Editor’s note: West Hawaii Today, in conjunction with Kona Historical Society, is presenting a weekly feature called “Historic Kailua Village.” The articles and the accompanying photographs have been compiled by the society and were published in a book titled “Kona Historical Society’s Historic Kailua Village Map.”
Papaula (red flats) lies beneath the Kona Inn Shopping Village. Early accounts and drawings of the flats describe Keikipuipui, a luakina heiau or sacrificial temple, probably first built in the 15th century during Chief Umi’s reign. An early explorer reported that Keikipuipui contained more than 40 kii (carved images). In the late 1700s and early 1800s, Kamehameha I’s oldest son, Liholiho, lived there.
The Kona Inn, recognized as Kona’s first destination resort, is the only building in Kona designed by renowned Honolulu architect C.W. (Pop) Dickey. Constructed in 1928, the inn featured a saltwater swimming pool, tennis courts and 22 guest rooms. It had a hale pili (grass house) at its entrance, and the saltwater pool was located just south of where the oceanfront lawn is today.
To get to the inn, early travelers took an interisland steamship to the port at Hilo. There they could choose either a nine-hour trip by car or a 14-hour trip by boat to reach Kailua-Kona. Celebrities of the era considered this a great getaway.
Copyright 2005 Kona Historical Society. Reprinted by permission.