By: C. S. Papacostas

​A clarification of last month’s (Dec. 2009) article is in order: The proposed (but never built) roadway tunnels I mentioned were to connect Hawaii Kai and Waimanalo, whereas the constructed utility tunnel is from the Kuapa Pond side of the Ko`olau Range to the Sandy Beach side above the location of Koko Crater. With that out of the way, let us turn our attention to this month’s vignette.

The December 2003 cover story of the Wiliki o Hawaii was titled “2003 ASCE Hawaii Section OCEA Award,” OCEA standing for the Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement. One of the nominated projects was the “Lower Hamakua Ditch By-Pass Tunnel” on the Big Island of Hawaii. It was a project undertaken by the design/build team of Jas. W. Glover Ltd. and the URS Corporation under contract with the State “to construct an emergency bypass tunnel to restore water to farmers and the environment.”

Water flow had been restricted since 1989 when part of the “90 year old, 8-foot diameter water tunnel collapsed due to a catastrophic landslide at mid height of the 2,000-foot Hakalaoa Falls.” This event left only one of the famed twin falls of Waipi`o Valley (the Hi`ilawe Falls) flowing.

The restoration project went on to become one of seven National ASCE OCEA finalists in 2004 because it “offered the team multiple challenges, including the continuing danger of further collapse. Their solution, a 300-foot long, 7-foot in diameter, hand-mined, liner plate supported bypass tunnel, was built without the use of tunneling machines and drilling robots. Over 1,300 tons of materials had to be hauled to the site at one half ton per load, over a distance of 2 miles each way, at 5 mph. The cumulative distance for all materials was over 5,200 miles, further than a round-trip from San Francisco to D.C. Despite the many challenges, the tunnel was completed on schedule, within budget, without claims and with no discernable impact on the environment.”

Around that time, I attended a monthly meeting of ASCE-Hawaii where Jeff Kalani, a consulting geotechnical engineer with the URS Corporation at the time, made a technical presentation on the project and expressed his amazement at what the original engineers were able to achieve with even fewer resources, merely human and animal power, pick and shovel, and perhaps a transit for surveying the rugged and inhospitable terrain.

During a fascinating conversation at he end of Jeff’s presentation, he casually asked me if I knew anything about an engineer or construction assistant named Thomas F. Kelly who possibly worked for William J. Payne, the tunneling engineer/manager of the sugar company. Kelly had lost his life on the job in 1909. His grave, he said, was at the site and his name evoked warm feelings in the memories of the area’s residents to this day. 

I suggested “Sugar Water: Hawaii’s Plantation Ditches” by Carol Wilcox as a possible source of information about the matter, and promised a follow-up try to find out; after all, I was given the definite year of Kelly’s demise as a lead to the search.

A few days later, Jeff sent me an email message that included three topographic maps of the precipitous area and a file that contained photographs of Kelly’s gravestone, one clearly showing a modest three-line inscription:

In Memory of

As Jeff put it, “the respectful nature of the site itself leads me to believe that Kelly was someone important or well-liked.” Wilcox provided little additional information. She states “William Payne took pride in his final report that all tunnels were built without an accident. The only death he reported during construction was that of an engineer named Thomas Kelly who, returning home one night, drowned when he was
swept off his horse while crossing the river. He was buried up in the valley where his headstone can still be seen at ‘haole make’.” In Hawaiian “make” means “dead” or “to die,” thus “haole make” is “dead Caucasian/foreigner,” depending on the nuance given to the word “haole.” 

To my surprise, my search for additional detail yielded nothing until this year, when I chanced upon a story in the Tuesday, August 3, 1909 issue of the Hilo Tribune [HT] titled “Kelly Drowned in Waipio River.” It described the deceased simply as “an employee of the Hawaiian Irrigation Co.” who “was drowned in the Waipio River last Tuesday while attempting to cross it on his return home from Kukuihaele where he had been to obtain supplies at the main office of the company.” His drowned horse, the story continued, was found the same evening, but a careful search failed to discover his body until two days later “wedged in between two large boulders where it had been carried by the water. The body was buried in Waipio gulch.” The story, it turns out, was reprinted from Honolulu’s Sunday Advertiser of July 25, 1909, thus placing the day of Kelly’s death on the previous Tuesday, July 20, 1909.

As for Kelly’s background, the article said, “the deceased was born in Rutland, Vermont, May 4, 1876. He enlisted in the army at the beginning of the Spanish American war and spent several years in the Philippines. He was a member of Theodore Roosevelt Camp No. 1, U. S. W. V.” The last acronym, I discovered, stands for “United Spanish War Veterans,” the 1898-1972 records of which are kept by the Utah State Historical Society.

What led me to the HT entry was a story in Vol. 6, No. 2 (August 1995) of “Environment Hawaii, a monthly newsletter.” This article contradicts Payne’s claim of “no accidents” on the job and cites another HT report on September 7, 1909 that a Japanese laborer “was pinned down by a large boulder falling on him; he died shortly after the accident.” Moreover, according to a lengthy article by Albert Pierce Taylor in the Advertiser [7/3/1909], another Japanese laborer was reported to have “tumbled to death hundreds of feet below.” Perhaps, in Payne’s mind, Japanese workers did not count for much. For one, even their names were very rarely reported in those days!

Finally! Earlier this year, I was able to share with Jeff Kalani the additional information about Kelly when he presented to the Engineers and Architects of Hawaii (EAH) yet another award winning project following recent earthquakeinduced damage to the same irrigation system. This time, Jeff was associated with Yogi Kwong Engineers LLC.

February 2010:  ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT c. 1908
By: C. S. Papacostas

​In preparation for its official centennial celebration in 2008, the University of Hawaii College of Engineering (COE) obtained the services of retired librarian and curator emerita Nancy J. Morris, Ph.D., to write a commemorative historical piece for the occasion.

Sometime in 2007, Kerri Van Duyne, the alumni relations officer of the College at the time, had asked me specifically about Leslie A. Hicks, one of the notable graduates of the college who rose to the position of Hawaiian Electric Co. (HECO) president, and for whom a power plan dedicated in 1955 on the Honolulu waterfront was named. In response, I sent her quite a number URLs and newspaper clippings (including Hicks’ obituary) and I also arranged via Mary Ellen Nordyke-Grace of HECO to obtain a related file from the company that had been compiled by librarian Annette Summerlin.

Then, in Sept. 2007, I received an email message from Dr. Morris that said in part:

“Dear Dr. Papacostas:

I’m writing the history of the College of Engineering for the centennial. History being my field of study, I’ve come to realize that you are the faculty member most interested in history and I’ve enjoyed reading your very readable articles in Wiliki online. Here are a couple of things I’ve come across in researching the centennial piece and I wonder if you have some ideas on this... Also in one of your articles (April ‘95) you mention the “engineering archives”as a source of your note on Keller and UH road building. In one of the meetings with the centennial project staff, I asked about such an archive but those at the meeting weren’t sure there is such. Do you know more? The UH archive at Hamilton doesn’t have too much on engineering - mostly faculty appointment papers in the UH president’s files. I’m very much enjoying this project and hope I can pester you as other issues arise.”

I suggested to her a publication entitled “College of Engineering, University of Hawaii 1907-1982: A Record of its History and its Alumni,” which I had used in 1990 to prepare a “Proposal for a Program Leading to the Ph.D. in Civil Engineering” that (following several unsuccessful attempts by others since 1969) led to the establishment in 1992 of the doctoral program in Civil Engineering. Included in the package I sent to Dr. Morris was my proposal that she thought to “be of great help.” When the centennial book arrived, I was tickled to see an acknowledgment of my contribution to it as the “unofficial historian” of the college!

The centennial celebration came and went but, following a persisting streak in my nature, I continued to collect, as time permitted, additional records about the College (as well the larger University community). Much of this material has been documented elsewhere, but some of it that would be of particular interest to engineers and college alumni was passed over in publications targeting more general audiences.

An article in the September 1908 issue of the monthly “Paradise of the Pacific” (PP) by Prof. Willis T. Pope began “The College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts of Hawaii first came to public attention in 1905. For several years prior to that time there had been coniderable discussion in regard to agriculture among many of our citizens.”

​By 1907, the Territorial Legislature passed two Acts that “embodied the establishment of a College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts in Hawaii, provision for its government and support, and special appropriations for the use of the college during the biennial period ending June, 1909.”

Lands were designated in Manoa Valley but, due to insufficient legislative appropriation and the fact that federal Morrill Act funds were not eligible for the construction of buildings, “the most feasible plan was to lease and remodel a building on Young Street near Thomas Square.”

Prof. Roadhouse, who was appointed Dean on the recommendation of Prof. Hilgard of California met with a sudden death in San Francisco in Nov. 1907, and the job of Acting Dean was given to Willis T. Pope, of the Science Department of the Honolulu Normal School.

A map in his PP 1908 account shows a 68-acre site reserved for the college in Manoa, covering 30.6 acres of “Puahia,” adjacent to the Manoa Stream, and the rest to the west in an area designated as “Pilipili.”

While at the temporary quarters, library materials and laboratory equipment were purchased and “the theodolites, levels, telescope, etc., of the Engineering department are of the latest design and best workmanship.” During the year, Prof. John W. Gilmore, then associated with State College, Pennsylvania, was appointed first President of the college at the recommendation of Pres. Schurman of Cornell and other “famous educators” at an annual salary of $4800. Leading the Engineering department was Prof. John Mason Young, who also doubled up as engineer for the college.

Thus, what was originally envisioned as strictly an agricultural college was from the start expanded to include, according to the school’s 1908-09 catalogue (summarized in the Aug. 1909 issue of PP), “a course in Science, a course in Agriculture, a course in Engineering, and a course in Household Economics.” The planned engineering curricula offered bachelor and master degrees in civil, electrical and mechanical engineering.

It appears that under a good measure of uncertainty, the first academic year “opened in what is ordinarily the middle of the scholastic year,” in February 1908, with five regular and 97 special students. Of the five regular students, two were enrolled in engineering and three in agriculture. The first two regular engineering students were DeWitt Gibson, “son of the Superintendent of the Boys Industrial School” and Ching Quon Amona, who had been “a student at the High School [Pacific Commercial Advertiser, PCA, 2/16/1908].”

On Feb. 18, 1909, Pres. Gilmore boasted to the PCA that, even though still housed in a temporary building, “as to the equipment for the engineering building, there was machinery which would be of public service. It was a testing apparatus, where a railroad company, desiring to test absolutely the strength and carrying qualities of ties, could learn it with this machine and determine just how many ties to use to the rail. The Honolulu Iron Works, the Rapid Transit Company, the Railroad Company, and other service corporations, could obtain valuable knowledge from this equipment. In fact, the College of Hawaii offered a field of study which was invaluable to the development of the Islands.”

Next: The original engineering curricula!

March 2010:  FROSH/SOPH CURRICULUM c. 1908
By: C. S. Papacostas

I was pleased to hear that Richard Cox, 1964 President of ASCE-Hawaii, had circulated to family members and others last month’s (Feb. 2010) article about the inaugural year of the College of Hawaii.

The 1908-09 catalog of the College specified that admission of regular students could be by examination in specific subjects, by certificate from an accredited school or from the College Entrance Examination Board, or by transfer from other Colleges or Universities. According to a speech delivered by College President John Gilmore at the Farmers’ Institute annual meeting, regular applicants over sixteen years old could specifically be “admitted on presentation of diploma” from the three notable high schools in Honolulu: The High School, Oahu College (that is, Punahou School) or the Normal School [see Sunday Advertiser, 12/27/1908].

Entrance into engineering required the student “to be well grounded in the physical sciences, and in mathematics up to, and including solid geometry and plain trigonometry [Pacific Commercial Advertiser, PCA, 11/2/1908].” The spelling “plain” rather than “plane” appears to have been in use for several centuries, as seen in a very old book by Thomas Abel titled “Subtential Plain Trigonometry Wrought With A Sliding Rule” and Mark Forster’s even earlier “Arithmetical Trigonometry: Being the Solution Of All The Usual Cases In Plain Trigonometry By Common Arithmetic, Without Any Tables Whatsoever!”

What today would be called a “mission statement” for the new higher education institution proclaimed that “the College of Hawaii is offering courses in engineering that are designed to give a thorough training in the fundamental principles upon which professional engineering practice is based and to illustrate the application of these principles by the solution of many practical problems.” Moreover, “realizing the value of general culture, liberal provision has been made for the humanities.”

Mechanical Engineering, the newspaper said, was “planned to afford a systematic and thorough training in general engineering, covering in addition to the purely mechanical subjects, exercises in electrical measurements and testing, in chemical technology, in hydraulics, in sugar engineering and in the engineering of power plants.”

The electrical engineering course of study was about “the application of electricity to the useful arts [and] commercial aspects including electric railways, telephones, electric lighting, electrometallurgy, and the generation, transmission, and utilization of electric power.” 

Called the “oldest and broadest of the engineering professions,” Civil Engineering encompassed “municipal engineering with its problems of water supply, sewage disposal and highway construction; hydraulic engineering with its questions of irrigation and water-power development; structural engineering, dealing with the design of bridges, steel and concrete buildings, roofs, foundations and retaining walls; and transportation engineering, including the building of railways, canals, docks and tunnels.”

Sprinkled throughout the newspaper account were elements considered important or useful to the engineer, including mechanical drawing that emphasized “accuracy, speed, order and neatness,” the ability to make “accurate observation, proper order and form in recording observations [and] the drawing of correct inferences,” a fluency of “setting forth of his work in concise English,” and an understanding of “the details and cost of construction [and] their importance in the problem of design with special regard to theory and economy.”

Promoting the utilitarian side of engineering, the anonymous author of the article admonished, “Knowledge, when not accompanied by the ability to use it, is of small value.”

As for the curricula planned for the inaugural year of the College, “all three branches of engineering are parallel through the first two years, while the mechanical and electrical engineering courses differ only in the fourth year. The divergence of the course in civil engineering from the other branches begins at the close of the second year.”

The perfectly common two-year curriculum required 23 credits during each of the two semesters of the first year, and 22 credits during each semester of the second year.

English was required in each of the four semesters, as was a foreign language choice between German or French, and mechanical drawing, although the fourth class of the latter included descriptive geometry as well. Two one credit courses in “rhetoricals” were part of the first year, and three courses in chemistry occupied the freshman and half of the sophomore year.

Beginning with a very first semester review of algebra, geometry and trigonometry, the prescribed sequence of mathematics classes continued with analytic geometry, differential calculus, and integral calculus, whereas two classes in physics (general and engineering) and two classes in surveying were part of the second year requirements. Completing the classes taken during the first two years were “pattern making” (first semester, freshman year), foundry & forge (second semester, freshman year) and machine shop (second semester, sophomore year).

By the way, according to Willis T. Pope, the first “interim” president of the College of Hawaii, entrance examinations, for those who chose this path to admission, were to be held at the beginning of each term, with provisions for special examinations at other times. The passing grade was set at 70 percent.

“Tuition,” he wrote, “is free to residents of the Territory. Non residents will be given information on applying to the President.”

Next: Junior and Senior year curricula.

April 2010 - JR/SR YEAR CURRICULA c.1908
By: C. S. Papacostas

On Monday, January 20, 1908, the EveningBulletin of Honolulu announced, “The regular work of the four years’ course of the College of Agriculture and Mechanics Arts will begin September 14 next. For those who are not up in the studies required for entrance, a special preparatory course will be given, commencing Feb. 3.” Thus was begun the first full-academic year of what is now known as The University of Hawaii. According to a later report, the academic year at the time consisted of two 18-week long semesters [“Paradise of the Pacific,” Aug., 1909].

Last month (March 2010), I described the common first- and second-year curriculum of the Civil, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering courses of study as it was planned back in 1908 when the Department of Engineering was scheduled to enroll its first regular class. An unnamed, but clearly well-informed, writer of a newspaper article explained that the Civil Engineering curriculum deviated from the other two in the junior year [“Pacific Commercial Advertiser,” PCA, 11/2/1908].

Having 90 credit hours under their belt, civil engineering juniors embarked on the study of Mechanics, taking 4 credits of the elementary variety during the first and 5 credits of Analytical Mechanics during the second semester of the third year. The sequence of Materials (3 credits) and Materials & Metallurgy (3 credits) were included in the junior year, at the same time when design-oriented study was being pursued, with general Structural Design (3 credits) inserted in the first semester and the more specialized Bridge Design (3 credits) in the second. Two-credit Drawing classes were added to the 13-credits on the same subject that would have been accumulated in four previous classes.

Similarly, two 3-credit classes in Surveying were added to the two taken in the sophomore year, bringing the coverage of this subject to 12 credits so far, with another 3-credit class awaiting the students in their senior year. Three credits of Geology and 3 in Astronomy completed the junior year, at the end of which the budding civil engineers would have earned 131 credits.

With yet an entire year to go, this number of credit hours is about six credits more that today’s typical four-year degree requirements! In the modern American Civil Engineering curriculum, most (if not all) of the Engineering Drawing and Surveying classes of yore have been supplanted by general core, liberal arts and new engineering topics, and other subjects (such as Forestry) are no longer included. 

The electrical and mechanical engineering juniors of 1908 were expected to take Mechanics and Materials classes just like the Civils. Their common third-year curriculum called for an emphasis in Kinematics, Engineering Chemistry, Physics, Machine Design, Steam and Electrical Machinery, and two Mechanical Laboratory classes, also leading to 131 credit hours at the end of a successfully completed junior year.

It was at the senior level that the three disciplines followed their separate paths, although they featured some overlaps, particularly between ME and EE. The first semester of the CE senior student began with a 5-credit class in Hydraulics and five 3-credit courses covering Sanitary Engineering, Surveying, Engineering Laboratory, Forestry and Electives. The second and final semester required the same study load consisting of a 5-credit course in Irrigation Engineering and 3-credit treatments of Municipal Engineering, Roads & Highways, Concrete & Masonry Structures, Water Supply, and Electives. With 40 credits of senior requirements, the four-year CE course of study was pegged at a grand total of 171 credit hours.

The ME and EE senior curricula called for a course in Hydraulics but only for 3 in contrast to CE’s 5 credits. Shared ME and EE courses included Thermodynamics (5) and Dynamo Laboratory (2 credits for MEs but 4 for EEs) and Engineering Economics in the Fall semester, as well as 5 credits of Steam, Gas & Oil Engines during the Spring semester. Beyond the electives and the commonalities in their curricula, ME seniors needed to pass courses in Steam Engine Design, Engineering & Sugar Plants, Steam Plant Design, Power Plant Testing and Specifications & Contracts. The EE senior, on the other hand, was to complete that program with Electrical Machinery Design, Electrical Power Plant Design, Electro Chemistry & Metallurgy, and something specified as “H.T. Testing and tras.”

As the author of the PCA article made clear when listing the areas falling within the preview of Civil Engineering, “This wide range of subjects cannot be covered in detail in a four-year course, hence the students’ attention is concentrated upon the comparatively few principles underlying all branches of the profession.” This situation persists to this day, on occasion causing some friction between industry groups (who request more or deeper coverage of certain subjects) and academia (that faces the constraint of time).

Knowing what I do about civil engineering practice at the turn of the 20th century, however, I find it curious that Engineering Economics was not identified in the CE curriculum and that only ME explicitly designated Specifications & Contracts as one of the required classes. Regarding the planned courses of study in engineering that I described above, several of my University of Hawaii colleagues have pointed out to me that, according to the 2008 centennial commemorative history of the College of Engineering, the ME and EE Departments were not established until the 1950s and 1960s. This apparent discrepancy appears “curiouser and curiouser” as Alice (in Wonderland) cried, but it has a perfectly rational explanation (to be given next month).

Do you know of a civil engineering accomplishment or event that your fellow ASCE members might find interesting?

Please send a brief description to C.S. Papacostas (fax 956-5014, email csp@wiliki.eng.hawaii.edu).

By: C. S. Papacostas

The readers of Honolulu's Pacific Commercial Advertiser (PCA) of June 4, 1908 were informed that, according to a letter penned by Governor Frear on the east coast and addressed to Acting Governor Mott-Smith in Honolulu, John W. Gilmore was offered the position of President of the College of Hawaii, the full name of which was the College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts of Hawaii, an A&M College that eventually became the University of Hawaii.

Gilmore, whose middle initial stood for "Washington," had been recommended to the Board of Regents (BOR) by Jacob Gould Schurman, President of Cornell University and proponent of the legitimacy of "practical" higher education, rather than only Classical studies. The BOR, in its turn, dispatched two of its members, Alonzo Gartley and Ralph S. Hosmer, to accompany the Governor and make the offer to Gilmore. Gartley had arrived in Hawaii in 1900 to manage the Hawaiian Electric Co., and Hosmer was brought to the Territory in 1904 as its first Superintendent of Forestry.

At the same time, the BOR was preparing to acquire a significant library collection with $10,000 to $20,000 in federal funds, and "a complete set of instruments for the mechanical and engineering courses" were "being selected by Mr. Gartley together with the necessary astronomical instruments to thoroughly cover the requirements of that course."

The June 19, 1908 issue of the PCA announced that Gilmore was scheduled to arrive in August, and pointed out "bids will soon be advertised to supply the college with a library of about 3500 volumes, also various apparatus [sic] employed in the departments." The reason why priority was placed on books and laboratories was because the federal funds at hand were eligible for them, and for instructional activities and salaries in certain areas of instruction including sciences, mechanic arts and the English language, but not for "buildings, furniture or land." Consequently, as of June 1908, it was "probable that a temporary building will be erected on the new High School grounds to house the books."

Capital improvements had to be financed with legislative appropriations and private endowments, but funds from these sources were slow in coming. This financial constraint prevented the College from enjoying "a more permanent and practicable site in Manoa valley [PCA, 12/12/1908]." To wit," at this last session, the Legislature appropriated $25,000 for the establishment of a college temporarily on grounds near the High School where it is now located [PCA, 12/12/1908]."

The temporary college site was near Thomas Square where an old high school had been relocated within the same time frame and this is how the present-time web site of this school describes the move: "McKinley High School was officially established in 1865, as the Fort Street English Day School by Maurice B. Beckwith. In November 1869 [the school] moved from the basement of the old Fort Street Church to a new stone building on the corner of Fort and School Streets. The Fort Street School later moved to the Princess Ruth's Palace in 1895 and was renamed the Honolulu High School. In 1907, [it] moved to the corner of Beretania and Victoria streets" where, renamed McKinley High School, remained until 1921 when it was relocated to its present King Street site.

It should not be at all surprising that, as a good administrator, Gilmore embarked on a promotional and fund raising campaign for the College. In December 1908, he was reported to speak to the Commercial Club [PCA, 12/12/1908] and at the annual meeting of the Farmers' Institute [Sunday Advertiser (SA), 12/12/1908], whereas on February 17, 1909 he is described as challenging the Chamber of Commerce to support the school as an agent of growth [PCA, 2/18/1909]. Among his promotional themes were the need to provide practical training to all "classes" of citizens, to support the industrial and economic development of the Territory through "the inseparable functions of instruction and research," and to address problems that are peculiar or unique to the tropics in contrast to those encountered in temperate zones that were covered by mainland schools, themes that reverberate at the State Capitol to this day.

His immediate plans for the funding he was seeking included a well-appointed campus in "a style of architecture that ... would be altogether pleasing and attractive beyond the life of the present generation" and that could last for 75, even 100 years. He also envisioned a modern experimental station that would become as successful and self-supporting as that of the Sugar Planters Association. Incidentally, the physical plant of the latter survives to this day on the grounds of Makiki Park on Keeaumoku Street. The Makiki Public Library now occupies one of its buildings.

In his view, "a stream borders the [Manoa] property on one side, which, with construction of a dam and with proper development, will afford excellent facilities for work in all phases of engineering, irrigation, hydraulics and power development. There is in this environment a nucleus for an engineering experiment station that, when developed, ought to be of great economic benefit to the Territory [SA, 6/6/1909]."

To realize these dreams, he immediately hired John Mason Young, a Cornell graduate and practicing professional, to head the engineering department and to act as the official Engineer for the College. It was Young who oversaw the design and construction of the original neoclassical campus plan, and who designed the civil, electrical and mechanical engineering curricula I described in the last two months (March and April, 2010).

Last month I also posed the quandary of why is it that the beginnings of the mechanical and electrical engineering departments in Hawaii are typically placed in the 1950s and 1960s, if Young had indeed established them in 1908. The answer is found in the October 19, 1917 edition of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, "that the engineering course at the College of Hawaii be confined to civil engineering and the engineering features of sugar technology, was the decision reached at a meeting of the board of regents... The full course in mechanical engineering has not been given at the college because of a lack of equipment, it was pointed out, and the full course in electrical engineering has not been given because of lack of demand."

It was not until the 1950s and 1960s that both of these challenges were overcome. Hopefully, the current budget crisis of the State will not reverse the gains won since then.

And why the early interest in astronomy and the instruments that Regent Gartley was procuring in 1908, you may ask. That was motivated to a large degree by the predicted appearance of Halley's comet and the construction of an astronomical observatory on Ocean View Drive in Kaimuki to track it.

But this is a story for another day!

By: C. S. Papacostas

Last month (May 2010), I gave the well-known fact that, in 1908, what became the University of Hawaii (UH) operated in temporary structures on the then grounds of McKinley High School that enjoyed the use of an "imposing" building opened in 1908. In an article which appeared in Thrum's "Hawaiian Almanac and Annual for 1909" (published in 1908), C. E. King said:

"This structure, built of hollow concrete blocks, is two stories high and contains eight properly ventilated well-equipped class-rooms, a physical and a chemical laboratory, an up-to-date commercial department, a library and a comfortable and spacious assembly hall. In addition, there is the principal's office, ladies' retiring room, each provided with all conveniences, two hat rooms for the use of students, a private chemistry laboratory and a dark room connected with the chemical laboratory. The McKinley High School is located on Victoria street, occupying the grounds between Young and Beretania, and facing historical Thomas Square."

The 22,548 square foot building featured office and library furniture made of "handsome koa wood," and toilets with "enameled closets without wooden tops." In its "Retrospect for 1908," the Almanac added, "the contract for this building went to Wm. C. Chalmers for the sum of $52,521, and was dedicated September 11th for the opening of the school year, though not entirely completed." Master architect Harry Livingston Kerr designed the building.

The building is still there for all to see. After McKinley was relocated to King Street, it was occupied by the Linekona ("Lincoln") Elementary School, now in the Makiki District. In 1990, the building was renovated as the "Academy Art Center," the largest art private school in Hawaii. Under the administration of the Honolulu Academy of Arts, the renovated building earned the 1990 preservation award of the Hawaii Historic Foundation, an organization of which I now happen to be a member.

By the way, the issue of the Almanac that I quoted above was its first edition to list in its "Register & Directory" the entire faculty of the "College of Hawaii," including the Head of the Department of Engineering, Prof. J. M. Young.

According to a Sept. 22, 1908 story in the Evening Bulletin (EB), "surprised because of the interest that has been exhibited in the engineering branches locally, J. M. Young, head of the engineering department of the new College of Hawaii dropped in for a chat over existing conditions with Marston Campbell this morning. Mr. Young is an Eastern man, being a graduate of Cornell university, and he finds that a great many of the customs here are novel as schools are concerned."

Although not clarified in the story, readers of my Nu`uanu Dam (2006-07) and Pearl Harbor Drydock (2008-09) series will recall that Campbell was the Territory's Superintendent of Public Works at the time. The newspaper story continued by quoting Young, "I really was surprised when I found out what enthusiasm there is exhibited here for the study of engineering. It is the usual thing for a youthful student to fancy the courses in arts rather than the hard grind of engineering."

In Nov. 1909, Young and Chalmers, the McKinley building contractor, founded what was to become a major firm, the Pacific Engineering Co., Ltd. Young's triple role as professor, College engineer and private contractor led to a series of what would be described as "conflict of interest" situations that have recently been documented by Barbara Furstenberg in Vol. 42 (2008) of "The Hawaiian Journal of History."

The Hawaiian Annual for 1910 (copyrighted in 1909) featured the establishment and planned programs of "The College of Hawaii" by its president, John W. Gilmore, and listed both the Regents and the faculty of the institution in its registry. Among the latter was Arthur R. Keller, Professor of Civil Engineering. The middle initial stood for "Ripont." Also a Cornell man, according to Furstenberg, Keller relieved Young of some teaching responsibilities.

The next major issue facing the College was the campaign to ensure support for a permanent campus. As Gilmore put it in the Feb. 1911 Paradise of the Pacific magazine, "if the College is to do the work that lies before it and if it is to meet the opportunities that are ripe, it must receive aid from the Legislature... The last Legislature made provision for the purchase of lands in Manoa Valley and in accordance with this provision some ninety acres have been procured... The College now needs a permanent building on these grounds with sufficient funds to furnish it... It is reasonable to assert that the Territory of Hawaii could not make an investment that would bring larger returns for the welfare and productive capacity of its citizens."

The Hawaiian Annual for 1913 published a year later (in 1912) contained a follow-up article on the College by Professor of Botany and Horticulture Vaughan McCaughey announced "the completion of a new building, the first of the permanent buildings, erected on the college campus in Manoa Valley." This Main Building (later named "Hawaii Hall") "is built of concrete, and the architectural features are mainly Greek. [It] houses all of the departments of the College with the exception of that of chemistry, the engineering shops and certain of the agricultural and horticultural enterprises." A drawing of "The College of Hawaii Proposed Plan of Campus" was included.

The College campus is abutting the Mid-Pacific Institute, which the Thrum's Annual for 1912 describes as the "consolidation of Kawaiahao Seminary and Mills School."

Put in the vernacular of the day, "beautifully situated at the mouth of Manoa Valley, Honolulu, is the Mid-Pacific Institute, the completion of which dates from September 12, 1910, with the opening of Mills School as its Boys' Department. Its ally, the Kawaiahao Seminary, forming the girls' branch, with Miss M. E. Bosher as its new principal, moved thither and took possession of Atherton Hall at the opening of 1909." Established in 1865, the Seminary was originally intended mainly for Hawaiian girls, whereas the Mills Institute was founded in 1892 primarily for Chinese boys.

In 1912, the main campus of the University of Hawaii moved from the grounds of McKinley High School on Victoria Street facing Thomas Square to a place adjacent to the newly-minted Mid-Pacific Institute "in green Manoa Valley... where mountain winds and showers refresh her fertile lands," as the school's alma mater proclaims.

July 2010: Engineering Quad(rangle)
By: C. S. Papacostas

Last month's article identified The Main Hall (later Hawai'i Hall) as the first permanent building on the Manoa Campus of the University of Hawaii. In their history of the school, Kammins and Potter (2003) explain that there were temporary buildings prior to that: a 1910 poultry shed and a cow barn with attached farm office, as well "two wooden structures... shifted from Young Street to serve as a shop and a chemistry laboratory."

As for Main Hall, the Evening Bulletin [EB] of June 3, 1911 printed plan drawings of the proposed building by the architects Ripley and Reynolds. The estimated to cost $75,000 three-story building was elsewhere described as having the shape of the letter "E," owing to the fact that it included three proposed extensions on the main entrance side, facing town, which apparently never made it from dream into reality! Instead, staircases were added on both sides. According to the EB article "bids for the contract will be called for in about sixty days. The building is to be completed in a year."

Space in the new building was far short of what was envisioned for the College of Engineering. For example, in an article he wrote for the February 1911 for the Paradise of the Pacific, college president Gilmore reported that the laboratories for the Department of Engineering have been completed and equipped with machinery, tools and apparatus for instruction and investigation in wood, iron and cement technology. He envisioned "that the need is already apparent for an experiment station fully equipped for the investigation of all our problems in hydraulics, power development and structural materials."

It is not at all surprising then that the second permanent building on campus was the Engineering Materials Testing Laboratory, south and a bit offset from Main Hall. The lab was oriented east-to-west, in contrast with the Main Hall's north-to-south placement. As Kammins and Potter describe it, this single-story building (designed by Prof. Keller) had 3,600 square feet of floor space built at the total cost to the Territory 0f $8,146. Still standing and in use [but not for engineering] it probably represents the territory's best bargain in public building." The laboratory offered clear span, except for storage closets, and a single toilet in one of them.

That the orientation of the buildings was along the cardinal directions was not accidental, but, rather, the standard design of Land Grant Colleges at the time. Profs. Keller and Young faithfully followed the standard plans for these and subsequent buildings, without any thought to facing the buildings to take advantage of trade winds or topographic features (e.g. Manoa Stream). "Green" building was about a century off.

What followed was construction of four buildings, two on each side of the lab, which made up what is (to this day) shown on the Campus map as the Engineering Quad. The Engineering Quad, not to be confused with the Campus Quad that consists of the horseshoe formation of Hawaii, Crawford, George, Gartley and Dean Halls, consisted of five buildings in an H formation with the Laboratory at the center. As of today (July 2010), only five structures remain, the building at the southwest corner having been razed, apparently to make room for the ground level access to the Bookstore that is part of the current Campus Center complex. The limited hours of the University's map collection made it difficult for me to seek maps of the period and to verify what I discovered in secondary sources. Among the primary information, I found several old photos of varying resolution and quality. They showed the five buildings where I placed them, but (curiously) the structure at the southeast part of the "H" appears to be shorter that those at the other three corners.

I also visited the quad to discover that the building at the northeast corner carries an old sign saying, "Building 31-C / 1755 Pope Rd." A 1987 document by Agnes Quigg on the "History of the Pacific Islands Studies Program: 1950-1986," states that in November 4, 1976 that program moved to the "Engineering Quad, Building 31 E, Room 1," without any clear indication as to which of the five buildings she referred to. A sign on the northwest building indicates "1755-A Pope Rd." Searching the address of the current occupant, I discovered it to be "Engineering Quad 31-D, 1755 Pope Road.

The only Pope Rd I could find on a Campus map printed in the combined Sunday Star Bulletin & Advertiser of 8/22/1965 was a spur off of East-West Center Road behind the location of today's school of engineering (Holmes Hall). It goes west and then veers north on to the Geophysics Building.

Holmes Hall was not occupied until 1972. Between it and the Engineering Quad, the college had moved to Keller Hall. Initially, the 1959 move to Keller Hall made room for an expanded program in electrical engineering.

Currently, the Materials Testing Laboratory houses something called "Roots Rhythm - Manoa Open Jam Sessions." The structure is designated on a temporary banner as simply "Building 6."

But all these and more are "loose ends" that I plan to purse further.

August 2010: The Story of Pope Road
By C. S. Papacostas for the August 2010 Wiliki o Hawaii

Last month (July 2010) I posed a quandary about the location of Pope Road on the Manoa campus of the University of Hawai`i. Two buildings of the old Engineering Quadrangle (EQ) complex display "Pope Road" address signs to this day, but no such road appears in modern campus maps. By the way, as I explained in February 2010, Willis T. Pope became the acting Head of the institution in 1908 following the death of Prof. Roadhouse, the first officially appointed President who never made it to Hawai`i.

To answer the question about the location of Pope Road, I visited two sections of Hamilton Library: The Hawaiian Collection and the office of Jim Cartwright, the University of Hawaii Archivist. At the Hawaiian Collection section, I located several maps from 1941 to the present.

Victor Kobayashi's 1983 edited volume "Building a Rainbow" included a map reproduced from the April 23, 1941 issue of the student newspaper Ka Leo showing a one-block unnamed road from the EQ to the east, coinciding with the general alignment of Pope Road as seen in later documents. A 1953 loose-leaf map titled "The Rainbow Campus: Guide to Selected Trees on University of Hawaii Campus," showed Pope Road beginning on the south side of the EQ and extending to the western end of today's Holmes Hall that (at the time) was occupied by Cooke Field that had been relocated there from a site west of the EQ near University Avenue and Metcalf Street. The map did not extend as far as the eastern end of the facility, thus it was less than definite about the limit of Pope Road at that time. A 1957 map in Kobayashi's volume included several proposed buildings and displayed Pope Road from the EQ area to where the East-West Road lies today. A 1974-75 Campus Map shows a completed Holmes Hall where Cooke Field used to be, the constructed East-West Road and buildings beyond it. Pope Road is clearly shown to extend all the way to East-West Road traversing a path between Kuykendall Hall and Krauss Hall, south of the Geophysics Building and north of Holmes Hall.

A later undated campus map given me by Professor Roger Fujioka (ret.) shows the middle part of Pope Road obliterated by the construction of Sakamaki Hall in 1977, but intact to the south of the Marine Sciences Building that was added in 1982 to the east. Recent maps of the campus, however, show that the subsequent construction of the Pacific Ocean Science & Technology (POST) building entirely removed Pope from the eastern part of campus, leaving only a remnant between Krauss and Kuykendall. Nevertheless, the Marine Sciences Building continues to have a listed address of "1000 Pope Road," even though that road no longer exists in the area!

Archivist Jim Cartwright presented me with a campus plan compiled in 1935 that shows the five concrete buildings of the EQ, but no Pope Road. Access to the complex, he said, was primarily from the north via Metcalf Street at Varney Circle; the section that lies on the campus side of University Avenue is now called Campus Road. Another map that he dated to the early 1940s based on the set of buildings it depicts shows a portion of a road near the EQ but does not designate it as Pope; and a 1949 "Campus Map Showing Permanent and Temporary Buildings with Roads and other Facilities" contains Pope Road in its fullest extent.

Thus, Pope Road was constructed in segments between 1935 and 1949 and was gradually reduced to a short unmarked stub following a construction period that began in the mid-1970s. Ironically, the official building index maintained by the campus registrar in 2010 lists the EQ as occupying 1755-1775 "Campus Road" rather than "Pope Road," despite the fact that Pope Road street addresses are shown on two of its four remaining permanent buildings. Among the "temporary" buildings on the 1949 archival map is one of 62 former military wooden barracks brought to campus in 1947 to accommodate an explosion in enrollment that followed World War II. It is designated in the 1953 map as then being used for "DRAFTING" and, like many of the old barracks, is still located between the two "permanent" EQ buildings to the north of the central Materials Testing Laboratory.

Other named roads shown on several of the maps I consulted include Donaghho, McCarthy Road (now "Mall), Keller, a very short Maile Way, a looping Correa, Eckart, Rock Road and, of course, University Avenue and Dole Street. Incidentally, corroding street signs along the now extended and re-aligned Maile Way mark its 2500-block intersection with the 1700-block of Farrington Road, leading to Varney circle along what used to be Farrington Hall where the Queen Liliuokalani Center for Student Services now stands. Many of the once-named roads have apparently been abandoned or converted to walkways, even though buildings in their vicinity still carry them as official street addresses. But one example is Kuykendall Hall, located at 1733 Donaghho Road, named after the school's first Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy.

As I mentioned last month, the Testing Laboratory was constructed in 1915 and was the second permanent structure on the Manoa campus after Main (now Hawai`i) Hall. Two of the other five concrete structures were added in 1925, and the last two followed in 1928, giving the growing engineering department some breathing space, following what the Board of Regents warned the Territorial Legislature of 1921:

"The congestion in the drafting rooms in the basement of the main building has led to the utilization of the basement lanai space by putting in windows between pillars and cutting a doorway through into one of the drawing rooms." As we shall see next, a chronic demand for laboratory space has always been part of the engineering college's history.

September 2010: Remembering the Quadrangle
By C. S. Papacostas for the September 2010 Wiliki o Hawaii

Discussing the Engineering Quadrangle (EQ) at the University of Hawai`i's Manoa campus last month (Aug. 2010), I quoted the 1921 report of the Board of Regents (BOR) bemoaning, prior to the completion of the complex, the lack of adequate space to run the Engineering Department. That same report also suggested that "it would be worthwhile to keep a man in the laboratory all the time and have the materials tested under the direction of Professor Keller." As the current Chair of Civil & Environmental Engineering 90 years later, I can attest to the fact that securing sufficient funds to keep competent laboratory technicians (of either gender) on the payroll is still a real concern! The 1921 BOR also suggested that "private parties desiring tests could have them made at charges which would cover cost," presumably including a portion of the technician's wages.

The article about Pope Road and the EQ last month has generated a good amount of interest among my readers. Among them were Tit Mun Chun (BSCE, 1954), Martin "Mac" MacMorrow (BSCE, 1962 and MSCE, 1967), Andrew "Andy" Oshita and Northrup Castle (CE and ME laboratory technicians, respectively), Robert "Bob" Grace (CE professor), and Reginald "Regie" Young (retired, BSCE class of 1962, later CE professor and Associate Dean of Engineering). Bruce Liebert (ME professor and, now, Associate Dean) added to the conversation about Pope Road, and Goro Sulijoadikusumo of the Hawaii Dept. of Transportation provided a 1939 planning report with a map.

Having its origins in 1915, the Engineering Quad (EQ) consisted of five buildings arranged in a north-south oriented "H" formation, to which a "temporary" wooden barrack was added between the two northernmost buildings after World War II. The "temporary" structure outlasted one of the reinforced concrete buildings that was demolished in the 1970s to make room for the Campus Center next door. The remaining four original buildings now form the numeral "four" as it appears on contemporary digital displays.

The EQ is in danger of being razed to make room for a student recreation center and, because of this prospect, it has been placed on the 2008 "9 most endangered historic sites in Hawaii," by the Hawaii Historic Foundation in cooperation with the State Historic Preservation Office. As of this writing, however, it appears that preservation interests may have prevailed upon University planners to incorporate at least one of the EQ buildings within the design of the new facility. Readers Tit Mun Chun and Regie Young clearly remember that the building at the southeast corner, which is the one likely to escape the wrecking ball, was the hydraulics laboratory. Bob Grace verified this fact and added that, when he first arrived in Hawai`i in 1966 as an assistant professor, he and Don Green had their offices inside this building, which by then was showing signs of severe aging; Green's bookshelves and books became termite fodder, but it is not known whether this was the main reason for his departure for Seattle thereafter!

When I visited this building, now occupied by the student newspaper Ka Leo, I detected the unmistakable features of a hydraulics lab: A sump pit and water conduits and drains, sinks, piping, and a Lunkenheimer valve in a crook.

"We don't want to go down there," said Bob Duesterhaus, the Board of Publications Coordinator who permitted me to pry around the place. Pointing to the wooden-slat-covered sump pit, "there may be dead bodies down there for all we know," he joked.

During my quick survey of the area, I discovered two small offices exactly where Bob said they would be next to each other on the north side of the room. A staircase led to a loft above them. Steel I-beams supported the flat roof but I could not discern the manufacturer's inscribed name.

At a recent meeting of Engineers and Architects of Hawaii (the oldest engineering association of its kind in the State, est. 1902) Martin MacMorrow, a fellow past president, reminisced about the closeness with which his engineering drawing professor Nicholas Corba guarded the lockers in which the drawing instruments were stored. Regie Young also remembered that in 1955, his freshman year, the building on the northwest corner of the complex was being used by the engineering drafting classes and that, before becoming a heat transfer laboratory for Mechanical Engineering, its companion to the east housed the now extinct General Engineering program. A large Westinhouse electrical panel on the western wall of this building is consistent with what Kamins and Potter said in their 1998 history of UH, "the Hawaiian Electric and the Westinghouse companies donated equipment for a heat power laboratory." At one corner of the room, the remnants of four steel beams, cut off at floor level, pointed out to one of the possibly many changes that the building has undergone over the years.

On separate occasions, Andy Oshita and Norbert Castle recalled clearly that the oldest and central building of the EQ served as the materials testing laboratory, even after engineering offices were moved to Keller Hall when it was completed in 1959. Since the 1920s, by the way, a Reihle Universal Testing Machine was among the prized possessions of the laboratory that had performed (among other tasks) concrete testing for the Navy's expanding installation at Pearl Harbor.

Andy remembered a tree in the vicinity that produced "the most delicious grapefruits" he had ever tasted, and Norbert answered my question about the purpose of six concrete blocks that lined the northern side outside of the testing lab: They formed the foundation for a steel frame that was used to produce pre-stressed concrete beams. Corroding anchor bolts, nuts and washers attested to the earlier glory, now all but forgotten!

A quick reconnaissance of the area around the buildings convinced me that through the years, those responsible for the EQ specified first rate equipment and parts, including among them Crouse-Hinds condulets, Stockman hydraulic fittings and Hammond valves.

Associate Dean Bruce Liebert must be among my readers because he emailed me a link to a Google map associating "Pope Road" with the fire-lane just behind Holmes Hall, now the main Engineering building. Following a brief conversation, however, his memory of the real Pope Road farther north resurfaced. A few days after that, my good friend Goro, who apparently has access to (or control of) the planning archives of the Hawaii Dept. of Transportation, sent an excerpt from the "Education" Chapter of the 1939 report of the Territorial Planning Board. Written by UH President David L. Crawford and Dean Arthur R. Keller, the excerpt included a map (dated Dec. 27, 1938) and showing the then existing and planned facilities on the Manoa Campus. Unlabeled, the planned Pope Road is shown to extend beyond the limits it had eventually attained. Also on this map, both buildings on the west side of the EQ were designated as engineering drafting rooms, and the northeast building that eventually housed ME was shown to be the "Shop."

That two of the five EQ buildings were reserved for drafting should not be surprising at all, considering that the original undergraduate curriculum required four semesters of mechanical drawing (see the March 2010 Wiliki article).

October 2010: To Keller Hall and Beyond
By C. S. Papacostas for the October 2010 Wiliki o Hawaii

The usual thrust of my articles in this series is to concentrate on events about the engineering profession in the relatively distant past and their impact on society. My recent foray into the history of engineering education in Hawaii, however, is creeping up to the present time, to events that I have personally experienced and to people that I know well. Nevertheless, I'll forge ahead for the sake of completing this fascinating story.

Last month (September 2010), I relayed to you some of the memories of people who have had direct contact with the Engineering Quadrangle (EQ) that once housed engineering laboratories, offices and classrooms. Its original buildings were designed by Arthur Ripont Keller, the second engineering faculty member who in 1909 joined John Mason Young, the father of engineering education in the state, at the precursor institution to the University of Hawaii (so named by the Territorial Legislature in 1919).

The Hawaii section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) was established on Oct. 4, 1937 and UH engineering graduates were playing leading roles in the physical development of the state and indirectly its social and cultural evolution.

Similarly, the physical plan and scope of educational activities of the campus were experiencing dramatic changes. By 1949, under the leadership of President Gregg M. Sinclair, all offices were moved out of the first permanent building, the Hawaii Hall. "Dedicated in 1911, the hall was for years the center of all campus activities for students and faculty alike when the present university, then College of Hawaii, first moved to the Manoa campus," said the Honolulu Advertiser of Dec. 16, 1949. Designed by the famous architect Vladimir Ossipoff, the new administration building was later, in 1957, named Bachman Hall after the fifth UH President.

The 1953-54 Annual Report of the University of Hawaii had anticipated that by 1957 there would be a need for "a building for general classroom instruction; a building for classroom work in engineering, mathematics and physics." In another section of the report, then Dean of Engineering Wilfred J. Holmes asserted that "demand for the University's engineering graduates is greater than the supply. Expansion in this field depends upon provision of a new engineering building designed to take care of enrollment increases and the additional engineering curriculums in demand." These, by the way, included a course of study in electrical engineering.

On Sept. 24, 1954, Stanley Furukawa, president of the student chapter of ASCE presented the Board of Regents with a scale model of the campus which, per The Honolulu Advertiser (HA), represented "a labor of love amounting to some 2,000 man hours" of effort. Conceived by department chair L. Scott Daniel, the model took more than two years to complete with the assistance of the University's "Hui o Architecture." At a scale of 1 inch to 40 feet, it measured four by eight feet and was to be "a great aid in planning the further development of the university plant."

Shortly afterwards, the architectural engineering firm of Belt, Collins and Associates was commissioned to prepare a campus development plan. "We are studying the entire campus to provide the best utilization for a long period for the least amount of money," the Star-Bulletin of July 17, 1956 quoted Walter K. Collins to say. Among the first new buildings being planned was an engineering building "if funds are approved."

In 1959, Keller Hall was ready to accept engineering classrooms and faculty among its occupants. The building's architect was Clifford F. Young who was listed as Assistant Professor of Engineering (Architecture) in the 1953-54 UH report; the contractor was Edwin M. Tani, a 1949 UH graduate. Art professor Murray Turnbull and his artist wife Phyllis created the impactful large stained glass windows that convey to the visitor a feeling of being inside a cathedral.

Part of civil engineering still occupied Keller Hall, along with mathematics and the computer center, when I came to UH in the mid-1970s and I remember a Foucault's pendulum marking the earth's rotation in the vestibule; the socket where the pendulum arm rotated is the only remaining trace of it on the high ceiling.

In 1962 the Board of Regents authorized a Hawaii Engineering Experiment Station under the direction of Fujio Matsuda, but, according to the 1998 history of UH by Kamins and Potter, "before the program could get off the ground, Governor Burns requested his services to head the state Department of Transportation."

According to a 1983 compilation of the history of the buildings on the Manoa campus by Victor Kobayashi, still in use by engineering, the old Quadrangle was officially renamed "The Young Engineering Quadrangle" about 1965 to honor John Mason Young.

Two years later, the July 5, 1967 issue of the Advertiser unveiled a photo of a model of a "$5.5 million Engineering complex being designed by Skidmore, Ownings Merril. It will be built in two phases at Dole St. and East-West Road on the old Cooke Field site.” A blurb in the joint Sunday Star-Bulletin and Advertiser of Oct. 26, 1969 said, "work is expected to begin in November, on the first phase of the University of Hawaii's new engineering complex. A $7.7 million contract has been awarded to Reed & Martin... The first-phase building will face Dole Street."

Under the headline "Cooke Field Parking Lot in Last Days," the Star-Bulletin of Tuesday, Oct. 28 relayed an announcement by parking manager Joe Gordon that the 560-space lot would be permanently closed as "construction of the first phase of an $8.6 million engineering building complex is scheduled to get under way there Monday." To compensate for the loss of parking spaces, "University officials said the parking system is enlarging the number of parking spaces in the quarry for Zone 19." Just three days later, the HA informed that "groundbreaking ceremonies for the first phase of the University of Hawaii's new engineering complex will be at 10 a.m. Monday... Reed and Martin last week was awarded a $7.7 million contract [and] the firm will start work on the project immediately."

The construction of the engineering "complex" never went beyond the "first phase," that is, Holmes Hall where, not too long ago, I stumbled on a large lava boulder under a tree at the diamond-head (east) end. Affixed on this boulder is a plaque that says:


According to my colleague and now retired professor of civil engineering Reginald Young, this plaque was relatively recently rediscovered and brought there from the site of the "Young Engineering Quadrangle." Very recently, by the way, the official newsletter of the College of Engineering was renamed "Hakulau" from its original "The Quadrangle," marking the passage of an era. The dictionary entry for the new moniker is "To design. Lit., arrange (a) design."

By C. S. Papacostas for the November 2010 issue of the Wiliki o Hawai`i

On the very first day when last month's issue "hit the stands" in Oct. 2010, I received a terse note from Bruce Liebert, whom I now consider to be a devoted reader. It said, "The architects for Bachman Hall were Val Ossipoff and Philip Fisk..."

This was in reference to my comment that it was Ossipoff who designed that building. But I also knew that "Val" had a group of collaborator's who may or may not have participated in the endeavor.

"I know Val was the lead architect - not sure who in the group (e.g., Alfred Preis, Allen Johnson, Philip Fisk and Thomas Perkins) actually worked on Ba chman. Can you provide a definite reference?" I responded. Acknowledging that he was aware of the group, Bruce came back with "the reason I know about Philip Fisk is because he designed my house. I think that Bachman Hall is not typical of Val... He did much better."

I agree with Bruce's assessment of Ossipoff's body or work, but I pressed on with "Val is mentioned in numerous places - I'll see how I can weave your info in next month's story! Do you mind saying a few things about your house that I can use?"

As you can see so far, weaving his material in this month's story was very easy! But there is more.

"A remodeling 35 years ago greatly improved the original design. We are about to give it another remodeling... I'll bring in the Sunday Advertiser article that appeared in 1954 about the house," he replied. Indeed, the March 21, 1954 issue of the Advertiser carried a story by Hope Dennis about the "lovely Judd hillside home" under the headline "Home of H. J. G. Piersigs Charming, Comfortable." The spacious lava rock and redwood house featured indoor-outdoor living spaces and panoramic views of "city and ocean."

Bruce bought the house "in 1994from the second owners who greatly improved the original structure by adding decks, two downstairs bedrooms and bath, enclosing an extension of the living room, putting in a pool, etc."

In 1972, just three years before Bruce's house got its first renovation, Holmes Hall was being readied for the faculty and students of the College of Engineering at the University of Hawaii who until that time were occupying the old Engineering Quadrangle and Keller Hall. The new building was then considered only the first phase of a planned larger Engineering Complex that was never completed as originally envisioned.

Officially dedicated on Feb. 23, 1973, the building was named for Dean Emeritus Wilfred J. Holmes (1900-1986), a remarkable man about whom much has been written elsewhere. A complete biography here would be unnecessary, but some highlights of his life and career are in order. Interestingly, his middle initial is often expanded to either "Jay" or "Jasper" or both!

Jasper Holmes was a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy "notorious for his low, low grammar grades," according to the Honolulu Star Bulletin [SB] of 2/23/1973. While serving on submarines he also earned a master's degree from Columbia University in 1929. By the mid-30s, the website "maritimetexas.net" has him commanding the submarine S-30 at Pearl Harbor as a lieutenant. In 1934, he won the Naval Institute's prestigious Alfred Thayer Mahan prize for an essay the title of which I have been unable to unearth so far. He then received a medical discharge because of arthritis of the back.

After a short stint as Assistant Plant Engineer at Honolulu Gas Company, he began his association with the University of Hawaii as an instructor of engineering, mathematics and other subjects in 1936.

Soon after, he became an instant success as an author of essays and short stories that he published in the Saturday Evening Post and elsewhere under the pseudonym Alec Hudson. His short story "Up Periscope," originally printed on December 31, 1938, appeared again along with five of his other novellas as a 1992 book published by the Naval Institute Press. Among his other stories were "Battle Stations" (1939), "Enemy Sighted" (1940), "Old Sailors Never Die" (1950), and "War Patrol" (1951).

In 1941, prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor, he was called back to active duty as an intelligence officer under Admiral Chester W. Nimitz' command. As he put it in one of the books he later authored, "my job at Pearl Harbor was to keep track of the positions of all noncombatant ships at sea in the eastern Pacific."

After the Day of Infamy, he played a major role in the war effort at Station HYPO or Fleet Radio Unit Pacific (FRUPAC), including the decipherment of the Japanese encryption code JN-25, also known as "Ultra." HYPO was the phonetic used for "H" as in "Hawaii." Having won the Distinguished Service Medal, he returned to civilian life in 1947 and succeeded Arthur R. Keller (1882-1961) as Dean of the College of Applied Sciences where the College of Engineering belonged at the time.

The SB of Nov. 5, 1969 quotes him to have explained that he stepped down as Dean a year later "because the Dean's job didn't give me enough time to write," but he was later asked to return to administrative positions, "replacing his replacement," who (subject to verification) I believe was Joseph F. Kunesh, the University's engineer who bought a surplus Army hospital and installed its barracks-style temporary buildings throughout the Manoa campus, where many of them can still be seen!

Holmes retired in 1965, at age 65, recalling that student enrollment in engineering had risen from 88 when he first joined the institution in 1936 to 800 that year. It is instructive to keep in mind that peak enrollments were actually seen after World War II and the passage of the GI Bill that supported educational opportunities for war veterans.

Even after retirement, his writing career persisted, this time under his real name. Published in 1966 by Doubleday was "Undersea Victory: the influence of submarine operations on the war in the Pacific," followed by the 1979 printing by the Naval Institute Press of "Double-Edged Secrets: U.S. Naval Intelligence Operations in the Pacific during World War II." Both have been reprinted by other presses since.

Here is how his 1979 book began: "When the first bombs fell on Pearl Harbor I was fourteen miles away at home in bed, the best place for a naval intelligence officer to be that Sunday morning." Home, by the way, was at Black Point.

Twenty five years after Holmes replaced Keller as Dean of Applied Science, in Wilfred J.'s presence, Holmes Hall replaced Keller Hall as the principal locus of the School of Engineering. Considering that Holmes is better known internationally by his pen name, the building could have as well been named Alec Hudson Hall!

By C. S. Papacostas for the December 2010 issue of the Wiliki o Hawai`i

Let me begin by explaining that the award-winning essay that Wilfred Holmes authored in 1934 was titled "The Foundation of Naval Policy." As I described last month, Holmes was a Dean, essayist and novelist for whom the UH School of Engineering was named.

Last month's article also generated the following comment from University of Hawaii civil engineering graduate Garret P. C. Fong (BS, 1995; MS, 1998) who is now associated with the U.S. Navy (CIV NAVPAC PAC, to be exact):

"Hi Papacostas:

I was reading your Nov. 2010 article in the Wiliki the other day and was thinking it would be nice to have some history or background on the Big Orange Sculpture that is in front of Holmes Hall. Who is the artist, how or why this was selected and why is it orange? Is it orange because our Engineering tassels (during graduation) are orange? I've seen another sculpture by this artist in Seattle at the Space Needle, I wonder if there are any more of these around the world. I think everyone who attended UH or at least drove past Holmes Hall associates that sculpture as Engineering. I always enjoy your articles. I hope this idea is one that is interesting enough to publish."

My immediate response to Garret was "Interesting. It's included in the upcoming Dec. issue!"

Among the papers and notes I had assembled in preparation of this month's vignette was an article that appeared in the Star-Bulletin [SB] of January 31, 1972 below the headline "State Will Pay $50,000 for a 'Cluster of Cylinders.'"

The newspaper article explained that the head of the Hawaii State Foundation for Culture and the Arts (HSFCA), architect Alfred Preis (about whose collaboration with Vladimir Ossipoff I also wrote last month), announced that "Alexander Liberman, one of the hottest American sculptors today, will execute one of his enormous cylindrical steel forms to stand at the gateway to East-West Center ... It will be installed at the corner of East-West Road and Dole Street, in front of the University of Hawaii's new engineering building now under construction."

The SB indicated that Liberman was selected by a consulting committee from among a list of distinguished artists including "sculptors such as Calder and Noguchi." I take it that the first was Alexander Calder (1898-1976), the inventor of the "mobile" sculptural form, and that the second was none other than Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988), whose vast body of work includes the 1977 "Sky Gate," the large black-painted steel sculpture that graces the park next to the Frank F. Fasi Municipal building in Honolulu.

Incidentally, according to its web site, "the HSFCA was established by the Hawai‘i State Legislature in 1965, in large part through the vision and effort of Hawai‘i leaders such as architect and State Planning Coordinator Alfred Preis, HSFCA Founding Chairperson Masaru "Pundy" Yokouchi, State Senator Nadao Yoshinaga, and Governor John Burns." By the way, Pundy Yokouchi (1925-2006) was a Maui real estate magnate and developer who became a patron of the arts, in addition to serving as political organizer for Governor Burns in the 1960s.

Moreover, "In 1967, the State Legislature enacted the Art in State Buildings Law that established the Art in Public Places Program within the HSFCA, the first such program in the nation. A separate method of funding for this program was created through accessing one percent of the construction cost of new state buildings, making Hawai‘i the first state in the nation to establish a percent-for-art law."

One of my early memories when I arrived in Honolulu in 1973 was Civil Engineering Chair Norby N. Nielsen pointing through his window to the Liberman bright orange-red "cylinders" below and telling me that he was puzzled by the sculpture's name, that is, "Gate of Hope." This memory is, as Jerry Santos' song "Ku'u Home `o Kahalu`u" goes, "so long ago it seems it was a dream."

But, having been told or having read somewhere that sculpture is a tactile art, I went down to the site, touched the pieces of the assemblage and walked inside its perimeter. With an excess of imagination, I concluded that the structure may be considered to represent a gate opening up toward the East-West Center, across the street.

If my memory is not playing tricks on me, I think that the banisters and handrails of Holmes Hall were once painted orange-red, just like the Gate of Hope. They are now a non-descript drab brown, perhaps the upshot of the procurement law that requires purchasing from the low bidder!

As the 1972 SB article pointed out, Liberman's "works, awesome in size and in the purity of their statements, stand in various places, including the Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations Buildings in New York." Not all of them were designed to incorporate the cylindrical motif or orange-red color, but many were.

For example, Garret is correct in saying that a similar sculpture named "Olympic Iliad" (executed in 1984 in the same orange-red color as ours) is located southwest from the Space Needle in Seattle, Washington. Others include "Aurora" in Mountain View, California in front of a Hewlett-Packard Office; "Symbol" in Rockford, Illinois; "Abracadabra" in Hamilton, Ohio; and "On High" at the Giaiamo Federal Building in New Haven, Connecticut.

The web site of the latter attributes to Liberman an intent for "the public to walk around the sculpture, and experience a sensation similar to what he felt when he visited St. Peters." My hunch about appreciating tactile art was not off the mark, after all!

As for Liberman's choice of colors, he was once quoted to say that "red is always good in a city environment. It is the only color that really breaks away from the background." His "Aria" in Grand Rapids, Michigan features the same red-orange hue, but is much more abstract than the cylindrical theme of our Gate of Hope. On the other hand, the 1988 "Ulysses" in downtown Los Angeles is predominantly made up of a collection of white-painted cylinders and swirling loops.

Now that I occupy the office that once accommodated Chair Norby Nielsen, I often gaze through the window at the fading "Gate of Hope" that frequently attracts children like a magnet. They ignore the often damp site due to its location at a slight depression in the lawn of Holmes Hall, climb on the inclined cylinders and seem to be entranced in their midst. Sculpture is a tactile from of art after all!

And so are the works of Kiev-born American artist Alexander Semeonovitch Liberman (1912-1999). 

History & Heritage 2010

2017 Copyright ASCE Hawaii Section