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Historic Haleiwa Town

Robert Stehlik of Blue Planet talks us through his new shop location and the history surrounding the iconic town of Haleiwa, Oahu.

Robert Stehlik: A brief history of our unique location in beautiful Haleiwa.

It is said that at one time a settlement of around 5000 Hawaiians lived in the Hale’iwa area, harvesting taro, fishing and living in harmony with the ‘aina. The settlement was mostly abandoned and later the fertile land was terraced to grow taro and other crops for King Kamehameha’s troops. Even Oahu’s locals usually don’t know that Hawaii’s first major hotel was the Haleiwa Hotel, opened in 1899, before the Moana Hotel opened in Waikiki in 1901. The Royal Hawaiian Hotel opened in 1921. The Haleiwa Hotel was built to lure people to take the train from Honolulu for a getaway on the north shore. With the advent of the automobile the rail company sold it and it became a private beach club and later an officers club. Built completely of wood, the termite infested structure was demolished in 1953. Even though the hotel is long gone, the town that developed around it kept the name, Hale’iwa (house of the Iwa bird).

The Lantaka store opened in 1920 as a general store that also sold shave ice. Over the years it housed several businesses and became Tropical Rush surf shop in 1994. Blue Planet took over management in August 2021. The Rainbow Bridge, built in 1921, just celebrated it’s 100 year birthday. It’s hard to miss as it is very narrow for a two way bridge.

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