Old-Time Kauai banker Frank Crawford

Kauai banker Frank Crawford (1871-1962) was born in Indiana and came to Kauai in 1903 to open the first branch bank of the Bank of Hawaii in the Territory of Hawaii at Lihue, where he continued to serve until 1946, when he retired as a vice president of the bank.

Described by both friends and bank customers alike as being genial, cordial and friendly, Frank Crawford was the prime mover behind the building of the Lihue Library on Rice Street in 1925 — the Albert Spencer Memorial Building — now the home of the Kauai Museum.

Mrs. Thelma Hadley (1902-1987), Lihue librarian from 1927 to 1971, said of the library on Rice Street, “I always think of this as Mr. Crawford’s library, since it was he who practically supervised the financing and construction and personally selected all the equipment.”

Frank Crawford and his wife, Mary Crawford, made their home only a short distance away from the library and Crawford’s bank on property located just east of the Kauai County Building — reportedly the first plot of privately owned land in the Lihue area.

In his Lihue home garden, Crawford discovered a pea variety in 1919 that grew exceptionally well under Hawaiian conditions — the “Duke of Albany” variety he raised from seed he obtained from the J. M. Thorburn Seed Company of New York.

The peas were a very tall growing variety that he planted from November to March, which required a trellis of six feet or more in height to support the vines and yielded a prolific crop of large peas.

In his free time, Crawford also enjoyed playing golf at the Wailua course and sport fishing at sea off Kauai.

He even designed a new fishing reel in 1934 for President Franklin Roosevelt in which the stress was balanced evenly and which automatically applied pressure to the line.

Crawford turned it over to General Abernathy of Honolulu, who in turn presented it Governor Poindexter, who then offered it to Roosevelt when the president visited Kona, Hawaii in July of that year.

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