Pahoa in Puna on the Big Island of Hawaii
Pahoa is the closest town and only 5 minutes from Hale Moana Bed & Breakfast. Besides an alternative flair, it offers several excellent restaurants, grocery stores, a natural food store, health clinics, doctors' offices, pharmacies, three banks, interesting arts & crafts shops, and an open market on weekend mornings. Pahoa is a historic town, built between 1909 and 1919. It began as a mill town, shaping railway ties for the great western railways. In sugar cane days, Pahoa became the crossroads for the railway. Today's industry consists of the diversified agriculture and tropical flower business.
By Hiro Sato – Pahoa Yesterday
"One hundred years have passed since the early immigrants settled in Pahoa in the latter decades of the
nineteenth century. Unfortunately there are hardly any recorded historical accounts of Pahoa’s early years. The history of Pahoa should have been recorded by some of the immigrants or the earlier Niseis during the 1950s when most of the immigrants and the older Niseis were still living. During those years they were healthy with keen memories, able to recall and document information relating to the various events and activities that transpired during the late l800s and the ﬁrst half of the twentieth century. The need to record Pahoa’s history was constantly stressed to me from the mid-1980s by Shiryo Miyatake, an Issei, who arrived in Hawaii in 1918 from Hiroshima-ken, Japan. Stanley Oishi, one of the younger Niseis, and Robert Sugihara, a Sansei, also stressed the urgency of documenting the history of Pahoa very soon; otherwise all of the information relating to the early immigrants would be lost and gone forever.
It must have been fate that I was born as the eldest son of a large family, whose parents were poor and constantly in ﬁnancial debt. Unable to continue my formal schooling after completing the ninth grade at Pahoa School, I remained in Pahoa throughout the many years to the present day. It was my destiny that I remained in Pahoa to research and write the many happenings of the lumber and sugar industries in which the immigrants worked and to document their contributions to the community. What actually prompted me to write Pahoa’s history?
From the mid-1980s I realized the importance of preserving Pahoa’s history. Noticing that hardly anything was recorded previously, I was concerned for the loss of the history, so I began collecting information about the early days of Pahoa."
Sugar Cane Days
The sugar cane plant was brought to the Hawaiian Islands by the Polynesians in outrigger canoes many centuries ago. Sugar cane was part of the traditional native Hawaiian diet. The Polynesians and early Hawaiians did not dream or realize that this “sweet plant would ultimately change the physical appearance and lifestyle of the islands. Through the economic resources of the sugar plantations, tiny villages became flourishing communities. Thousands of acres of the natural forests were cleared for the cultivation of sugar cane, which changed the environment. The mass production of sugar by the many plantations required recruiting labor from foreign countries,
The arrival of foreign immigrants had the greatest impact on the Hawaiian race, as Hawaii’s population became cosmopolitan.
Many of the immigrants were bachelors and later married Hawaiian women. These interracial marriages resulted in greatly reducing the number of pure Hawaiians, and presently, the pure Hawaiian race is at the brink of extinction.
The first successful planting and production of sugar was at Koloa, Kauai by Ladd and Company. Earlier crude mills had been operated by the early Chinese immigrants on the island of Lanai. By 1880 there were seventy-two sugar plantations in Hawaii, One of the last plantations to be established was Olaa Sugar Company which harvested its first sugar crop in 1902.
Saw Mill in Pahoa
The lumber mill was situated about one hundred twenty-five feet east of the present Akebono Theater. It was commonly called “Pahoa tie millu” by the Japanese immigrants. The Japanese a vowel to words ending with a consonant (except N), therefore mill was pronounced “millu.” The lumber company was originally started as the Hawaiian Mahogany Lumber Company, also referred to as Pahoa Lumber Company and later, the Hawaii Hardwood Company, James B. Castle of Honolulu was behind this company and Lorrin Thurston seems to have been financially during the early years.
Railroad in Pahoa
The railroad ties processed at the Pahoa Lumber Mill (1907-1918) were transported on rail flat cars to Hilo wharf and then transshipped on steamships to the mainland USA. Olaa Sugar Company transported a daily average of one hundred cars loaded with four tons of sugar cane each from Pahoa to Olaa Mill until 1948 when trucks began hauling directly from the fields to the mill.
Pahoa Restaurants (recommended by Hale Moana Bed & Breakfast)
- Kaleo’s (Pacific Rim Cuisine): Tell them about your reservation with us and receive 10% off your bill!
- Ning’s (Thai Cuisine): Tell them about your reservation with us and receive 10% off your bill! Ning’s is a BYOB.
- Paolo’s Bistro (Italian Cuisine): Tell them about your reservation with us and receive 10% off your bill! Paolo’s is a BYOB.
- Luquin’s (Mexican Cuisine)
- There are many other eateries and take-out places, including Subway, L&L, No.1 Chinese BBQ, Boogie Woogie Pizza, Sushi, Burger King, KFC, etc.
- Malama Market - Large Grocery Store (good deli section, bakery, produce, everything else)
- Pahoa Cash & Carry - Liquor and Grocery
- Island Naturals - Large Health Food Store with excellent take-out food bar
- Longs Drugs - Drug Store with dry goods food section
- Seven-Eleven - open 24 hours