Kenzo Urabe (1898-1971), the founder and proprietor, along with his wife, Shizue Urabe (1903-1959), of Urabe Store – a Kapaa landmark on Ulu St. for many decades until it closed in the mid-1990s – was born in Japan and immigrated to Kauai with his parents, Katsutaro and Chika Urabe, in 1899.
In 1946, Olokele Sugar Co. allocated funds totaling $1,750,000 (roughly $23,000,000 in 2020 dollars) for the rehabilitation of all of its plantation housing, in which an entirely new employee housing camp would be built to replace the company’s dilapidated camp housing erected in 1888.
In September 1925, The Honolulu Advertiser newspaper published an account of a bell buoy that had broken from its moorings off the California coast over 30 years earlier and had drifted more than 2,500 miles until it reached Kaua‘i.
Several hundred Polish immigrant contract laborers arrived in Hawai‘i aboard the sailing ship H.F. Glade from Bremen, Germany, between 1896 and 1899, and were assigned to sugar plantations on the Big Island, Maui, Oahu and Kaua‘i.
On the morning of Sept. 9, 1924, a brief-but-furious, hand-to-hand fight broke out at Hanapepe between as many as 200 striking Visayan sugar workers and 40 policemen that left 16 strikers killed and nine wounded, with four policemen also killed and two wounded.
During the 1950s, my wife, Ginger (Beralas) Soboleski, was a plantation kid growing up in Lihu‘e Camp A, yet she spent a great deal of her time at her grandma Rita Equirras’s house at Kapa‘a Stable Camp on Ka‘apuni Road.
Back in the day, when I worked for McBryde Sugar Co., I installed irrigation flumes and I drove haul cane trucks for a spell, but I was never a cut-seed man, which was considered, along with sabedong man (herbicide tank sprayer), the toughest job on the plantation.
Shurei Hirozawa (1919-2002) was born just across the railroad tracks from the McBryde Sugar Company mill at New Mill, Kaua‘i, not far from where the Kaua‘i Coffee Company headquarters stands today.
With her flashing, mischievous eyes and her trademark costume — a coconut hat and a mu‘umu‘u with a scarf tied low around her hips — Hilo Hattie (1901-1979), the Native Hawaiian school teacher who performed for nearly half a century as a comic hula dancer, singer and actress, was not from Hilo, nor was her real surname Hattie.
Born in Makawao, Maui, Kaua‘i theater man William A. Fernandez (1880-1949) began working in the transportation business with his father in 1898, and was later employed as an O‘ahu police officer, a mounted Honolulu patrolman and an employee of the Honolulu Rapid Transit Co.
By 1933, Honolulu-born showman Edwin Kane “E.K.” Fernandez (1883-1970), founder of Hawai‘i’s E. K. Fernandez Shows, had been staging carnivals, circuses, fairs and sideshow acts in Hawai‘i for 30 years.
This Island History was written to honor Army Sergeant First Class Roque Perpetua Jr., who was born on Kauai and raised at Grove Farm Plantation, and the other 12 servicemen from Kauai who were killed in Vietnam.
Born in Glens Falls, New York, Charles Reed Bishop (1822-1915) sailed from New York City in 1846 with William Little Lee to seek opportunities in the Oregon Territory, but during a stopover for provisions in Hawaii, he remained there instead and formed a partnership with William A. Aldrich selling merchandise to supply the California Gold Rush.
Trained as a nurse, Iowa-born “Tales About Hawaii” newspaper columnist Clarice B. Taylor (1896-1963) first came to Hawaii in 1917, where she practiced nursing at Lihue Hospital while collecting Hawaiian tales and artifacts as a hobby in her spare time.
In October 1959, Shideler Harpe, a reporter for The Honolulu Star-Bulletin, was assigned by the paper to make his way to the island of Ni‘ihau — then as it is today the private property of Kaua‘i’s Robinson family — to spend several days there and write an expose of his experiences upon his return to Honolulu.
Ruth Knudsen Hanner (1901-1995) was the granddaughter of Valdemar Knudsen, a Norwegian who settled on Kauai in 1852 and became konohiki of over 100,000 acres of west Kauai, and Annie Sinclair, the daughter of Eliza Sinclair, who purchased Niihau from Kamehameha V in 1864.