Monday, June 15, 2009

1959 The Beginning of Hawaiian Paradise Park

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.


Dave Smith said...

Interesting post. I've been living on the island since 1973 but the early settling of this subdivision slipped right under my radar. Must have been spending too much of my free time down at Kalapana's Harry K. Brown park and Drainpipe beach to notice.

Maybe some of the HPP-ites could clarify: Isn't county water available on some of the streets up by the highway?

Devany said...


You might be right about the county water up by the highway. I have heard that because HPP has private roads they will not get any county services, hence it is catchments and wells and septic tanks for them.

I met a woman, who grew up in HPP. She was our guide to Shipman Beach ( was the one that had alerted me to some of the history initially. Now because my husband is in real estate, I find this history of development quite interesting. Fern Forest and Fern Acres were developed back in the 1940's. He has a customer that bought a lot there after serving here during the war.

Cat said...

More than 25 years ago - close to 30 now probably,Mr. Watamull set aside the land for Malamalama Waldorf School on 26th and Makuu. He was one of their big supporters. At that time, MWS was in tent structures off Kamaili Rd in Opihikao.

Thanks for the history! I love that kind of info!

Devany said...

Cat, That is also interesting about the MWS. That man sure had a lot of vision.

Dave Smith said...

Devaney, I'd have to look it up to be exact but I'm pretty sure that along with nearly all the other big Puna subdivisions, Fern Forest and Fern Acres were developed in the late 1950s.

Dave said...

Oops, sorry about misspelling your name.