This oral history interview is a project of the Historical Committee of the Outrigger Canoe Club. The legal right to 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 Alex H. F. Castro
June 7, 1982
AC: This is Alex Castro (AC). We are conducting an interview this afternoon June 7, 1982, with John Cline Mann (JCM), a long-time member of the Outrigger Canoe Club. We are sitting in the Outrigger dining room and it is now five o’clock in the afternoon, the water is very malie and there are a few waves out on the reef. Now we go to the interview. Cline, how did you first become interested in the Outrigger Canoe Club?
JCM: I became interested originally as a kid, being brought to the Club by my father who was a member for many, many years. I did not become a member at that time during my schooling in Honolulu mainly because I indulged in sports at Punahou School and on weekends we went to Mokuleia Beach, where we had a beach home from 1927, every weekend and practically every summer, so that at the time I went off to college I was not a member. I didn’t become a member until after World War II, and a few months later, in 1946, I did become a member. I joined as a regular member in February 1946. My Dad was one of my sponsors; my other sponsor was our family doctor who brought me into this world, Dr. Guy C. Milnor, a longtime member of the Club.
From the time I joined I participated in volleyball, and swimming and all the activities of the Club. I did not, however, compete in paddling nor other team sports representing the Club. I participated from the very beginning on various committees, I believe every single committee except the House Committee, and my participation in committee work continued from 1946 up to 1960, at which time I was nominated to the Board of Directors of the Outrigger Canoe Club and was elected 1960, February. I was immediately given a jolt by being elected the Secretary of the Club, which was rather an unheard of thing for freshmen directors. I had many friends on the Board at that time: Past Presidents (Wilford) Godbold, (Vincent) Danford, (Herbert ‘Yabo”) Taylor, Marty Anderson, just to think of four past presidents who joined in the railroad of my being nominated and selected as Secretary.
AC: Did you resent being nominated, or were you just merely surprised?
JCM: I was more than surprised, I was shocked! But I was not resentful. I was told by my colleagues that they wanted me and they sincerely expressed that, and I assumed the job in that light. It was a rather frightening experience to come in and have to be the Secretary without any real background except my participation since 1946.
The first thing I did, however, was to get permission to take home the volumes containing all the minutes of the Board of Directors beginning with the special meeting of the Outrigger Canoe Club on July, 1939, which was the date on which the Club really was reorganized for the purpose of building a new Club, at what we now call the old site. I prefer to call that the ‘old new club’ or the ‘new old club’.
If you recall, the Club was founded in 1908. The first five years was on a rather informal lease arrangement with the trustee of the Queen Emma Estate. In 1913 we were given a 25-year lease, which lease expired in 1938. The next lease the Club had was really a sublease from Matson which took over the premises from the Queen Emma Estate on the makai side of Kalakaua, so we became a tenant of Matson Navigation Company. In 1939, a year after that lease, the Club was ready to begin its financing and membership campaign to put together funds for the then ‘new old club’.
It happened that my Dad was elected at the Board of Directors meeting of July, 1939, and was named the Chairman of the Building Committee, which had charge of the planning and the building of what I call the ‘old new club’. The Club was completed in December 1940 and from that point on I visited the Club on numerous occasions with my family, as a guest. I believe it was Kamehameha Day of June, 1941, when the Club premises were officially dedicated.
Shortly after that I went off to college, the War came, I did not return until after the War was pau, at which time I was immediately brought to the Club by my Dad who saw that I was properly sponsored and within a very short time was elected to membership. As I said, I participated in all the camaraderie and social, athletic functions of the Club all along consuming rather large quantities of beer with my friends on the Hau Terrace, and having a hell of a good time from the years 1946 to 1960.
AC: But you were never in the competitive…in any of the competitive teams, is that correct?
JCM: That’s correct. I served on the Canoe Committee and the Volleyball Committee under people like (Harold) “Dope” Yap and others. At the same time I was a member of the Board of Directors and the Secretary of it, and I also was named to the Planning Committee. The Planning Committee had been functioning for several years from the time the Club entered into a lease with the Elks Club, a 99-year lease commencing November 15, 1956, to occupy one-half of the former Castle property. There were many people who voted for that particular lease at the time it came up for membership approval who, nevertheless thought that we would never ever occupy those premises but would, instead, find some way to remain at the old site.
The Committee continued under the chairmanship of “Bus” (Ulrich J.) Rainalter who was a member of the Board of Directors and the Vice President, and at the end of my first year on the Board “Bus” was off and out of the Board of Directors and I was named his successor as chairman of that committee. Some time after I was elected I discovered that many of those who had promoted my election were rather prominent in a group which sought to remain at the old premises. I did not know this, but it wasn’t very long after my being elected that I realized from all the evidence that remaining at the old site was simply not feasible for many reasons, not only economically, but the tremendous changes that had come upon that particular center of Waikiki which occurred after the end of World War II and the advent of big promotion of tourism at the Royal Hawaiian and at the Moana Hotel, and shortly thereafter other hotels in Waikiki. And it just seemed to me that the Club atmosphere we had enjoyed all those many years could not possibly survive in competition with the other factors that were so dominant.
At that time the Club was dedicated in 1940, the Club had what is called a Club License – club liquor license. One of the provisions of that type of license is that sales cannot be made to any except members or guest members. Something very difficult to police unless we had a credit system but, of course, you remember we didn’t. Cash from the beginning was the usual method of paying – of course it had to be during the war and continued in all those post-war years up to the time we were making those decisions in 1960, 1961 and 1962.
One of the very bad features that the Club experienced was after Sheraton purchased the Royal Hawaiian and Moana properties in 1958, and shortly thereafter Sheraton got the Club to approve the building of a boardwalk between the Royal and the Moana and this allowed pedestrian traffic on the beach instead of just on Kalakaua Avenue, and the Club was open from the Mauka end to the makai end with people coming in and out who had no business being on the premises. They could pass into the Hau Terrace, sit down, purchase booze, and pay cash. This was one of the bad features we were experiencing at that time. Shortly before we moved down here, however, the Board of Directors put a stop to that situation and we did cut it off, but the point is that we were a target of…we were a place that people wanted to go to whether they were members or not. The hotels promoted it. Everybody wanted to go to the Outrigger Canoe Club and enjoy the scenery and the pretty girls for good prices and to pay cash.
More and more each day, each week, even month the Club’s whole image and atmosphere changed from one that was strictly Club to something that was semi-public and this had a very adverse effect upon the membership and had a very direct effect upon subsequent decisions to not remain at that site. The Board of Directors had directed the Planning Committee to continue investigating the possibility of highrise development at the new site at the Elks Club, and this we did for many, many months. And I should remind you the only means of financing such an arrangement was a co-op because the Act which provided for the Horizontal Property Regime had not been instituted.
At the same time we were talking about planning of facilities even just in schematics for this Elks Club site, there were pressures on the Board of Directors by developers, or potential developers, or pseudo developers, to remain at and develop the old site. One, in particular, I remember was John Avent who made a deal with the Board of Directors prior to my getting on which would have him purchase the last couple of years of our sublease at the old site, for a premium, and in addition he would assist in expediting the planning process for a building to be built down here at the Elks Club site. Eventually that scheme fizzled and it’s always burned me up because of the fact that we had to liquidate some of our Building Fund, at a time when the market was depressed, to pay for architectural renderings, et cetera, et cetera, and of course, the whole thing came to a screaming halt later on when it turned out that Avent was not the substantial developer that he had made himself out to be. As you know, the Waikiki Development Company had taken over the lease of all Queen Emma properties, including the Outrigger Canoe Club, subject, of course, to the remaining leases in favor of Matson and the sublease in favor of the Outrigger Canoe Club.
AC: About this time do you recall approximately the condition of our sublease? That is, how long it had to go?
JCM: As I said, I was elected in 1960 and our sublease had until October 30, 1963, to go, so we were faced at that time with something like a little over three and one-half years to make up our minds and do it. So it was not very much time.
AC: Did you know what the new rent might be if we were to remain at the old site?
JCM: I don’t recall the conditions. But at the time, I remember, it seemed way beyond our ability to pay. Because, even then, there was nobody who had taken over the old premises. As it turned out the successful lessee of the property was Roy Kelley who eventually, as we know, built a hotel upon the site and named it the Outrigger. But we had nobody to deal with at that time. Everything was very up in the air.
At any rate, through the year 1960 up to May, 1962, my committee tried desperately to come up with some concept at the Elks Club which would include highrise facilities and a club – all this at the direction of the Board of Directors. Now this was getting down to within eighteen months of the end of our lease, and finally on May 17, 1962, the Board of Directors instructed my committee to stop all planning which involved a highrise development and to proceed forthwith, and with dispatch, to design and finance a new club only and we embarked upon that the very, very next day.
AC: For the Elks Club site.
JCM: For the Elks Club site.
AC: The date is about what?
JCM: May 17, 1962.
JCM: May 17, 1962. Our committee of six – I think I can remember, Ward Russell, myself, Tom Walls, Hal Whitaker, Dickey Thacker and Walter Collins, was the Planning Committee. We had a companion committee which was called the Beach Development Committee chaired by Keith Wallace. Also on the committee was myself and General (Donald M.) Schmuck, and all those gentlemen were charged with proceeding forthwith with the development of the new facilities.
We had very little time to do it, but at the very outset General Schmuck expressed his feeling, and we all followed, that the Club would be ready for a party on Christmas Day (1963) for the membership. Even if the Club was not completely finished, at least it would be in such shape that we would be able to enjoy a party, and that was the goal we had – beginning May 18, 1962.
AC: So you had eighteen months to get a feasibility study of what the Club needed, put the plans together on paper, get the thing up, and have a Christmas party. And you started from absolute scratch. How did you do it?
JCM: Well, I might just outline the things that had to be done. The first thing we did was outline what we had to do. The first thing was the development of a rather brief, but articulate program. This involved a membership utility of a certain number of people based upon a total membership of X number of people and a factor which allowed for the utility of those people. In other words, if we had 1,500 people in the Club, roughly 500 people are using it all the time, and we decided that the factor would…we’d use the same factor, because everything was all guess work – use the same factor of utility which was in use, or which was apparently the factor at the old Club. Of course, these were all guess figures because you never know what those factors would be until after you build a new club. For example, we could have been completely wrong by developing a club which suddenly was so beautiful and so delightful and then the prices of the food were so reasonable and the service so good that instead of having 500 or 33% utility, suddenly we had instead 56%. Then we’d find ourselves with wall-to-wall people with no room for them. These are the hazards of planning. On the other hand, if our quality was so bad, the service so poor, the food so expensive and the dues so high that we went from 33% down to 15% of course, we would have been defeated, also. So everything was guess work, and we just hoped that the good Lord would smile on us.
So, the first thing was a program. This was done within a week and we got approval of the Board of Directors almost immediately. The architects had already been selected, the firm of Val Ossipoff, and a companion firm of Wimberly, Whisenend, Allison & Tong. We decided earlier, of course, that the primary architect for design was Val Ossipoff and the specification writing would come from the other firm. Val, himself, took the lead in the design, which is what we wanted. If you know people like Val, when he sees a site, and sees a potential he puts himself into it like no other architect can. He was in love with the site from the very first day, which made it very easy for us to get work out of the firm.
The next thing, of course, was the preparation of schematics – traffic flow particularly – intermingling of cars and walk-ins, and locker traffic, and swimmers, and snack bar traffic and dining room traffic, and all those intricate things that only somebody like Val Ossipoff can solve – at the same time having a beautiful club. We decided that we would do our best within our means to produce something of high quality without skimping on anything.
This gets to finances. Beginning in 1958 you remember that in those days the Federal Excise Tax on club dues was still in effect. The Board of Directors (this was in 1958 before I was on the Board) had provided for a supplement to income by cutting forth on an assessment to all regular members. So in addition to dues there was an assessment for building purposes and under the IRS regulations then in force that assessment among was non-taxable – however, the dues were. (It wasn’t until) 1964 that Congress dumped the tax, so it really had the effect of reducing the amount of money that most people call dues.)
However, in 1945 the Board had promoted an amendment to the Bylaws which provided for a Building Fund and Committee whose job it was to accumulate funds from profits from operations, and this particular committee functioned very beautifully during the war years when the Club was very highly profitable. I should say from 1945, ’46, ’47, ’48 perhaps, at which time the revenues of the Club declined and we were in another bind, but a Building Fund had been started, had been nurtured by Les Hicks and his people, and this came largely from the initial profits from operations plus dividends and bond interest. We were faced with that particular growing fund plus the accumulations of the assessments to the year 1963 when we anticipated moving into this spot.
So, we saw roughly a club that looked like it was going to cost about a million and a quarter dollars, and we had funds in the Building Fund estimated to come to about $700,000 which meant that we had to borrow roughly $550,000. We were very fortunate at this time of having on the Board of Directors a person by the name of Charles Pietsch, Jr., who had demonstrated a knack of obtaining financing for projects such as the Kahala Hilton, and it was largely through his efforts that the two lead banks – Bishop Bank and Bank of Hawaii – were prevailed upon to lend the Club $500,000. We didn’t think we’d need the other $50,000 at the time. We eventually did borrow it, and paid it off on a short term note so we had to design and build the Club costing $1,250,000.
Before describing the four phases of beach development, it is necessary to establish some background.
The 1927 Territorial Legislature passed an act to improve the beach and submerged land of Waikiki lying between the then existing mean highwater mark and the reef, beginning at what is now the channel into Ala Wai Yacht Harbor and extending towards Diamond Head to the southerly boundary of the Elks Club. An agreement involving the government and all abutting property owners and lessees was executed and recorded in 1928. The funds appropriated were totally inadequate for the scope of the project, consequently during the ensuing 35 years the government was able to improve only a few relatively small areas, primarily at City-owned Kuhio Beach, and in 1956 Henry Kaiser developed a considerable portion of the public domain fronting the old Niumalu Hotel in return for title to reclaimed land now a part of Hilton Hawaiian Village.
We clearly recognized that the chances of the government improving our section fronting upon privately-owned land were absolutely nil. The only way beach improvements could be made would require our own efforts and funding. We initially hoped that we could devise an arrangement whereby the Outrigger Canoe Club would accomplish the task as an agent of the Government acting pursuant to the 1927 Act and 1923 Agreement. Accordingly we offered a formal proposal and conferred on numerous occasions in early 1962 with State Attorney General Shiro Kashiwa and Assistant Attorney General Rodger Betts. Both of them were most cooperative, but eventually we were informed that our proposal was not acceptable. Our project would require a special agreement involving the Board of Land and Natural Resources, the Department of Transportation (Harbors Division), the abutting owners (the Darrows and the Elks) and the respective lessees (Colony Surf and Outrigger Canoe Club). Construction plans would require the approval of the said two governmental agencies and, in addition, the U. S. Corps of Engineers.
The draft of the agreement prepared by Judge Wilford Godbold underwent several rather unsubstantial revisions in order to meet the approval of the Attorney General. In late April 1962 a final draft received verbal approval. Meanwhile the construction drawings for the first stage of improvements had been prepared and governmental approval received. A contract had been recently signed with Hawaiian Dredging, prior authority having been granted by the membership at the annual meeting of February 1962. Construction could not commence however until all parties had signed the all-important agreement, and the government agencies insisted on signing last.
It was my task to get the signatures and acknowledgements of all the private parties. The OCC was easy, since only the president and secretary were required. Likewise Mr. and Mrs. Darrow. Colony Surf presented a minor problem. John Barkhorn, as president, was readily available; the secretary was his recently divorced wife, Dorothy, not always in the office, and this situation caused a few days delay.
The Elks were something else. Although their Board of Trustees had earlier granted enthusiastic approval (naturally, since they would be beneficiaries without financial obligation), the Lodge rules required that all five must sign. We did not want to wait until their next board meeting several weeks hence, particularly since there was no assurance that all five would be in attendance. Consequently, I had to chase the trustees down, one at a time. the first four were personal friends of mine who cooperated beautifully. Nevertheless obtaining four individual signatures was time consuming, requiring at least one week. The fifth director, a first class turkey, didn’t like the OCC, so he played hard-to-get for several more days. Meanwhile I had informed Hawaiian Dredging that they could commence construction on a specific date being reasonably confident that by that date I would have succeeded in obtaining all private and governmental signatures. My plan went awry, however, thanks to the fifth Elks trustee, and the contractor actually jumped the gun. This did not escape the attention of the chief of the Harbors Division, who blew his whistle after one day of dredging, which was suspended for another day or two while I finally got the last two (governmental) signatures, and the document dated May 7, 1962. Considerable quantities of beer were justifiably consumed by this Beach Development Committee: Wallace, Schmuck, Russell and Mann.
Thus the first phase of beach development was already a week or so under way when on May 17, 1962, the OCC Board of Directors made its all important decision to develop a club-only facility at the new site.
The beach plan was enlarged from Phase 1, to Phase 2, 3, and 4 over the next year and a half to include in addition, a coral base in front of the Elks property and the construction of a low rock wall at the Diamond Head side of the Elks property, construction of a blue rock groin at the Honolulu side of the Darrow property. Almost from the beginning the first wall, namely the one on the Diamond Head side of the Elks, was covered over with sand, and there are very few people today who know that it is in existence, but both walls are required for the stability of the beach that was eventually built.
I might, at this particular point, say that we discovered something apparently that many people had known many years before, that was this land of Kapua on which we are situated is in fact a large sand dune which extends all the way from the Kaimana Hotel boundary – which is owned by the McInernys – all the way to Coconut Avenue and extends all the way up to the limestone cliffs where the old heiau used to be and, of course, La Pietra in more recent years. All of this sand lay below about a foot and a half layer of dirt and we were able to plan for, and subsequently did get, approximately 11,000 cubic yards of beautiful beach sand just from the excavation of this particular property that we are on. All of this became a part of the public domain when it was placed on the beach, and to make up much of the void where we had taken the sand we enlarged the dredging of the lagoon so that the coral taken from the lagoon could go back and replace the sand that had been removed.
The intent of my description of the land of Kapua was to say that we knew from excavations by the State, the City, and others in the vicinity, such as pipe lines, water lines, sewer lines, that much sand was available and we had tested this particular site and knew that sand was available eventually at such time that we would actually get to the beach construction, as opposed to the initial dredging.
AC: O.K. So I gather that with this construction that was started you had the clearance to borrow the money and go ahead. Is that correct?
JCM: That’s right. The sum and substance of the meeting of November, 1962, was what the membership was pleased with the plans as presented, and when request was made for authority – the Board was given authority to proceed with the final plans, let the construction out to bid, to execute a contract for a total cost not to exceed $1,200,000, and to borrow such funds and would be required.
AC: Was there any static from a large vocal minority, or did it go through pretty clearly – pretty smoothly?
JCM: That particular meeting went through pretty smoothly. I can only say that it was because of the careful planning that went in and the finesse with which the architect depicted the beautiful club which would be someday on the site. Now, this was November, 1962. Mind you, we had to be out…our lease goes to October 30th (1963). Even then we were making plans to extend our tenure on that site.
AC: This was November, 1963?
JCM: 1963 – extend the term of our tenure with whomever the new lessee might be. It turned out that it was Roy Kelley, a member of the Outrigger Canoe Club also, and I can’t remember the date at which time we proposed this to him, but the bottom line was that he had no firm plans to occupy the premises as of October 30th or 31st, 1963. He had no plans as yet, and we entered into an agreement with Roy to extend our tenure there at the site for two full months to December 31st, 1963. This gave the Planning Committee extra time. Of course, we needed it – although we had already promised ourselves that we were going to have a party on Christmas Day of 1963.
Well, we were faced with a very, very severe time frame and it became very obvious that we would have to make special plans to construct the facility in phases. A very clever arrangement was devised by General Schmuck, who at that time was high level employee with Hawaiian Dredging Company, and he was instrumental in having Hawaiian Dredging Company, through its President, Lowell Dillingham, propose to the Outrigger Canoe Club that it would be in the Club’s best interest to do as much site work at the site prior to asking for bids from the general contractor. As it turned out, it was true, and we saved about two months. What this meant was, the old structures on the entire site would be cleared and the basic excavation on the site be completed so that any contractor who would bid on the club facilities would be faced with an absolutely immaculate, clean site to start with.
At the same time the next beach development stage could go on. Meanwhile all the time the plans were being completed so we weren’t wasting any time at all – we were saving it. The Board of Directors was very impressed by this proposal, so Lowell Dillingham’s suggestion was approved by the Board of Directors and within a matter of a few weeks we had entered into a contract for the second phase of the beach development which involved the building of the beautiful groin on the town side of the Colony Surf, the enlarging of the dredging area, the clearing/demolishing of all the old buildings and the excavating. This involved removing every single tree, vine and shrub on the old premises with one exception, and that is the monkeypod which is on the left hand side of the premises as one comes in. Of course, from the very beginning we had planned that a substantial portion of our budget would be for new landscaping to take the place of all the trees that had to be removed. So, as we moved into January and February 1963 the site was cleared the second phase of beach development was complete – we were ready to go to bid, and the bids were in the hands of the contractors at the time of the Annual Meeting of the membership of the Outrigger Canoe Club in February, 1963.
AC: So now you are ten months away from the Christmas party and we don’t have a club up yet. O.K.?
JCM: We haven’t started it yet.
AC: That’s right.
JCM: I should back up just briefly to say that shortly after the Special Meeting of the membership of November, 1962, the Board went ahead to secure financing. Charlie Pietsch, on our Board, was very instrumental in getting two banks to commit to a half-million dollar loan. I might give you the terms for your information. The terms were $500,000, repayment period 15 years, with no points, and interest at the rate of 6¼ % per annum.
AC: Oh, that’s very nice, very nice.
JCM: Which was…the mere fact that a club was able to secure financing in the first place was enough to shock a lot of people. The terms of that particular loan were even more shocking.
AC: About one-third the amount of interest you would have to pay today, if you could get the loan.
JCM: Exactly. We didn’t make use of that loan until many months later, and the idea was that we would first liquidate the fund that we had and then call upon the loan to finish the project. But, I announced to the membership at the February, 1963, Annual Meeting that the contractors had possession of the plans and specifications, and we had decided to give them all a decent amount of time so that all the factors relating to the project would be well known to all – the hope, of course, being that we would get very favorable bids.
At the same time the Planning Committee discerned that one of our colleagues on the Board, George Freitas, certainly regarded as one of the top contractors in all of Hawaii, was impressed, or at least he seemed to be impressed, with the plans that he was called upon to approve. He was impressed by the manner in which the architect presented the new plans to the Special Meeting and we all felt that George would want to build the Club. It appeared to be a prestigious project; it appeared to have all the quality that we would be very proud of owning. So the day for the opening the bids was a very important day in our lives, and that was in the third week in March, 1963, and the good Lord smiled upon us again – the lowest bid was, in fact, Pacific construction (Freitas) and the bid that they offered was considerably below what we had budgeted. My recollection is something on the order of $80,000.
AC: Less, than your budget.
JCM: Less than our budget. We had a bit of celebration on the part of the committee. We had lunch and numerous cocktails at nearby Trader Vic’s.
I should go back and state that immediately after the Annual Meeting of the membership of February, 1963, it seemed desirable that the old Planning Committee be reorganized. What happened was, we amalgamated the Planning Committee and the Beach Development Committee into one and called it the Building Committee. Two members of the former Planning Committee dropped off, Hal Whitaker and Dickey Thacker, leaving as the Building Committee myself, Ward Russell, Tom Wells, Keith Wallace, General Schmuck and Walter Collins.
The Board of Directors authorized the officers to execute a contract with Pacific Construction – the construction to start on or about April first, 1963, and the Membership Committee of the Club in conjunction with the Board of Directors decided that, that would be a fine time to have a party for the membership. Accordingly, a party was planned at the bare new site on a given Sunday. People could come in and park on the cleared site and under a tent, drink beer, see the surf, see the canoes, and all about the new site so they’d have a good idea of what was in store for them in the next eight or nine months; and the very next day, April first, as I recall, the contractor moved in and commenced constructing the new Club.
The good Lord favored us over the next ensuing nine months with almost perfect weather. Only one day in the next nine months did it rain hard enough so that the contractor had to suspend operations. At one time we were threatened with a loss of one day of pouring concrete because HC&D (the concrete sub-contractor) was having a strike which was going to be one, two, three days, nobody seemed to now, but on an hour’s notice we told the contractor in no uncertain terms that we were not going to sit by and let one day go by, that he had to seek concrete from another supplier so that he wouldn’t miss that particular pour which happened to be about the fourth level of the parking and he succeeded in getting Pacific Concrete to supply them for that particular day and they didn’t lose a single hour. We were very lucky.
One of the big things that we wanted was for many reasons – mainly psychological – but we wanted the membership eventually to come down to the Club and be faced with a club that looked like it had been here for many years. We didn’t want it to look like a brand new club which meant that the trees that came in could not be of the young variety. For example, we would not bring in coconuts like we did – my Dad did – down at the old new site where the conventional way of planting a coconut was to put the coconut in the ground with about two or three feet sprouting above and let nature take its course over the next 25 years. We decided that the coconut that would be brought in – eventually we were to plant 80 of them – would all have to be at least 25 years old. These we got very cheaply because normally people try to get rid of coconuts. The major cost in planting tall coconuts is, of course, the labor and machinery costs, namely the flat bed trailers and the crane, the labor cost also. We were able to install all of our coconuts at $100 a piece, and I understand that $300 or $400 is the going rate nowadays.
But I am getting ahead of my story. Mrs. Robert Thompson, otherwise known as Kitty, we had engaged as our consultant in landscaping, and we had a budget of about $20,000 to $22,000 which couldn’t take you very far in 1982, but in 1963 we got a lot for our money. I mentioned the 80 coconut trees. She was the one who laid out the original plan. We wanted the coconuts placed in such a way that it would look like we had planted a new building amongst an existing coconut grove. We also had to preserve the old Hau Terrace concept. This was not as easy. We had to transplant haus in their slip form – when I say slip, I mean cutting form, although they were mature. The first nine haus we brought in were about twelve feet tall, about six or eight inches in caliper, and they came directly from the Tantalus area – about one quarter mile down Round Top Drive from Roy Bush’s house. These eventually went in just as one plants hibiscus. Hau is actually a member of the hibiscus family – and we stuck them in the ground and hoped for the best, and I guess I took the brunt of it because it was promptly and immediately labeled Cline Mann’s folly. Well, I might be getting ahead of the story, but those particular haus were planted in December and showed no growth at all until April or May of 1964 at which time leaves did appear on at least six of them and three had to be eliminated. Eventually two more had to be eliminated and were replaced by hau trees that we had already anticipated using by having them growing in Makiki Nursery, and these were brought in at about two-inch caliper and subsequently developed into big trees and, of course, the roof over the Hau Terrace is now virtually a forest.
AC: Representing nine years of growth, and a little bit less for some of the ones you had to replace.
JCM: Yes. One of the other features of trying to meet this particular deadline was that it wasn’t until September that we got around to selecting furniture and furnishings, and here again we had…we followed our previous formula of going with quality and we were very impressed with the John McGuire furniture – as expensive as it was – but it seemed to be the quality we wanted and within our budget, and we thought we could get it in time. Here again we were lucky. The John McGuire furniture, which was all of the chairs in the dining room and the bar are – I forget what you call the stuff….
JCM: Rattan, with leather thongs. They all had to come from the orient. The upholstery all had to come from San Francisco and how we maintained our luck I will never know, but the two freighters carrying the two loads arrived in Honolulu a day apart and we decided that rather than have our contractor, Western Interiors, take all of the stuff from the pier to his warehouse for assembly, we decided to have him do his assembling at the Outrigger Canoe Club and the dining room was sufficiently complete in December for use as a night warehouse and assembly area. (Laugh).
JCM: Yeah, and we must have saved several days there, but we needed every day in order to get to the very important Christmas party.
AC: All right now, we are all furnished and we’ve got big trees in, and it is just about Christmas time? Are we ready for the party?
JCM: Yes. We’ve gotten all of our landscaping in also, and we substantially invested in quite a number of trees on the Elks Club side of the premises ostensibly to hide our ugly building from their sight!
JCM: And these are, of course, the big, huge brassaie trees that you see along the property as you come in, and the idea was to provide a virtual impenetrable wall so that we could not see the Elks Club.
AC: Presumably you had your kitchen in.
JCM: The kitchen was in, the bar was complete, substantially. The kitchen was complete to the point that they could make pupu and produce drinks for a cocktail party only at Christmas time, and fortunately we were blessed with beautiful weather and the membership attended in droves. We had a dozen parking boys to make it easier to come in and out and we required – needed every one of them. I believe that the reaction of the membership was very good. I think they were very pleased with what they saw and we were very proud that we were able to meet our deadline that we had self-imposed.
AC: Well that was quite an undertaking, Cline, and you made your deadline, and everybody was in, and of course there were many finishing touches. When was the kitchen actually ready for meals?
JCM: Well, you remember that we were on the premises of the old Club to midnight of December 31, 1963, at which time we had fire crackers and tears as everybody said goodbye to the – here again, I like to say the new old Club, or the old new Club. January first, second, and third was a period in which no one – no member – could be on either of the two premises. These three days were required for a transition from one site to the other and I must say that Don Ross, our manager at that time, did a super job, so that on Saturday, January 4th, the Club opened for the first time here on the new site.
AC: That’s great. Now let’s stop there, Cline. I’d like to depart from your building story unless you have any other things to add at the moment and go back a little way. When we were talking about the clearing of the land you mentioned the name of Kapua as being a sand dune. Is that an ancient name or a name of a part, or just this particular area? How did that name evolve? I know you have a reputation, not only of being a historian of the Club, but quite an historian of the land of Hawaii and in your capacity as a surveyor it might come naturally, but I am sure you can fill us in about Kapua.
JCM: Well, I think we should start with what the land divisions were in Hawaii. We are talking about sections called ahupua’a. These are sections that were designated 500 to 600 years ago by ancient Hawaiians based on topographical features, ridges, water courses and the like, but an ahupua’a can be anything from the smallest, something like two to three acres in Lahaina, to the largest, Kahuku, in Ka’u on the Island of Hawaii – something like 190,000 acres. So you have roughly 1,200 ahupua’a in all of Hawaii ranging from two acres to 190,000 acres in size. These were designated, as I have said, about 500 or 600 years ago and they were named also at that period of time. Many of the ahupua’a have subdivisions called ‘ilis. Now, on this island we have about 80 ahupua’a and one of them is the ahupua’a of Waikiki, and it comes as a great surprise to most people, newcomers and old timers alike, to realize that the name Waikiki is not in its ancient sense what is commonly known as Waikiki today in the tourist/malihini sense. The common definition of Waikiki to the media and the tourist bureau and other associated with it is an area bounded by the Ala Wai Canal and Kapahulu Avenue. Waikiki in its ancient sense is all the land extending from about, in general terms, where Ward Avenue is all the way out to Hawaii Kai including Kuliouou, which is stopping short of Bishop Estate’s land at Maunalua. It extends from the sea to the top of Koolau range, roughly 22,000 acres, and in those 22,000 acres are about 80 or 90 ‘ilis – as I mentioned earlier, subdivisions. In Waikiki one of the ‘ilis had the name of Kekio, and Kekio is pretty much like most of the ‘ilis in Waikiki – as a matter of fact most of the ‘ilis in any ahupua’a are comprised of more than one piece.
One of the pieces of the ‘ili is what is known as a lele, a piece – a detached piece. The lele here is called Kapua and it is bounded by the sea on the makai side and by the limestone cliffs on the mauka side – roughly where La Pietra is, La Pietra being in the ‘ili of Kapahulu.
AC: And we are in the…
JCM: We are in the ‘ili of Kekio and this particular lele of it is called Kapua. The boundary on the north side runs along the face of the Kaimana Beach Hotel,that is where the old Pacific Commercial Cable lot was. As I recall, it is about 20 feet wide. When the cable company went out of existence, the next property owner to the south, which is the McInerny family, purchased it and so it’s all McInerny now. It’s under lease to Kaimana Hotel. On the south side the boundary is roughly where Coconut Avenue is, and this particular site that we are on is a large sand dune and evidence of that is revived continually whenever you see contractors digging trenches. Inevitably out comes white sand. Now, the boundary between Kapua and the next land to the North, namely Kaneloa, which is crown land, is an old watercourse. You don’t see it now because it has long since been intercepted by Kapiolani Park, but now anybody knows that after a rain what used to be the runoff from mauka to the sea is now commonly called “Lake Kapiolani”.
AC: Yeah. (Laugh).
JCM: Kids take their surfboard out and have a ball.
AC: That’s because the park has intercepted or overrun the natural water course.
JCM: That’s correct. Now that watercourse, thousands of years ago of course, contributed, or was the factor, which opened up the reef and the lagoon which is known as the Sans Souci lagoon and the Sans Souci channel which on ancient maps is called the “Kapua Entrance”. Everybody knows that when you have fresh water exiting you have a channel that goes out through the reef.
AC: Coral can’t grow…
JCM: Coral cannot grow in fresh water. Now it’s that very channel that we utilized in breaking through and in creating our lagoon, so that we utilized the old ancient channel out. Of course, those who swim and sail all the time can see every day the remains of two very good cables originally installed by Pacific Commercial Cable. The cable station here was the terminal of the line that went to Midway and west to the Orient.
Now, another land of interest was the land of Kaluaokau which was one of the lands of William Charles Lunalilo and that is the site of the old original Outrigger Canoe Club. As it turned out in the Mahele, Kaluaokau was one of William Lunalilo’s lands, but a portion of it was bequeathed to his very close friend Emma, and Emma was one of the few people that had made bequests too.
AC: Emma Rooke, who was the queen of Kamehameha IV….
JCM: That’s right. Queen Emma who was, of course, a widow at the time. He described the land as his marine residence. Well, there was a challenge almost immediately by the trustees of the Lunalilo Trust as to what constituted a marine residence because the Emma trustee wanted to interpret that description as being all of Kaluaokau which includes all of the land mauka of Kalakaua Avenue where the International Market Place is, and all the Queen Emma lands where all of those hotels are up Kuhio Avenue, et cetera, and it went to the Supreme Court for a decision. The net result is that the Queen Emma trustee took possession of all the land of Kaluaokau including his actual residence and all of the taro patches and the Kula lands that supported it.
AC: Where was his…do you recall where his residence was in terms of present day landmarks?
JCM: Pretty much where the Market Place is.
AC: The Market Place there off Kuhio…
JCM: Off Kalakaua, mauka side.
AC: Off Kalakaua, I see.
AC: Between Kalakaua and Kuhio.
JCM: That’s right, and more toward Kalakaua.
You will recall that a group of trustees representing those who founded the Outrigger Canoe Club dealt with Bruce Cartwright who was the then sole trustee of the Queen Emma Estate, and it was through his efforts that we got the lease. Among the Outrigger trustees that I can think of were J. P. Cooke, who is now dead but he was one of the engineers of that first informal lease for five years and then the subsequent 25-year lease that terminated in 1938.
AC: Cline, do you have any theories as to how the name of Waikiki evolved to the beach area alone that is in popular use?
AC: Part of Lunalilo’s or….
JCM: No. No. There were types of people speaking of Waikiki. You have those who were charged with lands…charged with knowing the names of lands, custodians of lands who knew intimately what and where each ahupua’a was. They are in the very small minority. Mostly you are dealing with the ordinary commoner, the layman, who latches on to a name and first thing you know it becomes a popular name, and then it becomes a restricted usage of it. even the very first travelers spoke about going out to Waikiki – out to Waikiki, even then, going out as if they were going out to the bathing area without regard to what the Mahele book says Waikiki embraces. It’s hard for people to realize that anybody up mauka in Manoa is in Waikiki, and yet S. P. Kalama, one of the brilliant young Hawaiians, who was, I think, in the first class at Lahainaluna and was the clerk of the Mahele book and subsequent surveyor and extremely knowledgeable in land names and boundaries, surveyed some kuleanas up in Kahoiwai which is an ‘ili up in Upper Manoa about as far as you can drive, and very accurately describes the kuleanas as being “in the ‘ili of Kahoiwai, ahupua’a of Waikiki”. But, I have no quarrel with those who want to call it Waikiki, but you’ve got to remember how senseless it is when you say that Waikiki is bounded by the Ala Wai Canal and Kapahulu Avenue, when the Ala Wai Canal wasn’t even built until the mid-20s.
AC: That’s right.
JCM: Kapahulu Avenue wasn’t laid out until the 1880s, so you are talking about something that’s yesterday in time and Waikiki as an entity and as a land name goes back about 600 years.
AC: Cline, as you know we’re – you may know – we are about to send out a call for books and other literature for our library, and of course, our archives have been in existence now for about two years and they are still forming as to indexing and so forth. Whether for the library or for the archives do you think that there might be a set of old maps or copies of old maps that we could obtain – that the Club could obtain – in which we could show the entire ahupua’a of Waikiku, just out of interest, and then show Kapua and sort of trace it that way maybe with a few little editorial comments from you. Do you think that kind of project is possible?
JCM: I don’t believe there is one in existence. I’ve prepared one myself for use in talks I have given. Essentially it is a tax map, section map, on which I have delineated boundaries and colored up certain ‘ilis in the interior – only a dozen or so out of the 80 or 90 for specific purpose and I have had slides made of it so it can be cast upon a screen, but the only detailed maps of Waikiki are generally from – take in the area generally from Ala Moana Shopping Center – maybe from Piikoi – no, maybe all the way from McCully, but don’t go much further past Diamond Head.
AC: That’s the old map?
JCM: Yeah. That map by S. E. Bishop. It doesn’t take you all the way to the crest of the Koolau either, it only takes you up to say, er, about where the University of Hawaii would be. The University of Hawaii would be in Waikiki. Both Manoa and Palolo would be in Waikiki.
AC: When our efforts to consolidate the archives in the library get a little further along we’d like to come to you for some guidance and get some of those maps. Would you be willing to help us on that?
JCM: Certainly would.
AC: Great. Is there anything you want to add on Kapua?
JCM: Well, no. Before I close though……
AC: Well, Cline just to wound this thing up you know I meant to ask you earlier but, even by the way of introduction, you are a member of the very exclusive Winged “O” Club, aren’t you? That’s one of the feathers in your bonnet. Of course you’ve been on the Board. How long did you serve on the Board?
JCM: I served ten years totally – five years one time, a hiatus of three years, and then five years again. I am very proud of the fact that of the ten years I was a Director, seven years I was also an officer which required that not only must I attend Directors’ meetings, I must also attend meetings of the Executive Committee.
AC: That’s a lot of meetings. Were you able to get to them all?
JCM: Yes, I did. I am the only one who can say I have a perfect attendance at Executive Committee and the Board of Directors, not only those particular regular meetings but all special meetings thereof, and Annual Meetings at the end of the year. I am very proud of that fact.
One more thing I am proud of is that I am the only Director who had a father preceding him on the Board of Directors. And not only that, Dad was the Chairman of the Building Committee at the previous site and I was really his counterpart at this site. I am quite proud of that.
AC: That’s quite an historic observation and rather a tender thing to look back on. Well, Cline, how old are you now?
JCM: I’m fifty-nine.
AC: Fifty-nine years old with all that behind you and you’ve got a lot of years ahead of you as one of the distinguished members of the Club.
JCM: You introduced me as an old time member. I don’t consider myself as an old time member. There are many amongst my friends who have been members of this Club long before I joined.
JCM: …those who had started as Junior Members.
AC: Yeah, well you know I have been corrected before on the word ‘old time’ – sometimes people think in terms of the number of years that a person has as his age; and sometimes it’s the number of years of membership. I think in your case it’s the number of hours spent serving the Club – so in that case, you’re an old timer. O.K.? Will you accept that?
JCM: Thank you.
AC: This concludes our interview on June 7, 1982, with John Cline Mann.