windward side there is no acreage more disturbed than the soils at the base of the Pali. With the arrival of wheeled vehicles more than 150 years ago, the walking path was upgraded to accommodate wider and heavier traffic. Layer upon layer of soils were shifted and modified to allow cattle drives, mule trains, carts and even stagecoaches to make the journey from country to town. But it was foot traffic that accounted for much of the travel over the lowest passage of the Ko’olaus . . . until motorized vehicles became dominant about the beginning of the twentieth century. Gradually the 22 hairpin turns were replaced by straighter stretches, and cobblestone surfaces were filled to allow wheels to run more smoothly. Today the sealed road is taken for granted, just like the open tunnels . . . until Mother Nature rains down its powerful force.

Come to be entertained, educated, and reminded of what massive efforts (and money!) have left their trail along “the Old Pali Road”.

The program is free and open to the public on October 22, 2019 from 6:30 – 8:00


New Program: Join us at a free movie event and revisit 1946 Kailua

Images from 1946: Overhead and Offshore

Return to 1946 and sail amongst our beautiful islands with the Powlison Family and friends aboard the Mokuola. Come watch a 16 mm color film taken by Ted Bredesen (navy photographer who married Puna Peggy 40 years later). It also includes an eruption on the flanks fo Mauna Loa, old-time Waikiki surfing, and area scenery of Kailua, Lanikai, and other islands. Generously shared with the community by Cosette Harms and son Jerrett Harms.

In 1946, Kailua’s population was under 5,000. The biggest store was Harada’s (at Ku’ulei and Kailua). Two churches existed—St. Anthony’s and the “Little White Church” (where Salvation Army is now located). Campos Dairy leased many acres in today’s business district and the surrounding areas. Several dozen homes were standing in and near Lanikai, including the Freeman’s, Tanaka’s, Hedemann’s, and Powlison’s. Mid-Pacific Golf Course, a popular attraction was 17 years old. The Kailua Race Track still existed, as did watermelon farms throughout the Coconut Grove area. Sullivan’s first store, today’s Foodland, would soon be built across from Kalapawai Market (near Kailua Beach), as would Kailua’s first post office nearby.

Everyone is welcome to join us for this free amazing movie and program about 1946 Kailua.

July 29, 2018
3:00 – 4:30 pm

A. & B. Community Room, Suite 202
146 Hekili St., Kailua

December Program


Join the Kailua Historical Society

Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016 at 6:30 p.m.

at the Kailua Public Library

for a staged reading of excerpts from “December 7, 1941: Letters from Hilltop House” by Cosette Morrison Harms.

Through a series of letters to her son on the mainland, the author’s grandmother, Anne Powlison, describes witnessing both the bombing of Kaneohe Naval Air Station (concurrent with the bombing of Pearl Harbor) from the family home overlooking Lanikai and the frenetic weeks which followed. As the family and the territory itself copes with the ensuing confusion of blackouts, paranoia and an expected imminent invasion, Mrs. Powlison finds herself cut off from reliable communication with the mainland and her son at university in Washington state. Her steady stream of letters help to bolster not only her own courage, but those of her son’s as well, and bear testament both to life on Oahu during wartime, as well as the enduring resilience of the human spirit.

Performers from KOA Theater will perform a selection of these letters, interwoven with historical interviews and news reports, to bring to life the dark days of uncertainty that followed the attack on Pearl Harbor and the fortitude of Hawaii’s citizens in the face of the unknown.