Island History: Albert Horner — pineapple plantation manager

Albert Horner (1891-1964) was born at Kukaiau, Hawai‘i, where his grandfather had started Kukaiau Sugar Co. some years earlier.

And Kapa‘a’s Hawaiian Canneries, which Horner managed from 1920 until his retirement in 1953, and which closed in 1962, had been organized by Horner’s father in 1914. Its cannery was located where Pono Kai Resort now stands and its fields extended from Kapahi north to Moloa‘a.

It was one of Kaua‘i’s three pineapple plantations, the others being Kauai Pineapple Company of Lawa‘i and Hawaiian Fruit Packers, which operated a cannery on Kawaihau Road. 

Horner, his wife Phyllis and their three children lived in a beachfront home in Wailua where Lanikai Condominiums was later built. In 1963, their residence served as a setting in the movie “Donovan’s Reef,” filmed on Kaua‘i, starring John Wayne and Lee Marvin.

A curious footnote to Horner’s biography occurred in 1950, when The Garden Island printed his report of seeing a round glowing object racing through Kaua‘i’s skies from Ahukini toward Anahola for about 2 1/2 seconds at 7:25 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 7, while he was standing by All Saints Church in Kapa‘a.

Validity to Horner’s claim came later when Ben Iida, at home in Lihu‘e around 6 p.m. that same evening, called his neighbors’ attention to a faintly glowing object shooting across the sky.

A week later on the 14th, fish and game warden Ben Ohai also reported seeing a glowing round object in the sky around 1:15 a.m. while arresting seven people for fishing violations at Kapa‘a Beach. The violators also witnessed the phenomenon. 

And Kumanosuke Fujita of Knudsen’s Gap happened to be in his yard at about 1:30 a.m. that morning when he noticed a rapidly whirling object overhead. 

People speculated that the objects were flying saucers. 

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