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Monday, November 24, 2014

The "Kauai's Biggest Little Town" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Taking a heart-skipping stroll across the Hanapepe Swinging Bridge in Hanapepe, Kauai.  A trip to the town of Hanapepe was on our list of items to do during our visit to the Garden Isle of the Pacific, so Carol and I along with Jerry and Just Sue jumped in the car this morning for a visit to a few sites we had planned on touring during our vacation.  
The Hanapepe Swinging Bridge with Just Sue and Jerry crossing.
Wasn't long before we saw the sign that read "Welcome to Hanapepe - Kauai's Biggest Little Town."  The main reason for our visit is to see the multitude of art galleries as well as walk across the Hanapepe Swinging Bridge in the middle of town.  The town got it's name of Hanapepe during devastating landslides years ago, since Hanapepe means "crushed bay" in Hawaiian.  
The main street in Hanapepe.
The bridge we crossed was originally built in the early 1900s as a way for the residents to cross the river from the town to their homes.  To some it may look frightening, but it appears to be in remarkable condition.  I did note that in 1980 Douglas Kenney, a co-writer of National Lampoon's Animal House fell thirty feet from the bridge to his death.  
Sign for the Swinging Bridge.
We crossed the bridge, but didn't venture any further into the residential area.  I found the small town to be filled with art of all varieties from ceramics to paintings to leather and batik.  Small store after small store featured beautiful work from the artists of the island.  On many of the store fronts were posted photos of what the store looked like years ago.  Had a good time taking photos of the current storefronts and reproducing the old photos from the past.  Follow along with me as I photograph a few of the beautiful buildings in the town of Hanapepe.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

This was the Serikawa Hotel at one time.  It was opened in 1921 and provided lodging and meals for $3 a night.  Hot water for a shared bath was heated over an open fire.  Not sure what a shared bath means, but I think I'd enjoy it.  It was used in the 1983 mini-series The Thorn Birds to represent the Dunglow Hotel in Queensland, Australia.  Today it is home to art galleries.
This beautiful building that today holds an art gallery was once the K.C. Kai Store/The USO Club/Style Mart.  It was built in 1931 by Kwock Chong Kai and was described in the newspaper as being "an up-to-date dry goods emporium.  During WWII it was turned into a USO Club for the military personnel stationed nearby.  After the war it was known as Style Mart while in the 70s and 80s it was the home of the Aki Family.
Another art gallery with a ceramics studio on the left of the building stands at 3865 Hanapepe Road.  It used to be Chang's Tailor Shop/Tung Pui Bakery/Hanapepe Pool Hall over the years.  It was built in 1926 by baker Ah Tung and partner Wai Tsing Chang and is on both the National and State Historic registers.  The shop sold pies for a dime and a loaf of bread for a nickel.  In 1938 the Malapit family leased the building and opened the pool hall.  It was badly damaged in hurricane Iniki in 1992, but since has been restored by artist Joanna Carolan.

This property was purchased in the early 1900s by Chand Chup Fong.  He was the rice broker for Kauai's rice farmers.  Dai Wo Chang purchased the building and moved it to the location where it now stands at 3840 Hanapepe Road.  He used it as a show room for his new auto dealership in 1927.  After hurricane Iniki the building was restored and now houses another art gallery.

This was at one time the Sun Ki Heong Chinese Restaurant/Obatake Jewelry Store.  It was built in 1932 by Cheong Sum and equipped with a  $1,000 Knight soda fountain, a huge G.E. refrigerator, a Victor phonograph, dumbwaiter and a doubly reinforced upper floor for dancing.  Over the years it housed a liquor store, baby clothes store and the Obatake Jewelry Store.  It was rescued and restored by Mark Jeffers after the hurricane and now holds the Storybook Theatre of Hawaii.  It too is on the State and National Historic Register.

This was Seto's Meat market/Virdinha Feed Store.  It was built in the late 1800s by the Seto family and stands at the entrance of Hanapepe.  It originally was a meat market and children would stop on their way home from school to purchase a cut of meat for 25 cents for their evening meal.  The sugar cane train ran next to the building.  In the 1930s it became a fish market, then the Aloha Market which sold groceries.  Finally the Vidinha family purchased it as a feed store.  Today it houses a gallery and gift shop.

This is a more recent addition to the town.  It is the beautiful Hawaiian Congregational Church in the middle of town.

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