Chinatown Honolulu History – The Area Was Called “Kou”
Most Chinese people came to Hawaii around the middle of the 18th century to work on sugar plantations. They started opening businesses in Honolulu, putting down permanent roots in Hawaii and becoming a part of Hawaiian culture. They also started what is now known as Chinatown. Here is a short history of this quiet neighborhood.
In the past, the area that is now Chinatown was called Kou. It was made up of mud flats with shrubs and loulu palms. The building of Honolulu Harbor changed the way things went in the area. Once, Honolulu was known as the best place on all the islands to anchor big ships. This led to the growth of a city for foreigners right next to Honolulu. Foreigners and whalers who stopped in Hawaii would go to the town next door to do business, trade, stay, and have fun. This is how Chinatown got started.
Chinatown and its people had to go through a lot of hard times to get where they are now. A fire in 1886 destroyed eight blocks and many homes, so most of the buildings are from the early 20th century. There were no rules about how to rebuild the area, which led to bad living conditions and rat infestations from ships nearby. A few years later, the bubonic plague broke out in Chinatown, and the state decided to burn down all of the buildings that were infected. Still, Honolulu’s Chinatown is doing well and is on the National Register of Historic Places because of how it affected the Chinese community there.
Today, the 25-acre district shows Hawaii’s multicultural side with lei shops, real Chinese markets, dim sum, and restaurants serving food from all over the world, from Lebanese and Ethiopian to vegan. Chinatown is now a gathering place for people of many different cultures. People from all over the island live there, making it the most culturally diverse area on the island.
Every first Friday of the month, there is an art walk in Chinatown. This helps to bring new life to the area. Unique art galleries, exhibits, and art studios open their doors once a month for the event. This is a great way to find out about new places. At 5 p.m., the streets become pedestrian zones, and people can go to one of the many international restaurants, trendy bars, or live music venues to bring the area to life.
Topic: Chinatown Honolulu History – The Area Was Called “Kou”
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By: Travel Pixy