Where You Live: Kaimuki

Published On: Nov 14 2013 06:45:00 PM HST

One look at a stretch of Waialae Avenue and, for many, this is Kaimuki.

But, those who live here say there's so much more to this neighborhood.

"Everyone seems to watch out for each other," said a mail carrier.

"It's just the most wonderful small-town feeling," said one woman.  "It's just -- it's hard to describe.  But, it's a feeling."

Click here to watch Justin Fujioka's report.

A feeling that residents say extends Koko Head to near Kahala Mall, makai to around Kilauea Avenue, mauka to Kaimuki's business corridor of Waialae Avenue and Ewa to either 6th Avenue or Kapahulu Avenue, depending on who you talk to.

"I believe people make their own boundaries of where Kaimuki starts and where it ends," said the woman.

Maybe it's because so many want to be a part of a population that makes this neighborhood so special, to both young and old.

"There's a lot of nice people here and good hospitality," said one girl.

"I just think that the neighborhood in general is really good and the people here," said one boy.

"They're just really friendly.  They care about this place.  Many people have lived here for a long time," said one man.

Catherine Hughes has lived in Kaimuki all 85 years of her life.

"People have lived in the area for generations," said Hughes.

"How has this place changed?" asked Justin Fujioka.  Hughes responded, "Drastically."

The hill known as Pu'u O Kaimuki is a prominent feature of the area and helped shape this neighborhood.  There's a lot of history here.

The hill behind the Kaimuki Fire Station was once home to a telegraph, as well as an observatory and a reservoir that supplied water to the dry, dusty and developing suburb of Honolulu around the start of the 20th century.

That's when people and homes, many prefabricated and shipped from the mainland, started moving in.  They were moving in quickly once the Waialae Avenue Streetcar was built from Kapahulu to Koko Head Avenues in 1903.

"Ended right here and the roads ended at 22nd Avenue.  From there on was all agriculture," said Hughes.

But, not for long.  As more and more automobiles took to the roads and more suburbs were built out toward Hawaii Kai, the streetcar was shut down.

Still, Waialae Avenue continued to grow as the neighborhood's business district.

"I think that we have to try and welcome the change and make it as nice as possible.  Try and design it so it's comfortable for everyone," said Hughes.

It's something residents of Kaimuki have been doing for generations.  By keeping that small-town feeling throughout all the growth and change.


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