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The Life and Death of Kahala Avenue


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It would be difficult to find two people to agree on just when life in Kahala began and when it ended. Certainly, it was in place when King Kamehameha the Great invaded Oʽahu at what is now Kahala on Maunalua Bay. According to Charley Memminger’s book, Aloha Lady Blue, it was a marshy spot for fishing and illegal activities that was accessible via Kahala Road.


World War II brought Kahala Avenue, a row of upscale bungalows from the 1930s to mid-century modern houses from the 1950s. Several episodes of Hawaii Five-0 show some of these houses. Perhaps best known is Honoré Vashon’s home, Sunhala, seen in the “V for Vashon” trilogy (Season 5). A bungalow is seen in “Hit Gun for Sale” (Season 7) as the Cordells attempt to throw Five-0 off their trail by driving in different directions along Kahala Avenue. Tony Alika lived in Kahala, as well, in “A Lion in the Streets” and “Good Help is Hard to Find” (both in Season 12). There were others, the newest of which was Charles Ogden’s house in “How to Steal a Masterpiece” (Season 7).


Most, if not all, of these houses have been razed over the past ten or fifteen years and replaced by what can only be described as McMansions. Gone are the beautiful palm trees and other lush landscaping that once lined the street. Now, seclusion is provided by ornate gates and stone fences. Sad, so very sad.


Even the land . . . Prices for land with either one of the twentieth century houses or no house can run as high as $24,000,000! That’s right: 24 million dollars. Can you see where this is leading?


At the end of Kahala Avenue are the Kahala Beach Apartments, the land lease on which expires in five years. Notice has been given that the lease will not be renewed. In less than ten years, the land on which the striking mid-century apartments now stand (the apartments where Jack and Marie lived nearly half their lives) will hold McMansions surrounded by stone fences and ornate gates! Thank goodness, Jack and Marie won’t have to see it happen.

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honu59
honu59
Aug 02, 2022

Oh, don't get me started. This is all so very sad. My home was built in 1945 and it's almost the same as it was back then. I haven't taken down walls nor painted everything grey nor installed any subway tile. I happen to like separate, small cozy rooms. I like my kitchen being separated from my living room by...you said it, walls! I love those bungalows that I see on Hawaii Five-O. It's too bad that this history isn't cherished by the current generation.

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Steve's Girl
Steve's Girl
Aug 03, 2022
Replying to

I very well remember helicopter parents from my days as a teacher. And I created the name "Black Hawk Mom" after a very strong argument with a parent.

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As always a wonderful, informative article. Too bad to see this happening. Similar to what’s happened in LA. Tearing down our past for generic buildings that could be anywhere.

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H50 1.0 FOREVER
H50 1.0 FOREVER
Aug 02, 2022
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You're right, Steve's Girl. People today seem to think it all began with them. No one taught them anything different.

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