This oral history interview is a project of the Historical Committee of the Outrigger Canoe Club. The legal rights of this material remain with the Outrigger Canoe Club. Anyone wishing to reproduce it or quote at length from it should contact the Historical Committee of the Outrigger Canoe Club. The reader should be aware that an oral history document portrays information as recalled by the interviewee. Because of the spontaneous nature of this kind of document, it may contain statements and impressions that are not factual.
Interview by Kenneth J. Pratt
April 15, 1983
This is an interview with Thomas W. G. Singlehurst (TWGS) who joined the Outrigger Canoe Club in 1908. This interview is being conducted on April 15, 1983 at his company office, Carol & Mary, Ltd. The interviewer is Ken Pratt (KJP) representing the Outrigger Canoe Club Oral History Committee.
KJP: Tom, before we get into the early days at the Outrigger Club, could you tell us a little about yourself:
TWGS: Well, I went to Punahou School. Started in about 1907, I believe it was. I left Punahou in about 1918, and worked for about three months with the Bank of Hawaii. And then I went into the Army in the Signal Corps at Schofield Barracks for one year. When I came out I worked for about a year for the Hawaiian Trust. After leaving Hawaiian Trust I went East with a man named Donald Brown. Both of us lived in Brooklyn, but we worked in New York in the American Exchange National Bank until 1922 when I came back to Honolulu and started worked at the Bishop Trust Co.
KJP: Well, that’s great.
TWGS: At Bishop Trust Co. I started in as a teller, and worked there for forty years until 1962 when I retired. I was at that time Senior Vice President, Treasurer, and also a Director. My wife and I had started Carol & Mary in 1937 that is Carol Singlehurst. She died in 1959 so I came over here and took over in full charge of Carol & Mary, of which I really own half. The other half is owned by a trust by my first wife, Carol Singlehurst, which I am co-trustee of with the Bishop Trust Co. But, I have the full say as to anything that happens at Carol & Mary. Carol & Mary, of course, in 1962 was much smaller than it is today. And today, as with most companies, we are having a bit of a struggle trying to make ends meet, but we are not doing too badly. We are known as one of the finest stores of this kind in the State, or you might say, in the United States because we get compliments constantly from people all over the world who come to us for buying merchandise.
KJP: Yeah, I realize your reputation at Carol & Mary’s is great. Now, what do you attribute this to?
TWGS: Well, I attribute it to the fact that right from the beginning when the business was started by Carol and Mary – Carol Singlehurst and Mary Afong – Afong being the daughter of Albert Afong who was the son of Chun Afong. Mary Afong sold out to us in 1939 at which time we moved down to Alakea Street – at 1032, I believe the number was. From the beginning we have always dealt in quality in everything not only in the merchandise which we sell, but in the people that we employ, in the furniture, in our leasehold improvements. The word “quality” has always been our Bible, you might say.
KJP: Well, that’s great. And you are the “Board of Directors” I guess.
TWGS: We have a Board of Directors that consists of about ten people.
KJP: I see.
TWGS: I’m the President. We have all women in the store except myself and two drivers for the truck, but other than that they are women.
KJP: You must have good buyers, too, in order to have the quality.
TWGS: Yes, there are several good buyers.
KJP: Well, one more thing before we get into the Outrigger. I notice from the pictures on the wall, just before entering here, and from talking to other people that you are a breeder of horses — very interested in the raising of horses. Is that true?
TWGS: Well, I would say that was true. When I married my second wife, Dona Guisenheyner, she was interested in horses, and we proceeded to get into the raising of thoroughbred horses which business we enlarged upon when we leased from the Dillingham’s the Crow Bar Ranch in Mokuleia. But it proved to be a very unprofitable business and today, with the ranch we have in Waialua which consists of 235 acres, we mainly encourage people to keep their horses up there where we have some horses too. And my youngest daughter, Suanna, who is only eighteen, is a great enthusiast. She’s at a mainland college now. But we don’t go into the business of raising horses, at all anymore. It is anything but profitable.
KJP: I see. Beautiful place to go, I imagine.
TWGS: The ranch yes, it is about two miles above the highway by the Waialua High School.
KJP: I see. Tom, do you raise anything else on the ranch?
TWGS: Yes, we raise cattle; we have about a hundred head running most of the time.
KJP: Is these beef cattle?
TWGS: Beef cattle.
KJP: Uh huh. Who does your slaughtering for you?
TWGS: Well, we used to sell them to the feed lot in Ewa. But mostly now the Filipino people around in Waialua and the vicinity take the cattle from us, we sell it to them.
KJP: Great. Well, that’s very interesting; you are a very busy man. Well, let’s get back to the Outrigger Canoe Club. What was your motivation to join the Club?
TWGS: Well, Alexander Hume Ford was a friend of the family and I think we used to have him up to dinner sometimes. He kept after my father in 1908, to have me join. And I remember distinctly going down there in ’08 and ’09 and ’10. At that time they used to have only grass shacks. I believe there were only two grass shacks. One was the Club house, and what the other one was for, I don’t know.
KJP: Wasn’t that for storing the canoes and surfboards?
TWGS: It may have been. If you recall, the property of the Outrigger Canoe Club really belonged to the Queen Emma Estate. The Queen Emma Estate trustee was Bruce Cartwright.
KJP: Ah, yes.
TWGS: The property that was leased from the Queen Emma Estate started at Kalakua Avenue, and on the Ewa side was that then known as the Seaside Hotel.
TWGS: And it ran down to the beach and then on the Kokohead side was a lagoon. In other words it was a river from Manoa Valley which used to run down into the sea. In about oh, ’10, 11’, or ’12, somewhere in there, the Moana put in a groin which ran out into the ocean to try and protect the beach. I used to go swimming in the lagoon because the water was warmer there than going into the sea water at times.
KJP: And you never got sick? I remember that swamp. I’d think you’d get typhoid fever if you went in there.
TWGS: Well, it’s a wonder we didn’t. And then there was a wire fence along there starting at Kalakaua Avenue. Then, I have some pictures. As a matter of fact, on one side of the lagoon there was a pavilion. Later on they provided a pavilion right on Kalakaua Avenue. Prior to that they had the club house which was on the side towards the Seaside Hotel. And they put a volleyball court there, they used to have a small house where they used to sell cigarettes and candy and other things. This was right next to the volleyball court. It was on the sand, and a man named Tuttle used to run it and later Japanese named Sasaki.
KJP: Yes, I remember Sasaki.
TWGS: Later they put a pavilion on the shore side, right on the beach. They had a board walk ran around most of that and to a Hau Tree pavilion.
KJP: Hau Terrace?
TWGS: No, the terrace came later. Well, you could bring down your own food and cook there. In those days I spent most of my leisure time from 1914, I guess, until 1935 except for the time that I was away at the Outrigger. Even when I was in the Army I was at the Club most of the time either playing volleyball or I got somewhat tired of surfing, I used to get too cold when I went out there.
KJP: When you were in the Army, was this at Schofield?
KJP: So you’d have a long haul to come away in?
TWGS: Yes but we used to come in all the time. Then that went on ‘till do you want me to on to 1930 when I became an officer?
KJP: Yes, sure, in 1930 you became an officer.
TWGS: In 1930 I was asked to be treasurer by a man who used to go to Punahou School and he was in the Army but I’ll be darned if I can remember his name. He became President later and I was treasurer. The Club in the thirties was so broke that I remember we had two telephones and there was a Chinese family that ran some little restaurant they had then. Remember a phone cost eight dollar and seventy –five cents a month so I had to cut out some of them in order to try and keep things going. We managed to eke out an existence. The dues then were $10 a month and there weren’t any initiation fees. You’d be lucky if you could get anyone to join. This may not be quite in the sequence that it happened but at one point when Lorrin Thurston was President and I was then secretary-treasurer, I finally took over the secretary’s job as well as being treasurer. I know I did, but I can’t remember exactly when it was.
TWGS: And a bank, I better not name the bank because I got into, I got scolded or that once. But anyway we had about $900 in the bank and the bank froze our bank account, I was told, as treasurer, that the bank account was frozen. It meant that we couldn’t pay any salaries; there wasn’t much to pay at the time. As a matter of fact my wife, my then wife, and Tom Murakami, the Japanese bookkeeper, and I we kept the books for $60 per month.
KJP: Uh, huh.
TWGS: That went on to 1936 or 1940. But anyway the bank froze the account and I went over to the bank in a great, high dudgeon, so to speak. And I think I must have made myself well known around there. But, anyway, I got hold of Lorrin Thurston and we had a meeting that night and we raised some money and they unfroze the bank account. The reason they froze the bank account, which was strange to me, was that there was a $4,000 note due by the Outrigger Club, but it had the endorsement of Al Castle.
KJP: Wow! You couldn’t get much more security than that.
TWGS: No. I don’t know why they were so upset, but they were. Well, anyway, I continue as secretary-treasurer for — there may have been a short interlude there of a few months when someone else took over. I acted as president part of the time. Lorring Thurston was president, Leslie Hick was president, then in 1939 Walter Macfarlane took over.
KJP: Good old Walter Mac
TWGS: He started to reorganize the Club. We rebuilt the building on the beach. We issued $90,000 in bonds which we tried to sell to a lot of people. Walter was able to sell quite a few of them to some of his rich friends.
KJP: He was a fantastic salesman.
TWGS: Yes he was. But he didn’t sell all of them, so he and I would go around. But anyway Ralph Woolley was the contractor. C. W. Dickey was the architect, and Lewers and Cooke was our supplier. Walter and I finally convinced these people to take some of these bonds for payment instead of cash for building the pavilion.
TWGS: They agreed to do this. Then came the war. It wasn’t easy in the beginning. I remember distinctly being secretary trying to hold directors’ and member meetings trying to get enough people to come in so that we could hold a meeting. I would have to go out to the beach and collect people from there in order to get a quorum.
KJP: Take them off beach, huh?
TWGS: Yeah. In any event when the war started in 1941 the Club owed $150,000, including the $90,000 bond issue. When the war ended we had not only paid the $150,000 but we had $150,000 in the bank.
TWGS: So I got Russell Cades to draw up a contract so that we could start a Building Fund and we did start a Building Fund, which after I left as secretary-treasurer in 1948. Leslie Hicks continued on. The fund finally increased to a million dollars, I was told, which helped a great deal to continue the Club. I was told that Sam Fuller, who was president at one time, negotiated a lease with the Elks Club which seemed a little odd to me. I don’t know but you can find out if it’s true or not. They (Elks Club) gave them 99-year lease where there is no opening of rent adjustment.
KJP: That’s correct.
TWGS: That’s almost unheard of.
KJP: Well, actually this was a little prior to the tremendous boost of prices in the Waikiki area. But still a great deal for the Outrigger Canoe Club. Now Wilford Godbold was very much in these negotiations.
TWGS: He was president at one time. And others working on it were Bill Mullahey, Duke Kahanamoku was a director, Louis LeBaron, you have all those records, I presume.
TWGS: But, I got a fellow by the name of Charles Hee a bookkeeper’s job there in 1930. I had Young, Lamberton, and Pearson to take over the audit of the books, Fred Peterson primarily. At that time we had started to get a little bit of money.
TWGS: This is not quite in sequence. But in any event Charles Hee stayed on there for many years. I think he retired only a few years ago.
KJP: Charles or Walter?
TWGS: Charles Hee.
KJP: He retired only about two or three years ago.
TWGS: I’m honored, you might say, with the membership Number One.
KJP: Oh, is that right?
TWGS: That’s my number one.
TWGS: Sometimes, I’ve been out there to eat, I don’t go much anymore. I had somewhat of an alteration with some of the directors so it’s no use going into that. But when I’ve been out there and I said “one” they hardly believed what I was talking about. I haven’t been using the Club much in the last few years, although I’m still a member.
KJP: Now I remember talking to Ernest Tucker Chase years and years ago. “Chippy” Chase and he told me that he had bought a life membership for a hundred dollars. When would this have been 1938?
TWGS: Yes. I took out a term membership at that time, then I let it go. He took it out about 1938, I guess, or even before that and he said that he got his money’s worth.
KJP: Ha-ha-ha. What is the initiation fee now $5,000? Imagine $100 for a life membership.
TWGS: I know that a friend of mine who has been coming down here for 30 years, his name is G. Robert Truex, who is the CEO President, etc, etc. of Ranier National Bank. He’s been coming here for thirty years and is a great friend of Frank Manaut in the Bank of Hawaii and other people down here. I’ve always gotten him a guest membership. He wanted to join as a nonresident member, but at that time they decided they didn’t want any more guest memberships, so I think the guest membership at that time was only $1,500.
TWGS: But then lately they wrote me a letter and said that if he’d like to come in they would take him in now, but the price was $5,000 for a nonresident membership. I think it’s the same for a resident membership.
KJP: I believe so. Yes, it’s rather expensive but a beautiful spot. Although they got hit hard by storm Iwa, you know. Tremendous amount of damage to the sea-wall and one of the beautiful Koa canoes was smashed up against a tree. Kind of sad but I guess you have to expect those things when you’re living right on the water.
TWGS: I didn’t hear much about that. I thought most of the damage was out at Haleiwa.
KJP: Well, there was quite a bit of damage along Waikiki in that area. Do you know the old Red Hale, do you remember that? They had an article in the paper about that. This is located about seven or eight doors Diamond Head of the Club. Frank Manaut you mentioned his name, used to stay there with Nick McDaniels and some other bachelors of that time. Right “smack” on the beach. They had quite a bit of damage there.
TWGS: One of the condominiums, maybe.
KJP: No, no a frame building, but right on the water. But several on the places right along…..
TWGS: San Souci? Next to Dad Center apartments…..
KJP: I don’t know whether they got hit or not, but it was pretty bad.
TWGS: I forgot to mention that the manager who was running the Club just before the war started and before the war ended was Henry DeGorog.
KJP: Oh, yes.
TWGS: Now, I thought Henry was doing a great job but some of the directors didn’t think he was doing such a good job so they let him go just after the war ended. I don’t know whether you went to the Club much during the war years.
KJP: During the war years I went a great deal. In fact I did quite a bit of Navy ‘brass’ entertaining at that time. Because I used to steer canoes, then, I’d take them to lunch and then take them out and catch a few waves. It was a great way to entertain.
TWGS: Well, that place was ‘humming’ from about eleven o’clock in the morning until twelve o’clock at night. And there were times when (Admiral) “Bull” Halsey would tell Mr. DeGorog, “I don’t want anyone else, the Navy is taking over the Club tonight”. And he would take it over, and nobody else could go there.
KJP: No kidding?
TWGS: Oh, yeah.
KJP: That’s interesting, I never heard that before. When would this have been, about ’42?
TWGS: Somewhere around there ’43 maybe.
KJP: That’s great.
TWGS: I remember seeing jack Dempsey in there once with the man that had the long count, Gene Tunney.
TWGS: Yes, Gene Tunney. They had all kinds of notables in the Club at that time. As a matter of fact we were afraid that the military was going to take it over.
TWGS: But they never did and it meant a great deal of money to the Club because they were spending money you know how it was, the military, men and women both spend money like water down there.
KJP: That’s how you paid off your bond issue and your bills?
TWGS: Yes, that’s right. And as I said we ended up with $150,000 in the bank.
KJP: On top of that. Well the Royal was taken over by the Navy.
TWGS: Well, the Royal was not built until 1927. It used to be the Seaside Hotel.
KJP: Oh, yes.
TWGS: And the Seaside Hotel had an apartment house running right out into the ocean right next to Bertha Young’s place. She had a friend by the name of Bess Young. When they built the Royal we were all around the Outrigger in those days. It was the finest hotel but it was also looked upon as a “White Elephant”. There were only two people living in it in 1934. That was Major King and his wife. They lived in the place. Major King, later on, became the head of the Reserve Police Division here during the war. The reserve police, you remember, I was on that. He died later, I don’t know from what. The Royal, of course, was owned by Matson.
TWGS: Matson finally took over our lease, because the Outrigger couldn’t keep it going. Matson took it over and gave us at the Outrigger a very reasonable rent, whatever it was at the time, I forget. But I remember they had many discussions with Matson people who were most generous. They were too generous in letting it go. I think they sold that place for about eighteen million dollars to Sheraton. I guess it was Sheraton; anyway they let it go too cheap.
TWGS: As it turned out maybe at the time it was all right.
TWGS: Matson was a very good friend of the Outrigger.
KJP: Now, actually the Royal was built to take care of some of the big passenger ships which they were building on the East Coast.
TWGS: The Lurline, Matsonia and all those big ships.
KJP: Yes, because there were not too many nice hotels on Oahu at that time.
TWGS: The only one was Moana.
KJP: And the Niumalu.
TWGS: Yes, the Niumalu.
KJP: That was torn down somewhere along the line after the war.
TWGS: That place is known now as the Hilton Hawaiian Village. It was taken over by Kaiser and Fritz Burns at one time.
KJP: Ah, yes.
TWGS: But the Moana Hotel was the first hotel out there. And then they built the Royal. The Royal was not originally owned by Matson, it was Territorial Hotels.
KJP: Oh, I didn’t realize that.
TWGS: Matson had part of it, then Territorial Hotels got into trouble. The first Royal Hawaiian Hotel was downtown where the Army and Navy is now.
TWGS: That’s where the Royal Hawaiian Hotel first was.
KJP: It faced on Alakea, didn’t it?
TWGS: No, I thought it faced on Hotel Street. One side was Richards Street and the other side was Alakea Street.
KJP: Uh-huh. It took the whole block.
TWGS: It belonged to the McGrew family.
KJP: Ah, yes. And somehow or other the Cooper family is involved in that, too.
KJP: Jack Cooper.
TWGS: Jack Cooper, Bryant Cooper. Their mother was a McGrew who married Dr. G. B. Cooper.
KJP: Ah, yes.
TWGS: And her brother was Reynold McGrew. That was their property and they also owned McGrew Point which was taken over by the Navy during the war. It was down there near Pearl City. I used to play volleyball for the Outrigger Club. I played football for the Outrigger Club. I ran track for the Outrigger Club.
KJP: What years, I remember there was a series of years when the Outrigger was very active in sports. What years would this have been?
TWGS: It was mostly in the years from 1924 or maybe 1922 up to the end of the war, I guess.
KJP: Oh, you mean World War II?
TWGS: Yes, World War II.
KJP: Now, back in those days Atherton Gilman was a good football player, wasn’t he?
TWGS: Yes, he used to play, I don’t remember whether he played for us, or not. I guess he did. I know I used to play against Herman Clark who was about ten times the size I was.
KJP: Ha, ha, ha. Were you a linesman?
TWGS: Yeah, I played end.
KJP: You must have been clobbered.
TWGS: Clobbered all right. I never did make the first team at Punahou. I was only on the ‘scrub’ team, but I did play for them. In those days I don’t know how people survived, because in the Army I played football and you didn’t have any headgear, you didn’t have any shin guards, you didn’t have any shoulder guards, you didn’t have anything but shoes. That’s all you played with. I remember we played down at Fort Kamehameha once. From Schofield we went to Fort Kamehameha and played on rolled coral.
TWGS: There was no grass. The Outrigger has had a colorful history. Like most clubs when the depression — and we really had a depression from 1930 until the war started. Many clubs were deserted, you might say, and it was pretty hard to keep them going. I had my hands full trying to keep the Outrigger going from ’32 to about ’38, I guess it was, maybe ’39.
KJP: Now you and Walter Macfarlane were very strong supporters of the Outrigger during those rough times. Can you think of any other fellows that helped out? Was Hicks involved?
TWGS: Oh, yes, Hicks, Leslie Hicks was, very much so.
KJP: Chase was not too much on the financial end there?
TWGS: No, he used to play volleyball, a lot, out there.
KJP: Yeah, he sure did.
TWGS: No, I can’t think unless you have some of the records. I know Louis LeBaron was on the Board, Harold Mountain and R. Q. Smith. Mullahey came on much later. Bill Mullahey tried to run the Outrigger Club like he was running the Pan American, which didn’t ‘sit’ too well with me.
TWGS: It wasn’t too easy to do in any event. That was the time when Wilford Godbold was president.
KJP: Ah, yes.
TWGS: He came on in the later years. Oh, there was Stenberg. Do you remember Stenberg?
KJP: Oh, yes, Ernie Stenberg. He was the one who published the paper the little bulletin.
TWGS: Yes, they started by calling it the Forecast.
TWGS: I have a copy of that which they “wrote me up in”, as a matter of fact. Now, I don’t know whether you should print this or not but Sam Fuller, when he was president, for the work that I had done for the Club. As a matter of fact I have a plate over here which was given to me for my work for the Club. I still have my picture which is hanging over there. They wanted it in the Club because of all the work I had done for the Club.
TWGS: I acted as president although I was really never named president.
TWGS: I acted as president because during the war many of the others would be gone. But some years later the Board of Directors decided they only wanted presidents’ pictures hung up there so my picture is in my office now. Now I am mentioned in the Outrigger book prepared by Harold Yost.
KJP: Well, you really worked hard for many, many years.
TWGS: Yes, and it wasn’t easy. My wife and I, and a Japanese bookkeeper named Murakami. We used to work three or four nights a week keeping the books. I used to get scolded for getting after people for not paying their bills. It taught me a lesson all right on how to handle people who don’t pay their bills. I don’t know whether there is any real way you can handle it, I did the best I could. I used to get in dutch with a lot of people then by getting after them for being delinquent. That was only ten dollars a month.
KJP: Well, actually, when I joined I think it may have been even cheaper than that. As a kid during the twenties I had a rough time getting the money together now and then. So what I did; they put me to work sanding the canoes but not doing repair work.
TWGS: Remember “Dad” Center? “Dad” Center was another man who was very active in the Club, not necessarily money wise, he was athletic wise.
KJP: He was a fantastic swimming coach, there’s no doubt about it. He brought many young people and turned out excellent swimmers. But, I was trying to think of the name of the carpenter who did the repair work on the canoes and odd jobs for the Outrigger over the years.
TWGS: Edric Cook.
KJP: No, I was thinking of a Japanese fellow who was really good about fixing canoes.
TWGS: I remember the man, too, but I can’t remember the name.
KJP: He was great.
TWGS: Do you know that in …. Have you read this thick volume called the Sage of the Sandwich Islands?
KJP: I have read parts of it, I do have the book.
TWGS: There is a group picture of the Outrigger Club members in the then, what was then the volleyball court.
TWGS: In the middle of it is Tyson Norgaard who was a cripple. Tyson Norgaard had a turtle down there and he’s got his gun on it, like this. And then they have all these other people, have all their names in the back of the book. And that is a picture of the then pavilion when it was on the water. They later tore it down to build the new one. That was in ’29, ’28 and ’29. That was where the volleyball court was at that time. The bath house or rather the clubhouse where we changed was right in back of that.
KJP: Closer to Kalakaua Avenue?
TWGS: No, closer to the Royal Hawaiian, closer to Seaside.
KJP: Oh, I see. Tom, you’re showing me a picture of the old lagoon, I don’t recall that stone wall that was on the Outrigger side. Could you give us the background on that picture?
TWGS: The stone wall led from Kalakaua Avenue down to a point there it veered off towards the ocean. The girl standing on the stone wall, looking like she’s going to jump into the lagoon, is Dorothea Rutmann.
KJP: Uh- huh.
TWGS: The Club is on the Ewa side of the stone wall. The stone wall was put in there to protect the Club grounds from more encroachment from the lagoon.
KJP: Now on the other side, it doesn’t show in the picture, where the Moana Hotel would be, do they have a wall on that side too?
TWGS: Yeah. In between the lagoon and the Moana Hotel was a parking lot which was owned by the Judd family.
KJP: Oh, yes, Judd property, I remember that.
TWGS: This is a picture of Ronald Watt, do you remember him?
KJP: Well I’ve heard of him, I didn’t know him personally.
TWGS: Here’s a picture of Francis Bowers, Charlie Lambert and Francis Bowers. He was in the Army with me.
KJP: World War I, huh?
KJP: So you guys would come in from Schofield together in one of your cars?
KJP: Tom, you mentioned Sasaki briefly, could you tell us a little about this man?
TWGS: I can’t remember exactly how many years he was there, but he was there for a lot of years. He was primarily involved in the kitchen as it then existed. You could bring your own things down and cook over as gas burner. But he got to be almost as if he was manager of the Club, in a sense because he was there so long, and as kids grew up they respected him a great deal.
KJP: Uh-huh. He ran a little commissary there, as I recall. We used to get double-deckers, ice cream with chocolate sauce on it.
TWGS: Originally a man named Tuttle ran it. There was a Tuttle at Punahou, he was the father of that Tuttle.
TWGS: But they also, at one time, ran a little store at the end of Alexander Street where you used to come down, the street car used to come down Alexander Street and run into Pawaa. There was a little store on the corner there where we would change cars.
KJP: Now, you’re talking about Tuttle, used to own that?
TWGS: Yes. Sasaki, even after years, when he had left the Club, “Dad” Center, Percy Deverill, “Toots” Minvielle, Edric Cook, Ernest Cook, or Gay Harris would have Sasaki at some of the parties they would give. Sometimes there would be a little more drinking than usual, but Sasaki always seemed to enjoy himself.
KJP: He was a great guy, and the youngsters respected him. He had a firm hand but everyone liked him. To my mind the Duke, Duke Kahanamoku was one of the most famous members we ever had. How about a little background on the Duke you knew him well, I’m sure.
TWGS: I knew the Duke very well; I’d say the Duke was probably one of the most famous men in all Hawaii. He originally, though, belonged to the Hui Nalu Club.
KJP: Ah, yes.
TWGS: He came in, I don’t know what year, to the Outrigger, but it must have been in the early or late thirties, something like that.
KJP: I think he came in a little earlier than that, Tom; I’ve read a little about that, I think “Dad” coaxed him over around ’17 or ’18. But he definitely joined Hui Nalu first, Hui Nalu was the first started. I’ll look that up. (The record shows that Duke joined in 1917.)
TWGS: I didn’t think he came in that early because he used to be with Dudie Miller and that gang over there at the Moana Bath House.
KJP: Right! Right! I know the Duke used to spend a lot of time over there also.
TWGS: Then he became a director of the Outrigger later on. Good old Duke, he had a habit of falling asleep very easily.
KJP: I understand they made him an honorary director at one time. The Duke would always like to have a little nap after dinner time. Unfortunately the directors’ meetings had dinner first and then the meeting. That was rough.
TWGS: He was a great man, Duke. I had a lot of respect for him. Well, in a way he put Hawaii on the map with him swimming ability and the way that he kept his head. He didn’t let his fame go to his head. He was always a gentleman.
KJP: A very modest man. Now he made his first plunge into fame in 1912, I believe. You had just been at the Club for a short time; do you remember seeing him practice there?
TWGS: Well, yes, not there so much, they used to swim down there in the harbor.
KJP: Pier 5, wasn’t it?
TWGS: I think it was Pier 5. They put bleachers along the side there, they had races. I can always remember Duke swimming; it looked like his body was partly out of the water he seemed to be going so fast. There was another man who came down about that time a man named Arnie Borg. He came down and swam at that time. So did Johnny Weissmuller.
KJP: Now you’re talking about the early twenties.
KJP: Remember the Yale team came down in ’21 or ’22.
TWGS: Yes, Lorrin Thurston was captain.
KJP: Yes. My brother Dudley was captain the following year. The year the Yale team came was when the Duke won one of the events for the local relay team. He was way behind when fourth place started and he caught up to the Yale man. As Frank Bowers used to tell me, “He had a rooster tail out from his feet”. He won by a stroke.
TWGS: And there were two other Hawaiian boys who swam, Warren Kealoha and his brother Pua.
KJP: Do you remember the diver, was that Jack Hjorth?
TWGS: Yes, Jack Hjorth.
KJP: Do you remember anything about him?
TWGS: Well I remember him in later years when he married somebody rather wealthy and he lived out on Kahala Avenue. I don’t know what happened to him after that.
KJP: As I recall he had a comic dive where he would make a tremendous splash. But he was a good diver, too.
TWGS: He was.
KJP: Well this has been very interesting; you’ve touched on a lot. Now, one other man I’d like to get a little background on was “Dad” Center. You told us a little about “Dad” but he contributed so much to the sport of swimming in the Islands could you give us a little background on that?
TWGS: I got to know “Dad” very well when I went into the Outrigger, and it increased in the years. I used to go to his house which is now the “Dad” Center Apartments. He developed the swimming; in fact he was the coach for Duke Kahanamoku in the Olympics.
KJP: Oh, yes
TWGS: And he was also coach when Gay Harris went to the Olympics. Gay Harris swam in the Olympics, too. But “Dad”, with Edric Cook, used to make surfboards.
KJP: Oh, that’s right, could you tell us what type of board they used to make?
TWGS: Redwood. I remember Duke telling me that his board weighed 140 pounds.
KJP: No kidding! Well he had the brute strength to carry one of those things.
TWGS: I don’t think they charged very much either. They seemed to work on it after hours or on Sundays or holidays. They had sort of a workshop under the pavilion. At that time it was divided into two sections, it was on the beach. There was a small pavilion and big pavilion. They had a workshop underneath there.
KJP: Oh, yes.
TWGS: I don’t know how long Sam was president, do you?
KJP: Sam wasn’t president too long, one, I think, and not more than two. It was Wilford Godbold who was president four or five years or maybe longer than that.
TWGS: What happened to Wilford?
KJP: Wilford, unfortunately developed Parkinson’s disease, I think in the sixties.
TWGS: Oh, is that so.
KJP: He lived on for many years.
TWGS: How about Norman?
KJP: Norman, I believe, is living on the mainland. He gets back to the islands periodically. Say, Tom, I see over on your desk a heavy silver plate that looks very interesting. May I read it?
KJP: It has:
Tom “Beans” Singlehurst, Director
Secretary – Treasurer 1930-1048
OUTRIGGER CANOE CLUB
Could you tell us a little about this?
TWGS: That was present to me at a small gathering of the directors at the Club on the night at which time I believe Wilford Godbold was president. They gave this to me, as you read, in honor and because of the service I had rendered to the Club. At which time Mr. Stenberg also wrote up in the Forecast a history of what I had done for the Club. This I hold with a great deal of esteem. I’m so pleased to have had it. There was quite a gathering at the night it was presented to me.
KJP: Oh, that’s great! Now do you think we can get a photo copy made of the Forecast that Ernie Stenberg put out? We could attach it on the Oral History.
TWGS: Yes, I may have some copies but I would have to go look for them.
KJP: Uh-huh. Great.
TWGS: Not right this minute.
KJP: No, no hurry at all. It takes time to put these things together.
TWGS: Maybe I have several copies, I don’t know.
TWGS: I’ll see that you get one.
KJP: Now, Tom, can you think of anything else that you can add to the history of the Club?
TWGS: No. I don’t think there is much more except to say that there is no doubt that the Outrigger Club is one of the foremost clubs in Hawaii and maybe in the whole of the United States. It’s well respected and people are very desirous of joining the Club because it has maintained its prominence during all these years.
KJP: Do you think it was a step down moving from between the Moana and Royal out to the new location, or an advantage?
TWGS: I think it was the only thing they could do. I forgot that in 1938 or ’37 the Club grounds were divided in half. We had a study made by an expert and they decided that the Club should keep only the ocean side front consisting of, I have forgotten the number of square feet. But they allowed the front part to be taken over and they built some stores on the avenue, remember?
KJP: Yeah, I recall.
TWGS: You’d have to walk through there to get to the Club. They did that because the financial condition of the Club was so bad they couldn’t keep it. The front area was transferred to Kingman, I believe it was.
KJP: That’s right. Remember the Bank of Hawaii had a little branch there. In fact I think Vin Danford was operating there once.
TWGS: Yes he was.
KJP: That’s interesting; it brings up one other thing that I had forgotten about until just this moment. Just vaguely I recall there was a shift of land there between the Uluniu Swimming Club and the Outrigger. Do you recall somewhere along the line where the Royal decided that we were making too much noise on the volleyball courts and the Uluniu was changed from one end of the property to the other closer to the Royal?
TWGS: I meant to bring that up before. There was a women’s club called the Uluniu Club. What you speak of is quite true. The women’s club was moved to the front, on the beach, next to the Royal Hawaiian. Where it was exactly in the back before I can’t tell you, but it’s been there as long as I can remember. They’ve always had this women’s club. I do remember now that you speak of it, that the Matson or the Royal objected to the noise which was going on over there so they moved the club up to the front. Now I don’t know if the club is still going. Do you know? The Uluniu Club?
KJP: No, the Uluniu Club lost their lease quite a few years ago. I imagine it’s been 12 or 15 years. Someone with foresight did manage to get property in Laie and they do have beach property over in Laie. And there is still an Uluniu Swimming Club as far as I know. We had a chance to continue but as we had a beach house close by we decided against it.
KJP: Well, ours is Kawailoa, its only 20 minute away.
TWGS: I had a place at Kawailoa at one time, too. Are you anywhere near Kawailoa Dr. (Thomas) Frissell?
KJP: Not too far. He’s my eye doctor.
TWGS: Mine, too.
KJP: He’s a little closer to Haleiwa. He’s a great fisherman; too he’s out there fishing every day off.
TWGS: He’s a scuba diver
KJP: He gets fish for the family.
TWGS: He comes down a little strong on me sometimes, but maybe I ask too many questions. Once he said, “Who do you think I am God?”
KJP: Well, I tell you Tom this has been great and we at the Outrigger thank you very much for your time and your tremendous memory of all these details of many, many years ago.
1. Punahou records show Singlehurst a student 1905-1918.
2. Lorrin P. Thurston was president 1928-30, followed by Roy Banks in 1930-31, G.W. Barnhart, Sr. in 1931-32; Edward W. Timberlake, who was president in 1934-35 attended Punahou 1910-13 and graduated from West Point in 1917. He retired from the Army as a general.
The plate given Singlehurst says Secretary-Treasurer 1930-1948.
3. Leslie Hicks was president in 1933-34 and again in 1943-45.
4. Walter Macfarlane was president 1937-43. The text of the Club history says his term started in 1939 but Ward Russell feels this is a typographical error as Walter Mac was president six years. He is listed as 1937-43 in the list of presidents in the history.
5. Sam Fuller was president 1955-56. He appointed a committee to study the offer from the Elks Club to lease half of their grounds near Diamond Head to the Outrigger. The lease was signed in 1956. The lease with the Elks Club was drawn up by attorney Wilford Godbold who had been president 1946-53.
6. The lease with the Elks Club has a reopening in 2011 after 55 years for renegotiation of the rent.
7. The Seaside Hotel cottages with a main dining building was in use before the Moana Hotel was built.
8. The Pawaa Junction store was run by Miss Jennie Johnson and her sister.
Reference: The Outrigger history published 1971
Thomas William Gibson Singlehurst was born on November 14, 1899 in Honolulu, the son of William Gibson and Katie Newcombe Singlehurst. He joined the Outrigger Canoe Club in 1908 and is still a member. Tom spent many years actively involved with the Outrigger Canoe Club as secretary-treasurer, and acting President.
He worked as an office boy at C. Brewer & Co. 1915; Bank of Hawaii 1918; office boy Hawaii Trust Co. 1919-20; clerk American Exchange National Bank (later merged Irving Trust Co.) New York City 1920 -22; Bishop Trust Company 1922 until retirement 1962, teller 1922, head accounting department 1922-24, assistant treasurer 1924-37, treasurer 1937, Vice President and treasurer 1938, senior vice President 1959-62, director 1954-62. Director and owner of Carol & Mary, Ltd. Since 1937, President, general manager and treasurer since 1959; past vice President and director Polynesian Food Specialities; director Ross Sutherland, Ltd. (past vice President, treasurer), past treasurer and director Ivy Shop; past President and director August Ahrens, Ltd, Wahiawa Transportation Service, Federal Transportation Company, Industrial Enterprises, Kailua Land company, past director Air Conditioning Co., Bishop Insurance Agency, Bishop Securities, Castle & Cooke, Hawaii Hotel & Restaurant Supply, Hawaiian Pineapple Company (now Dole Inc.) Diamond Head Apartments, Ewa Plantation Company, Honolulu Rapid Transit Co., Helemano Co., Honolulu Ltd, Honouliuli Ltd, Pacific Insurance Company, Von Hamm-Young Co., San Carlos Milling Co., Waialua Agr. Co., Pfc USA Signal Corps, Schofield Barracks, 1918-19; received victory Medal World War I.
Member Honolulu Police Reserve (which relieved military in World War II), Hawaiian Humane Society (past director, president), Hawaii Foundation for American Freedoms (director since 1956), Guide Dogs for the Blind (past treasurer and director Hawaii Chapter), Keys & Whistles (past treasurer and director), Hawaii Polo Association (past president, treasurer and director), past trustee Tax Foundation of Hawaii, past advisory board Hawaii Committee on Alcoholism. ClubTWGS: Pacific (past treasurer and director), Outrigger Canoe (past secretary, treasurer and director for 18 years), Pearl Harbor Yacht (past secretary-treasurer and director), Beretania Tennis, Punahou Tennis, Kauai Canoe & Racing. HobbieTWGS: calisthenics, swimming, horseback riding, gardening and tennis. Raised Thoroughbred horses at Crow Bar Ranch, Mokuleia, Oahu. Raises cattle at a Waialua Ranch. Republican, Episcopal. The Singlehurst daughters are: Mrs. Carl Bruce Mason (Jean) of Palo Alto, California, Mrs. Roy Fraser (Gay) of San Francisco, California, and Suanna a college student. Home: 68-540 Farrington Highway, Waialua, Oahu, 96791. Office: 220 Ala Moana Center, Honolulu 96814.
Reference: Men and Women of Hawaii 1972
ALOHA TO TOMMY
“Well done thou good
and faithful servant”
It seems that every organization has several faithful, hard working members to whom nothing is too hard or too much to do. The Outrigger Canoe Club is not unique in this respect as it has such a member in Thomas G. Singlehurst who has been an active member of the Club practically since founding.
“Tommy” as he is familiarly known to his host of friends is a Honolulu boy born here on November 14, 1899. His school career was in Punahou where he started as a grade student, matriculating finally in the Senior Academy. There he took part in track activities and football as well as other sports.
Tommy is married and has two daughters. He is a member of the Pacific Club, Honolulu Chamber of Commerce, Kailua Racquet Club, the Keys and Whistle and several other organizations to each of which he has contributed his share of work and energy.
When asked, “When did you join the Club”? he replied, “Seems, I have always belonged but I must have been around 1908”. As there to be as accurate records we can assume he was practically a charter member. “Tommy” the boy, took part in all of the activities of the beach; swimming, surfing, canoeing, sailing and when the Club organized a track team he was one of a relay team with “Junky” Crozier. “Butt Smith and DeBoise Stanley who made history by winning under the OCC colors. Again, when football was organized he played end on the OCC team.Then and in later years he participated in intra-club and inter-club volleyball, giving this up only when World War II took him into home defense activities.
He volunteered at the time of World War I, enlisting in the Regular Army of the U.S.A. and in World War II, too old to fight was a commissioned officer in the Honolulu Police Reserve, serving all during the trying war years.
In 1930 Tom was elected to the OCC Board of Directors and acting as treasurer from 1930 and in 1939 as secretary-treasurer until July, 1948 when the Board regretfully accepted his resignation. No one can evaluate the services he has rendered. His occupation being that of Vice president and treasurer of the Bishop Trust Company and a director of Waialua Agricultural Co. Ewa Plantation. San Carlos Milling Co. and the Honolulu Rapid Transit Co. His knowledge advice and ability to analyze finances as well as his strict honesty of purpose and unswering determination to do the right thing for the Club have given the Club a “good and faithful servant”.
The OCC has not always been the progressive, successful Club it is today with a bank balance and a reserve. Many dark and dreary years have passed when taxes were due; rent not available, overdrafts in the bank, members in arrears and the tenure seemingly hopeless. All during these gray days it was Tommy who wanted to know “Where is the money coming from.” He watched the treasurer like a hawk and at one period he and his wife kept the books for three years in order to save the Club the expense. These are but a few of his services. Always on hand at meetings, always up to date in his records, always ready with sound advice and counsel. How can we thank him?
We can only try, we say again, “Well done this good and faithful servant”. Your reward must be in the satisfaction of a job well done, in the respect and friendship of the many associates you have had these past long years. We hope, now that your arduous duties have been lifted in respect to the Club that you will find time to enjoy the sun and the sand and the water and your many, many Club friends.