SS CITY OF LOS ANGELES Maiden Arrival At Hilo: (90 Years Ago) by Martin Cox

Extracts from Chapter Two: September 18, 1922

Hollywood to Honolulu: the story of the Los Angeles Steamship Company (a book) by Gordon Ghareeb and Martin Cox

Marking the 90th anniversary of the start of the first regular passenger and freight service from Los Angeles – Honolulu, I have serialized some extracts from our book Hollywood to Honolulu: the story of the Los Angeles Steamship Company by Gordon Ghareeb and Martin Cox. (Published by Steamship Historical Society of America 2009)

Popular postcard of SS CITY OF LOS ANGELES off Hawaii, note Captain Hamma’s signature. Author’s collection.

After six days at sea a gala carnival dinner was held in the dining saloon followed by a star-lit dance on the after decks of the CITY OF LOS ANGELES to celebrate the last night out and the soon to be triumphant Southern California entry to the island territory.  Just as dawn was breaking on Monday, September 18th the volcanic peaks of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa rose from the horizon as the island of Hawaii was seen ahead and the flagship glided past the breakwater of Kuhio Bay into the port of Hilo to tie up at the new concrete pier at 8:00 am amid the cheers and shouts of countless local inhabitants.  Four special trains were dispatched shipside to carry the excursionists on a 66-mile trip to the sugarcane fields of Paauilo.  Lunch was a huge bash thrown at the Hilo Hotel and the passengers were herded back aboard the liner in time for her midnight sailing for the neighboring island of Maui.

1922 Hawaiian folder advertising the new LASSCO service on “Government ships”. Author’s collection.

Steaming north and west the 110-mile voyage to Maui was completed in seven hours which brought the LASSCO flagship into the anchorage of Kahula Bay just after sunrise.  Passengers were taken ashore on flat-bottomed barges pulled by tugboats and were met at the pier by hundreds of cheering and flag-waving residents including members of the well known Baldwin family who were owners and operators of the Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar Company which was the largest sugar plantation in the territory (Harry Baldwin, Hawaii’s first born son was also the territory’s congressional representative in Washington D.C.).  It was also not surprising that many of the liner’s contingent happened to be major shareholders in the Baldwin’s corporate stock.  A vast motorcade embarked the mainland visitors for a tour to Haleakala crater, sugar plantations, cattle ranches, the gorge at Iao Valley, the old whaling port of Lahaina, and endless pineapple groves (the territory’s second largest industry after sugar).  The expected celebratory extravaganza was held at the Grand Hotel in Wailuku before the Southern California tourists were ushered back into the automobile procession for transshipment to the CITY OF LOS ANGELES.

End of part three

Book Review: Hollywood to Honolulu: The story of the Los Angeles Steamship Company

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