Mar 202014

Marigold Bar on Waipahu Street (around 1975)

Marigold Bar on Waipahu Street (around 1975)

Marigold Bar was at this location as far back as I can remember. Prior to the seventies, it was a busy place for sailors and servicemen. Never went into the bar though. Maybe Jaime did? Next to the bar on the Ewa side, there was a steep hill and road that lead to the Big Way Supermarket and down to where James Tanigawa lived. There was a saimin stand on Hanawai Circle next to the Agmata Store where James lived.

Sugar cane washing station

Sugar cane washing station

If you lived in Waipahu and remember hearing sounds from the mill like boulders crashing into metal, it came from this place. The sugar cane was hoisted into bins for washing and the boulders crashed into the bins with a distinctive sound. These sounds went through the night when they were harvesting cane.

Stairs to Hans L'Orange Park

Stairs to Hans L’Orange Park

Β There was a huge banyan tree on the left and top of the stone stairs to Hans L’Orange Park. A quiet and peaceful place during the day and very spooky and dark at night. Sounds from the sugar mill in the background can still be heard if you remember back then. There was a walkway through the mill that lead to the mechanic shop and then through a gate to the camp village at Manager’s Drive. I wish I had photos from back then.


Tamashiro’s gas station in 1976

Anybody remember Alan Tamashiro’s family gas station across from August Ahrens School. It was next to Bello’s Store. I think it was Clayton Bello’s grandparents?


Clyde Tsukayama’s grandmother in 1976

This is Clyde Tsukayama’s grandmother the photo was taken in 1976 at the Tsukayama’s house next to the Soto Zen Church. The years of hard work, a sometimes difficult existence in the “Plantation Camp” days of old Waipahu is clearly evident in her face. Not to mention the hard time she got from Clyde!


Waikele Stream at Pump 4

The river and pond was a lot bigger back in the 50’s and 60’s when we used to swim here. All those who lived in the Oahu Sugar neighborhood will remember this spot. It was really spooky when it got dark and we had to ride our bikes quickly back home.

Our house on Kamakahi Street. One block west of Manager’s Drive.

This is where we used to live in the “camp” behind the Oahu Sugar Company. It was on Kamakahi Street that is parallel and west of Manager’s Drive. Our neighbors were the Yahiro’s, Endo’s, Wayne Tanouye across the street, and Newton Miyagi’s family at the corner. Many other lived on this street: Roland Abregano, Carolyn Sasaki, Earl Takahashi, Koso Furukawa, Harry Tells, Larry Hernandez (that’s all I can remember). The street was not paved, but the planation sprayed old oil/diesel to keep the dust down. Every week, the “mosquito man” drove a truck that sprayed some kind of mist to control mosquitos! We used to chase the truck and breathe all those fumes. That’s why Jaime Picoc is the way he is today. We walked to school everyday past the Soto Mission church, down the stairs by Aileen Koizumi’s house across the cane haul road, down the steep wooden stairs where they filled the trucks with oil to spray the roads, across the Waikele Stream bridge where Horiuchi Saimin was, and up Waipahu Street to the school. We went to school barefeet for many years.

Takenaka Store in 1983.

Takenaka Store on Waipahu Street in 1983.

Takenaka Store was on Waipahu Street almost across Steve Hama’s house next to Shintaku Hill. The Takenaka Family: Calvin, Ron, Milton, Carl, Lynn, and another sister lived below the store. Eiji Uyehara lived next door and his mother had a dress shop next to Takenaka Store. The small building in the foreground used to be an ice house for the Ayakawa (I think) Store that used to be there. In the days up to the 70’s and early 80’s, there was a row of businesses along Waipahu Street, but I can’t remember them all. I know there was Saiki Motors and the Marigold Bar. Across the street, there was a grassy hill edged with night blooming cereus all along Waipahu Street. We used to ride pieces of cardboard down the grassy hill with Jaime and the rest of the gang.

Camp dog

Camp dog

You can almost hear how quiet it was walking through the Oahu Sugar plantation camp neighborhood. The sounds of birds in the Mahogany trees that lined Manager’s Drive. The background sound of rocks banging into the mill sugar cane grinder as loads of sugar cane are lifted from the cane haul trucks. This is the street that runs east/west that went past the Waiphau Hongwanji church from Manager’s Drive. Dean Matsuda, and Arnold Imaoka used to live on this street. Unfortunately, I have forgotten the names of the streets that were in this neighborhood. Those that lived close by will remember this familiar scene.

Camp road

Camp road

This is typical to most streets in the “Nishi” (west) side of the Oahu Sugar Plantation camp. The view is from west to east. Manager’s Drive is marked by tall Mahogany trees perpendicular to this street. On the left is the Gerard’s home on Manager’s Drive. The road leads to the Social Club (tall monkey pod trees in the background) that showed outdoor style movies. Try walking home at night after watching “obake” (spooky) movies. Jaime Picoc will remember this street well.

Oahu Sugar Mill from Manager's Drive

Oahu Sugar Mill from Manager’s Drive

The backside of the sugar mill from Manager’s Drive. If you turned right at this intersection, the road led down to the Shintaku Hill and down to Waipahu Street. If you turned to the left, the street led to the August Ahrens School area and Paiwa Street in front of Hans L’Orange Park. There was a walk through gate in the mill fence visible in this photo and we could walk through the mill to get to the “office park” area in front of the Waipahu Theater and other stores. The gate was actually for workers so they could walk home for lunch and at “pau hana”. At 3:30 on weekdays the whistle would sound that could be heard throughout the neighborhood.

Camp Irrigation Flume

This photo was taken around 1976 from just south of the Plantation Manager’s residence at the top of Manager’s Drive. The freeway overpass is visible which was just north of the last homes on Manager’s Drive. The Noda Family lived there before they moved to the right of where this flume was located. We used to swim in the irrigation canal that ran past their house and across where this irrigation flume ends. The water was cold and clear springwater.

Waipahu Street

Waipahu Street around 1976

This photo was taken around 1976 from in front of the Waipahu Store (plantation store). The Waipahu Taxi Stand is visible on the left next to Kawano Store, and the Theater and Fire Station. This must have been on a Saturday as people are visible waiting in line to see the afternoon matinee.

  36 Responses to “Memories of Waipahu”

  1. My daughter and I are researching the old Oahu Sugar Plantation for a children’s book that we are writing. We have visited the Waipahu Plantation Village many times and have learned so much each time we go. We would love to meet with any of you who would be interested in sharing your stories about growing up on the plantation. I live in Kailua and my daughter lives in Pa’auilo on the Big Island. Please contact me. Thank you.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing these photos. I grew up in the camps and wish now I had more photos.

  3. I have few memories of Waipahu elementary. It was my first and best experience in Hawaii. I walked to school most days. I remember walking through a cemetery with a partially open tomb and being scared but I still loved being there. I remember working an outside garden and having to do cafeteria duty, which was awarded by a ice cream when done. I had such wonderful memories of that time in my life. My mother worked at Arakawas dept. store. 46 years later my husband and I visited Hawaii and I rented a car and drove right to Waipahu and the school. No GPS! BTW, Mayday was my favorite celebration there.

    • Hi there! What was your mother’s name? My aunty Midori also worked at Arakawas all the way till they closed. I have great memories visiting her there and meeting her co-workers.


      • Hi Kristin
        My mothers name was Peggy Kirby. I too loved going there when my mother worked there. I know she really liked it there. She made a lot of friends at Arakawas and Waipahu. I don’t remember any names but I know her and my father visited there on their way home from the phillipines in 1973.
        Thank you for replying I love hearing everyone’s memories and it helps me to remember as well.

  4. …. It is about 4something in the morning, now … and I have the taste for a bowl of Won Ton Min with mustard on the side …. or maybe even to be confused yet delight again at my introduction to “waffles” as it was the first time having them at Rocky’s down by Arakawas ! … ‘What, Uncle ?” “I supposed to put butter in ALL the holes first? … Real country ‘Eh ?

  5. ……. Oh by the way … there is a painting on EBay right now … a watercolor, by the looks of it … of Takenaka Store from across the street, circa 1970ish … they want $350 for it … I was amused, both at the subject matter and the price ….

    • Jaime Picoc, I have a watercolor painting of Takenaka Store! Lol! I couldn’t resist getting it! If I remember correctly, I bought it for about $250 with the frame!

  6. …. I sit “up here” in Washington State … a part of me wishes I was “there” for the reunion, but events prevent me from doing so. But I do wish those of you there who haven’t already to take your heirs down to the Cultural Park. It is more than just a bunch of old buildings “that used to be”. It also is the place where the dreams of our Elders were made, and plans for our futures were sorted out by parents and Grandparents. From such simple roots and so humble our beginnings, we the children went out to make “Today”. With a smile I regret that our paths are not as they had planned, but I do hope that their spirits have not thrown up their hands, rolled their eyes and given up on us yet! Instead I hope they shake their heads, smiling at what we do and the lives we have touched and brought forth. I would hope they marvel at their heirs and who they look like and take after. I hope the young understand that no matter how badly they might feel about their lot in life, that there was a time when it was even more humble amd seemingly without hope for betterment. yet “We” are proof that it is not, and to be reminded of where our beginnings were is proof of that. … besides … They say there are “Obakes” there too ! .

    • Yep, Leebert Naboa and I were talking at the picnic last month about the tunnel that runs under Waipahu Street next to the train tracks by the S turns between the Plantation Village and where Horiuchi Saimin Stand used to be. The “Green Lady” is supposed to haunt this area too. You can crawl though the tunnel from the tracks to the river. I think this is the spot where the spring that Waipahu got it’s name from comes out of the ground.

      • Hi Lloyd! LOL…while going to elementary school, my sister used to talk about the green lady haunting one of the buildings at Waipahu Elementary School! I’ve never heard of her lurking around the S turn. My sister, Colette & I are very much interested in ghost stories & we enjoy collecting them. We both grew up in the Waipahu Plantation Camp & have fond memories of the life we had there. Because of this interest in ghost stories & for the life we had in the Waipahu Plantation Camp, we will be telling ghost stories next month at Hawaii’s Plantation Village. These stories will be about the strange & paranormal things that have occurred at the village, to the workers, volunteers & to us while investigating that place at night. We will be telling these stories at night, while we walk through the village & through some of the houses. The dates for these tours will be on Oct. 18, 19, 20, 25, 26 & 27. There will be two tours per night..6:30-7:30 & 8:00-9:00. Cost is $13. Hope to see you there, along with others who grew up in the Waipahu Plantation Camp! 😊

      • Oh…forgot to mention that you can make reservations for this tour by calling Hawaii’s Plantation Village! Really hope to see you there!

        • Hi Jill,
          That sounds very interesting! Would you like me to post something on this website?
          Lloyd Kurashima

          • Hi Llyod! Yes, if you could please post this event, that would be great! I really would like to meet you & the other people that are interested in Waipahu’s “old time days”! As a child, I used to walk all over that Waipahu Camp & I am still trying to figure out where you used live. It would be great if everyone who follows this website could make their reservations with HPV as soon as possible so that everyone can join us in one big group! . Btw one of the stories we tell on this tour is of a psychic who came down to Hawaii’s Plantation Village… He believes that many of the spirits that roam about the village, came from the plantation camp. With all the new warehouses & new business buildings that now occupy the area, where the plantation houses used to be, the spirits were displaced. The closest thing that looks like their former homes is HPV & they therefore all gravitated there. Well, anyways…I hope to meet you & many of the others at this event! 😊 Thank you, Llyod!

    • Hi Jaime! I frequently visit Hawaii’s Plantation Village in the day & night. With the permission of HPV, we had the opportunity to investigate the main houses that are reputed to be haunted. During the last few weeks of Oct, HPV has their annual haunted house attraction. What many people do not know is that on the days when there is no haunted house attraction, there is a ghost story tour! My sister & I will have the honor of conducting these ghost story tours this year. We will be taking people through the village at night & telling of the many supernatural things that have taken place in this village. All the final details such as the exact dates & cost has not been determined yet but will be posting all the details about this event as soon as we get everything sorted out!

      • Sorry … haven’t been on this site in awhile … “Life gets in the Way” at times … I will give you a lead to pursue, especially if you do interviews …. the Filipino term is “Batibat” …. Start here … …. and go from there … My family has had such “dreams” over the years … One incident was when my uncle (now deceased) was a child who had recurring dreams of one sitting on his chest, making it difficult to breathe …. he hid a WWI bayonet under his pillow, and the next time it happened, he stabbed at it … the wound in his leg did heal after awhile and I would have loved to have heard the story he told my Grandfather ….. point being is that all ethnic groups had a similar “demon of dreams” and before they are all forgotten in this age of the “I-Pad” another generation should be told …. Jim

  7. I cant remember that far back, moved to Waipahu in 1965. But I went to Dr Theodore Tomita, Raymond Honda’s uncle.I remember from the bridge going up to elementary school there where stores Dr Tomita’s office, Hidouchi saimin etc. I went there once when there was heavy rain, the river wash very high and flooded the saimin stand. When I moved to Waipahu I had a hard time understanding the Filipino accent. First teacher I had was Mrs Tutor ( 6th grade) dam that accent almost never pass. I never wore shoes to school all the way to eight grade. I can remember all the good stores, samin stand, okazuas, smell of molasse, old Filipino ladies smoking tosh kane ( rope tobacco ). Some thing the younger generation will never experience, Plantation Life.

    • Horiuchi saimin stand was my grandpa and grandma’s stand. Did anyone know my dad Ken? Or have any pictures? They lost everything in the flood. I’ve only seen one picture of the saimin stand.

      • Hi Kristin,
        I knew your Dad Ken. They used to live one street below us on Awalau St? I believe Ken had several brothers and sisters? Ask Dad if he remembers Kurashimas. Sorry no pictures only memories πŸ™
        Lloyd Kurashima

        • Hi Lloyd, yes, Uncle Ron and Aunty Judy are his brother and sister. Dad passed in ’99 of cancer. My uncle and his family still live by the high school. Did u guys go school together or know one another from the neighborhood? Nice to meet you! πŸ™‚


          • I’m sorry to hear about your Dad. I can picture how he looked as I remember. He always seemed to be smiling. Your Dad and Aunty and Uncle are classmates or my older sisters, but I remember them from the neighborhood and from the saimin shop. I remember how your grandmother looked and how she always wore an apron when we went to eat saimin. The store was close to the old Bank of Hawaii mauka of Arakawa’s on Waipahu Street.

          • Hey Lloyd,

            Thought I replied to this. Oops, but hanks for the warm memories. Yes, my dad was always smiling. πŸ™‚ I too can picture him as I remember. Grandma too, she had the cutest smile and laugh.


      • Hello Kristin! I’m not good at all this FB & computer stuff so I hope you get this message. I don’t have any photos of the Saimin stand but I remember Horiuchi Saimin Stand. They had the best saimin then & in my opinion, the best still! One of your relatives told me a story of one of his uncles who used to live by Waikele Stream. His uncle would sleep under the house sometimes & one morning when he woke up from under the house, he saw a strange creature. It was 3feet high, green & had a snout & tail. It was just sitting & watching the cars go along Waipahu Street. I wanted to know more about this story cause I love to collect supernatural/ghost stories, especially if it occurred in Waipahu!

        • Hi there! Yes, it took a while to find out, but my uncle Ron reported seeing a little green creature with that description while he was looking out of his window. Their house used to be right there by the Plantation Village and his room overlooked the bridge. I will ask him the next time I see him to get the personal account, but my family knew as soon as I asked them this evening about it. I have another uncle who lives in Waipahu that also told had a report of seeing a green creature, not sure if it had the snout or not, but my family recalls him saying he saw a picture of it at LCC library way back. Story goes, he went to his window one night and opened it. Green creature was right there in his window staring back at him. I want to say it also had a tail. Not sure on the height though. I’ll post up more info if I find out. By the way, thanks for the nice comment regarding grandma and grandpa’s store. My uncle, Michael Mauricio, brought us down to the village one day because they had recovered a piece of the store. It was a wood piece with carvings in it telling them they had the best saimin and other nice things. It was heartwarming. πŸ˜€


          • Thank you for the info, Kristin! I managed to speak to your uncle Michael Mauricio, with the help of Hawaii’s Plantation Village. He said that a Steven Kimura saw the creature in front of his house & that he also saw a drawing of it in a file folder, at the LCC library. Hehe…I will try to locate this drawing at the LCC library. BTW I used to work at Arakawas & knew a Midori Sato. If this is your aunt, she used to live across the street from me!

          • Oh my!!!! You know my family don’t you? πŸ™‚ Aunty still has the house in Waipahu. I’ll let her read this. Thank u for sharing.

          • Hi there! Lived across Aunty Midori? Last name was Seeker at the time? Trying to remember. Lol!

          • Yurei seeker is just my FB name. My real name is Jill! 😊

  8. Hey Jaime,

    The river ( Horiuchi Bridge ) I use to see you and Roland blue water hunting with your homemade spear guns. That was the place to play, Three Tunnels, Pump Four, Waikele Dam. Catching Talapia, catfish ( puntat ), frogs, swordfish, etc. We had our spots to swim and fish. Gordon Okamura and I would go early in the mornings and see who break the ice and jump in the cold water. We would be with his homemade spear gun too, trying to get to work properly

    Remember all the cold fresh water springs, most of it all gone now because of the water tanks. Some kids now days still play, swim and fish at the bridge, not to cool with leptos. The river or the camp was the places to hang out.

    • Newton … can you remember far back enough when as little kids we used to watch the older boys jump off the bridge ??? That was before they lined the bottom with concrete and stone for flood control. If you can remember that then you might remember all the store that went from the bridge to the bottom of the hill towards “Stable Camp” too ? … Cause I can’t remember them all but the Honda family had one of the shops. … See if you folks can recall …. Part of our history !

  9. Hey Lloyd and Jaime! I remember you guys! My brother Newton just told me about this site. I just retired from teaching at Waipahu Intermediate where I worked with Brian Okumura (’66) and Karen Tsukayama (’66) as well as some younger WHS graduates like Erin Yagi. I also worked with Wilma Uyeno’s cousin, Ivan.

    Talking about connections, my daughter and Dudley’s son just had a baby boy!

    • Hi Lynn! My real name is Jill Okita & Wilma Uyeno & Ivan Igarashi are my cousins! What a small world!

      • Jill,
        As I remember, Ivan Igarashi lived close to the old Soto Mission church in the plantation camp between the church and the Japanese School? Do you remember that?

        • That was his grandmother’s house. I used to live way on the opposite side of the camp…closer to the haul cane road, on the Nishi side of the camp. We had a outhouse for our toilet & I remember walking home from Bon dances & dodging the toads on the road.

  10. Here is one to think of ! …

    Memories can be an odd thng. Coming and going, breezing in and out of one’s mind. Often only half thought, partial pictures, or just a small nagging of “something” in the back of one’s mind. But it takes just a small trigger, the sight of something, a tune over the radio, the whiff of an odor and it come back starkly clear, or an out of focus blur of an intangible. This is one of mine, from “way back”;

    Kindergarten, Waipahu Elementary, the cinder block classroom on the left. Teacher, Mrs. Bachman. Tall(for I was short then), thin, blonde haole woman, early to mid 60’s. Favored light summer dresses, light in color, full midi skirts(crinolines?), lots of blues, flashes of greens, and dashes of reds and yellows. Then there were those wedges, cork with woven sides, single strap across the top. The typical attire of Haole wahines in Hawaii at the time who embraced the topical settings.

    The memory ? Nap time, I think was from 12 noon to 1230. This allowed the teachers to go up to the front office, smoke or have a drink, I don’t know? However, on that one particular day, when sleep does not come, myself and a girl named Eugenia, were up and dancing about as kids would do. Up off the denim sleeping bags/mats, first one, then the other. How long I couldn’t say? … Neither of us saw Mrs. Bachman come in. Too Bad.

    I don’t remember being grabbed, but what I do remember was being swatted on the behind, once or twice, maybe even three times by those cork wedges held in her hand. Perhaps a few words of anger or admonishment were spoken, but I don’t recall that.

    What I also remember was that she had freckles, sun kind I guess for she had a light tan too, and the dress, like described above, was strapless with a hint of cleavage (a term I did not understand till 4th grade). No memory of pain now, only a curiousity that lingers. Perhaps one day before I pass on from this place and time, I might hire a “professional” to dress as I remember that moment. Then to “spank me” ??? An experiment you see, for I would like to know if I remember because the moment was traumatic, OR somehow the memory was just a bit “kinky” even for me !

    Is the memory sweet or to be thought of as a bitter one ? Is the clarity of it a wish for earlier, simpler times, or something else again? Don’t really know, but to this day I am amused by it all !

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