Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Trust names Lanai City, ‘a jewel,’ as endangered

The Maui News gives more insight as to the fate of Lanai City and gives more information about its designation as one of America's Most Endangered Historic Places.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Lanai City Named as One of America's Most Endangered Historic Places

On April 28, 2009, the National Trust for Historic Preservation named Lanai City to its list of the 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in America.

What does this mean?

Inclusion on the list of the 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in America acknowledges that a historic site is threatened; this could be for a variety of reason ranging from development, to neglect, and natural disasters. While inclusion on the list will not offer protections for Lāna‘i City against demolition or alterations, it does help to raise awareness as to the importance of Lāna‘i City and how the structures within the town help to tell the stories of those who live there.

What Makes Lanai historic?
Lanai City is on of the last remaining intact plantation community in Hawai‘i, a state in which pineapple and sugar production were once the backbone of the economy. There are no longer large-scale producers of pineapple or sugar in the state and these once vibrant plantation towns are being demolished to make way for new development.

The historic structures in Lāna‘i City collectively convey the stories and the histories of the plantation workers who lived and worked on Lāna‘i. The compact, walkable nature of the town, in which the majority of the commercial structures front the central Dole Park, seems purposefully organized to foster community togetherness.

The historic layout of the town, which is still largely intact, and the character of these structures coupled with the welcoming spirit of the people who live there are what makes Lāna‘i a unique and special place. It is one of the few places where everyone living there knows each other and wave as they pass by. The historic design of the town and the low-scale nature of the historic structures help to maintain this sense of community that has been strongly present in Lāna‘i City throughout its history.

What Threatens Lanai City?
There are now two Four Seasons resorts on the island; prior to 1990 the only hotel on the island was the 10-room Lāna‘i Inn, now called Hotel Lāna‘i. Since the construction of the resorts, the number of visitors to Lāna‘i has increased. Recently, Castle & Cooke proposed plans for the downtown area, commonly called the Business County-Town (BCT) district. These plans include a new, large grocery store, more parking, renovations to many of the existing structures, and the demolition of 11 buildings in and around the BCT. The demolition permit applications are currently being reviewed by Maui County Department of Planning. Permit applications have been filed for the demolition of: three residential structures; two shed/garage buildings; the police lieutenant’s house; the Lāna‘i City jail; the old police station; the launderette; and two other commercial structures. These permits have not yet been issued.

What are the possible solutions? Incorporating the intact plantation community into tourism activities is a potential solution. Tourism has become the primary economic stimulus for Lāna‘i. Interpreting the plantation history in a way that will draw tourists to Lāna‘i could prove to be an economically viable solution, as without their unique plantation history, the tourists that visit Lāna‘i may just as likely visit one of the other islands.

Heritage tourism is extremely important for residents, owners, and those operating businesses in Lāna‘i City. Tourism is Lanai’s main source of economic growth. Tourists who are interested in experiencing the authentic local culture and learning about the history of a place are generally attracted to Lāna‘i because of its rich history. These visitors have respect for the place they are visiting, they tend to stay longer, and spend more money at local businesses. They will put more money into the local economy and leave with a stronger understanding of Lānai’s history.

What is being done?
A nomination to the Hawaii State Register of Historic Places was prepared for Lāna‘i City. The nomination was reviewed by the Maui County Cultural Resources Commission, who voted unanimously to recommend that it be listed. The Hawai‘i Historic Places Review Board will vote on whether or not to list Lāna‘i City on the Hawai‘i Register of Historic Places in the upcoming months. Listing on the Hawai‘i Register of Historic Places will not protect a building from being demolished and does not prevent alterations from being made to these historic structures. It does however serve to recognize the importance of these sites and ensure that changes to the historic character of the town are reviewed by the State Historic Preservation Division. Changes to the historic structures are already reviewed even though the structures are not currently listed on the register.

Through continuing conversations with the community, Castle & Cooke, the Maui County Cultural Resources Commission, the State Historic Preservation Division and others, we hope that a solution will be reached that benefits the people who live and work on Lāna‘i and the historic resources, both of which make Lāna‘i a wonderful and unique place for those who live there and visitors alike.

What can you do to help?

Myths About Historic Homes, buildings, sites and the historic register

The Hawai‘i Register of Historic Places is Hawaii’s official list of districts, sites, structures, buildings, and objects that are significant at either the national, state, or local level in the areas of history, architecture, archaeology, engineering, and/or cultural heritage. On this list, vastly different types of resources are represented from culturally significant Native Hawaiian sites, to an outrigger canoe, residential properties, plantation era communities, and the only palace in the United States. These sites together represent the broad range of historic resources important to the history of Hawai‘i.

MYTH:  Listing or being eligible to be listed on the historic register prevents owners from making changes or limits their property rights
FACT: Federal, state, or local governments do not assume any property rights in the residence as a result of listing. Being listed on the Register does not restrict the rights of private property owners in the use, development, or sale of private historic property.

MYTH:  Only Listed Residences Are Subject to Permit Review
FACT: All owners of historic homes older than fifty years must allow the SHPD an opportunity to review proposed construction, alteration, disposition, or improvements prior to commencing the work. Under state law 6E-10, SHPD has ninety days to conduct this review if a residence is listed on the Hawaii Register. Under state law 6E-42, SHPD has thirty days to carry out this review if a home is older than fifty years and not listed on the Register.

MYTH:  A Listed Residence Must Be Opened to the Public
FACT: Owners of private residences listed on the Hawai‘i Register have no obligation to open their properties to the public. If they take a County property tax exemption for a listed residence, however, one of the conditions they agree to is that the public be assured a reasonable view of the property. The County requires this public benefit in exchange for the financial benefit it gives to the owner. “A reasonable view”, does not include entering onto the property.

MYTH:  Owners of Listed Houses Are Required to Make Repairs and Alterations

FACT: Private property owners are not required to maintain, repair, or restore properties listed on the Hawaii Register. They may make changes to their historic homes, but must allow the SHPD an opportunity to review and comment. This is to ensure the appropriateness of the alteration. It is possible that inappropriate alterations could cause a historic residence to be removed from the Register, and an owner risks losing property tax benefits previously claimed.

MYTH:  The Owner of a House Listed on the Register Automatically Receives a Historic Residence Plaque
FACT: Neither the State nor the Federal Government automatically provides private property owners with a plaque or marker for residences listed on the Hawaii and/or National Registers. If an owner wants to purchase a historic residence plaque, it is available locally through Historic Hawaii Foundation. The City and County of Honolulu requires owners of historic residences who receive exemptions from real property taxation to place a sign or plaque on these properties. Maui, Kauai and Hawai‘i Counties, on the other hand, do not require owners of listed properties to put historic residence signs on these homes, although they must assure reasonable visual access to the public.
Read more about historic properties..

Questions about historic properties, historic designations or the Hawaii State Register of Historic Places?

Contact Historic Hawaii Foundation's Preservation Resource Center
Katie Kastner, Director of Field Services
808-523-2900 x22

Lanai City is listed by National Trust - News -

Lanai City Named one of America's Most Endangered Historic Places

At 10:00 am PDT today, National Trust President Richard Moe and Academy Award-winning actress, Diane Keaton announced the 2009 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places® at a press conference in Los Angeles, California.

Since 1988, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has used its list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places as a powerful alarm to raise awareness of the serious threats facing our nation’s greatest treasures. It has become one of the most effective tools in the fight to save the country’s irreplaceable architectural, cultural, and natural heritage.

“The 22nd annual list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places reflects the extraordinary diversity and fragility of our shared heritage,” said Richard Moe.

“These 11 sites highlight many critical issues, including the importance of preserving architectural icons of the recent past and preservation as one of the most effective forms of sustainable development. Places like these help tell all of our stories, and losing them not only erases a piece of our heritage, it also represents a threat to our planet.”

The list includes the Century Plaza Hotel , which Diane Keaton, a Los Angeles area preservation activist and National Trust Board Member, has been fighting to save. “All over Los Angeles, too many of our great modern buildings have already fallen to the wrecking ball," said Keaton. "We need to lead by example and show the rest of the country that buildings are renewable, and we shouldn't be throwing them away. We should be recycling them just like we recycle newspapers.”

Also on the 2009 list:
Miami Marine Stadium, FL Mount Taylor, Grants, NM Unity Temple, Oak Park, IL Dorchester Academy, Midway, GA The Manhattan Project's Enola Gay Hangar at Wendover Airfield, UT Ames Shovel Shops, Easton, MA Human Services Center, Yankton, SD Memorial Bridge, Portsmouth, NH & Kittery, ME Cast-Iron Architecture of Galveston, TX Lana’i City, Maui, HI
View the entire list!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Lanai City Amongst America's 11 most endangered historic places

America's 11 most endangered historic places announced

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Army Maj. Gen. Herbert Wolff, Museum Society's founder also active in Isle community

April 21, 2009

By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer

Retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Herbert Wolff, a decorated veteran of three wars and active member of the military and civilian communities in Hawai'i, died April 17 in Honolulu. He was 83.

Among his accomplishments, Wolff led the effort to save Battery Randolph at Fort DeRussy and create a museum dedicated to the men and women who served in the Pacific arena. In 1976, he founded the nonprofit Hawaii Army Museum Society to support the development of the museum and served as its president for more than 30 years.

Vicki Olson, executive director of the Hawaii Army Museum Society and a friend of Wolff, said Wolff worked tirelessly to build the museum and dedicated his life to it.

"He was a visionary," Olson said. "He saw that this was a story that needed to be told, and it preserved a green space and it preserved a historic building and it's the center of Waikiki."
Wolff's community work didn't end with the museum. He also served on the boards of the Girls Scout Council of Hawaii and Boy Scouts Aloha Council, Pacific Asian Affairs Council, USO-Hawaii, Armed Services YMCA, March of Dimes and the Honolulu Rotary Club.

He worked with the Association of the United States Army and served as honorary consul general for Malaysia since 1985. In 1993, Wolff was awarded the honorary title of Dato' by the king of Malaysia.

"Some people you think, 'How do they do all that they do?' " Olson said. "He was just remarkable, extraordinary and very generous."

Wolff was born on May 24, 1925, in Cologne, Germany. His family moved to the United States in 1939 to escape the increasing Nazi threat.

Wolff joined the Army soon after graduating from high school and began a 38-year career that would see him serve in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. He rose quickly through the ranks and at age 29 was promoted to lieutenant colonel.

In 1970, Wolff served in Hawai'i for the first time as commander of the U.S. Army Security Agency-Pacific. After a tour in Germany, he returned to Hawai'i in 1977 to command the U.S. Army CINCPAC Support Group

While here, he created the U.S. Western Command and became active in the community. Among his activities, he helped form the Wai'anae Military Civilian Advisory Council to help better relationships. He also formed the Pacific Army Management Seminar, an annual meeting of Army leaders of Pacific nations.

Wolff retired in October 1981. During his service, Wolff received three Distinguished Service Medals, which is the Army's highest award for service; two Silver stars; four Legions of Merit; the Distinguished Flying Cross; four Bronze stars; and a Purple Heart.

Although retired, he remained active. He joined First Hawaiian Bank and rose to a senior vice president position. Olson said Wolff continued to work with the museum and other organizations despite his declining health.

"He loved what he was doing," she said. "He really believed in what he was doing. He believed in giving back to society and the community, set a wonderful example. He a remarkable man."
Wolff is survived by sons, Rick and Allen; and eight grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Borthwick Mortuary and again from 8 to 9:30 a.m. Friday at Central Union Church; service at 10 a.m. Burial at 1 p.m. at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. Contributions may be made to the Hawaii Army Museum Society, P.O. Box 8064, Honolulu, HI 96830.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Restore the natatorium in Waikiki

Peter Apo for the Honolulu Advertiser

The Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium is back on the front page. The mayor says he will form a stakeholder group to make recommendations on the fate of the memorial. But the mayor said he would consider demolition during his first campaign, in his first speech as mayor, and reconfirmed that position in this year's State of the City address. Can we expect a stakeholder process he convenes will disagree? The answer is no.

Photo by Jon Radke

The stakeholder consultation is smoke and mirrors; alternatives to restoration were thoroughly studied and rejected years ago. Exhaustive engineering studies in the late 1980s clearly outlined the fiscal and environmental implications of each alternative. Restoration emerged, on all counts, as the preferred course. A comprehensive EIS on full restoration was conducted and more than 15 different permits were secured.

The claim that you can demolish the pool and expand the beach is wrong. Archival photos show that Sans Souci was a rocky shoreline until 1927 when the natatorium was built and began retaining sand. Lose the pool; lose Kaimana Beach.

The claim that you can demolish the pool and retain the restored facade as a shrunken-down memorial is also wrong. The pool deck is vital to the structural integrity of the overall structure. Lose the deck; lose the $4 million facade, bathrooms, and bleachers.

Concerns about water quality are a red herring. The ocean engineering team that designed the highly successful Ko Olina lagoons designed a restored natatorium to allow as many as 10 complete exchanges of water a day, making it as safe as the water on the adjoining beaches.
There is a silty sludge at the bottom of the pool. The restoration plan would encapsulate it. Demolition, far from a cheap alternative to restoration, would require costly abatement lest the muck damage the surrounding reef and compromise the water quality.

There are legal issues. The Waikiki Memorial Natatorium was conceived by the Territorial Legislature in 1921 when it passed Act 15 to honor servicemen from Hawai'i killed in World War I. The state owns the land; the city is authorized to specifically manage the shoreline use as a public memorial and pool. The city does not have the authority to change the use of the shoreline under Act 15 from memorial to beach without a change in state law and a rigorous, expensive shoreline management permitting process.

A 1973 demolition attempt was defeated in a state Supreme Court decision imposing a permanent injunction against demolishing the natatorium (specifically meaning the pool). There's every reason to believe that a new legal challenge would succeed on legal precedent.
And how about the moral, historical, cultural and economic development arguments?

Named to the National Trust for Historic Preservation's list of 11 Most Endangered historic sites, the natatorium also represents Hawai'i's solemn commitment to honor its soldiers in perpetuity. What does it say about public policy makers who would dishonor that commitment?
Over the past 10 years, more than $3 billion has been invested in revitalizing Waikiki, much of it to restore a sense of place and reconnect Waikiki to the dignity of its past. The crown jewel of what little is left of historic Waikiki is the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium.

The natatorium has been neglected for more than 25 years, but even in its crumbling state it stands with dignity, filled with memories of the Duke, Johnny Weissmuller, Buster Crabbe, Ford Konno, Dick Cleveland, Bill Woolsey and other greats. Thousands of kama'aina families grew up in its waters. It's tragic that today's children are deprived of such a treasured experience.

Let us do the right thing and stand by our commitment to our war dead with the same full measure they gave to us. Restore the natatorium. Preserve our honor. And preserve Kaimana Beach in the process.

Peter Apo, a former state legislator, Native Hawaiian cultural consultant and past president of Historic Hawai'i, is a board member of the Friends of the Natatorium. He wrote this commentary for The Honolulu Advertiser.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

2009 Historic Homes Walking Tour, Sunday May 10

The 2009 Historic Homes Walking Tour, a special event to benefit Malama O Manoa, will be held Saturday, May 10, 2009 from 8:30am-noon.
In celebration of National Historic Preservation Month, Malama O Manoa is offering a one-mile stroll throught the significant homes of the Pu'u Peuo, Owl's Hill historical area.
Learn the legends of avenging spirits, owl-deities and menehune battles in a place where history and spirits seem to hover in the air.
The tour offers an opportunity to visit the Manoa Valley homes of the Territorial Era by architects C.W. Dickey, Hart Wood, and Emory & Webb. Participants will view more than 20 historic homes and enter six of these homes.
Cost is $25 in advance until May 4th, $30 from May 5 to May 10. Register online at
In Valley tradition, the walk will take place rainbows or shine!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Obama lived here

Advisory Council on Historic Preservation Announces Appointment of new Assitant Director for Federal Propery Management.

The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) is pleased to announce the appointment of Caroline D. Hall as the new Assistant Director for Federal Property Management in the Office of Federal Agency Programs (OFAP) - the office that deals primarily with the Section 106 process of the federal preservation program. She will begin on April 13, 2009.

"We are delighted that Caroline will be joining the ACHP staff in this vital position. Caroline brings extensive experience in the Section 106 process and the management of historic properties to OFAP. She will be a valuable asset and part of the team," said Reid Nelson, OFAP director.

Hall was selected from among a large applicant pool that applied for the position formerly held by Nelson. He became OFAP director after the retirement of Don Klima earlier this year. She will help manage and supervise OFAP activities, joining Charlene Dwin Vaughn, Assistant Director for Federal Permitting, Licensing, and Assistance, in that capacity.

Hall comes to the ACHP from her current position as Preservation Compliance Coordinator, at the National Park Service. Prior to that, she was Historic Preservation Planner at the U.S. Army Environmental Center. Among other preservation positions, she was Historic Preservation Specialist at the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission for four years. Currently a PhD candidate at the University of Delaware, she has earned a master of arts degree in historic preservation planning from Cornell University.