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Talk Story #5 – Waikiki’s Gold Coast and a WWI Memorial’s Fate

Waikiki’s Gold Coast and the fate of a National Memorial

Veterans Day 2010, has come and gone, and for those who consider this a most significant date, I want to tell you about a broken down relic of Hawaii’s past, located next to the aquarium, and the luxury condominiums at the Diamond Head end of Waikiki. There remains a huge 100—40 meter saltwater swimming pool Natatorium, which was built to honor 101 island servicemen who died, and the nearly 10,000 others who served in World War I.

Legendary Hawaii surfer, Duke Kahanamoku, was the first to take a swim in the pool when it grandly opened on August 24, 1927, along with fellow Olympians Buster Crabbe and Johnny Weismuller.

Everyone enjoyed the huge pool, high dive platforms, and facilities during those territorial days. I personally remember a time when, as a child, I followed my brother as we climbed the flights up to the top of the high diving board. Checking it out, a bit scared to jump, I hesitated and while looking at the water way below, another child in line pushed me off. Unprepared, I screamed all the way down and landed with my legs slamming into the water out stretched. Ohhh the pain! I was a good little swimmer, but that did it, I never went up on any high board again.

Current state of Natatorium in disrepair…

Through the following decades of use, this wonderful memorial to our servicemen slowly moved into deeper disrepair, and in 1979, the state closed the Natatorium’s pool to the public. By 1995, the oft ignored the memorial was on the list as one of the eleven most endangered historic sites in the U.S. There were various tries to keep it presentable, but in 2009, the 82 year-old Natatorium’s fate was decided upon to tear it down.

Big question of what then? It is stated that in its place, on this prime Waikiki oceanfront acreage, will be 328 feet worth of a lovely new white sand beach for the public to enjoy. The plan is to relocate the distinctive and artistic Entrance Arch further inland, perhaps near to the huge dedicated boulder nearby with its plaque of the fallen WWI servicemen.

BUT who knows? The process of demolition requires an environmental impact statement, permits, extensive planning, and design and, of course, funding—about $15.1 million, according to the city. In the interim, there are those desiring a different fate, and a different utilization of the “budget” by repairing, preserving, and upgrading the Natatorium for all to enjoy once again. Only time will tell!

This years key note speaker Lt. Gen. Benjamin R. Mixon, Commanding General, U.S. Army Pacific

Meanwhile, back to the NOW…which way to go to enjoy life to the fullest with a wonderful lifestyle of living available today?! Check into my gallery of properties available in the immediate area of Diamond Head (Mt Leahi). Kapiolani Park, along with the Zoo, Waikiki Concert Shell, and so much more nearby!

Contact me with your requests, or let’s just talk story! ALOHA!

Note: In Hawaii, there is often a gathering of family and friends, and in a casual way stories are told of that days happenings, or past events. We call it “talk story.” My continued series will be about different places around Oahu with a bit of their history, and the many opportunities for you today. I would love to hear about your personal Hawaii memories to share, perhaps during the territorial days, like I was, growing up out Koko Head way. Hawaii is a special place, and so are the people. Follow me as we discover a lifestyle best suited for YOU. Whether it is a new military move, a casual beach house, a downsized retirement home, a golf course fronted resort home-away-from-home, a grand residence with superb view, or a high rise condominium, the choices and Hawaii Life Real Estate Services resources are many. Contact me today with your interest, needs, and desires or let’s just “Talk Story!

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Heidi White, R(S)

November 23, 2010

Thanks for your “Talk Story Series of upcoming Blogs” I for one will look forward to them! I surely wish someway, somehow that swimming pool could be restored. That is such a wonderful bit of history!
Mahalo for your mana’o Jeanne!

Heidi White, R(S)

November 23, 2010

Thanks for your “Talk Story Series of upcoming Blogs” I for one will look forward to them! I surely wish someway, somehow that swimming pool could be restored. That is such a wonderful bit of history!
Mahalo for your mana’o Jeanne!

Diane Chavez

November 23, 2010

Jeanne,
That was a nice idea to do a Talk Story. Great to have an update on the Natatorium. It would be wonderful if it was preserved.

Diane Chavez

November 23, 2010

Jeanne,
That was a nice idea to do a Talk Story. Great to have an update on the Natatorium. It would be wonderful if it was preserved.

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