On this day fifty years ago, the first jet service began from Honolulu to Hilo with Aloha Airlines.
On the same date in the Tribune Herald, there was an article about the settlers of the newly sub-divided Hawaiian Paradise Park in Puna. The article read, "Eight Californians known as 'the first settlers' in the Hawaiian Paradise Park, midway between Olaa and Pahoa hope to begin construction of their 4 bedroom home soon... At present, the Californians are living in tents in the site where they will construct their home."
According to an interview with another early settler, Rick Edwards in 1978, HPP was part of a land deal between two well known and wealthy land owners from Hilo. Mr. Watumull bought the land where HPP is now located from the Shipman family. The Wataumull Building in Hilo became the Shipman Building as part of that trade. The first lots were sold for $795. By 1967, the last available lot was purchased for $1995. The rest is history.
Mr. Edwards goes on to name those first Californians, the Pipers who, in anticipation of statehood bought the lot and camped on it as they built their structure. Keep in mind this was totally off the grid and it would be a very long time before even telephone service reached HPP. That first lot was #226 in block 8. Unfortunately, Mr. Piper's dream was bigger than his abilities to build his home. The home was built without proper support and Mr. Watamull actually had to hire someone to come in and finish the house properly.
Today, I have many friends that live in HPP and love it. Lots today sell for $40,000. to over $100,000 there today, depending on location and size. But of course, they do have electricity and telephone service these days. There is no county water or sewer service as of now and cable is also not available to much of the sub division.