MOVE FOR RESTORATION OF HEIAU OF KUPOPOLO
A Committee From the Historical Society Views the Ruins Under the Escort of the Promotion Committee.
(BY SOL. N. SHERIDAN.)
Did it ever fall to your lot to go on a personally conducted excursion in quest of an old Hawaiian Heiau, or temple of worship? That has fallen to my lot—and it was a most pleasantly conducted excursion. It was conducted by Mr. E. M. Boyd, Secretary of the Promotion Committee, and Mr. Fred. C. Smith, General Passenger Agent of the Oahu Railway Company, and two more efficient conductors are seldom sent out in charge of one small party. The excursion, which took place yesterday, came about in this way: A little time ago, Mr. Thomas G. Thrum, antiquarian and historian, came upon the ruins of an old Hawaiian heathen temple at a point about four miles beyond the Haleiwa Hotel, and within plain sight from the railway and the public road. This was, in many ways, a most remarkable find. It is perhaps the closest heiau to Honolulu, since the destruction of the one at Moiliili, and the wonder is that it had been lost to knowledge so long. In fact, it would not, perhaps, save for the fact that it has been taken all these years for a cattle pen. Indeed, from the line of the railway and from the public road, too, it does look precisely like a cattle pen lying back against the steep slope of the hill.
FINDING THE TEMPLE.
But, when Mr. Thrum made known the facts of his find, of course the interest of all concerned with Hawaiian antiquities was aroused. The Historical Society members talked of the matter, and the Promotion Committee took the thing up. A heathen temple of the old days, a genuine antique, was worth while as a tourist asset. And out of this various interest in the matter grew the personally conducted excursion of yesterday over the Oahu railway.
For if the heiau was to be preserved, it was essential that experts should be consulted upon its preservation. No experts could be so well advised as to the proper steps to take as those of the Historical Society. Nobody had a more legitimate interest in bringing these experts to view the heiau than the Promotion Committee. Therefore, Mr. Fred Smith was called into the consultation, and Mr. Boyd sent out his invitations for the personally conducted excursion.
All those who had been invited could not go, unfortunately, but the gathering was representative. In the party were Dr. Sereno E. Bishop, Dr. N. B. Emerson, Thomas G. Thrum, Prof. William Alason Bryan, assistant curator at Bishop’s Museum, President Griffith of Oahu College, E. S. Dodge of the Bishop Estate and W. W. Hall, Treasurer of the Historical Society. The party gathered at the Oahu Railway Station, and was whirled away down the road, in a private car and a drizzle of rain. The car was most comfortable, having an observation platform and cosy chairs and all the comforts that go with modern railway travel. The drizzle of rain was not at all uncomfortable, serving to cool the air of what might otherwise have been a hot day, but it did not give promise for a successful excursion for purposes of observation. Which only goes to show that the weather is uncertain, even in Hawaii, for while the sun shone at not time during the day, the rain presently went away mauka, and the day became perfect for the purposes of the expedition. If it had been made to order, it could not have been better.
DOWN THE ROAD.
Away and away through the rice fields and the kiawe thickets that lie on this side of Pearl City, the special train sped fast, riding as smoothly as it might hav done on one of the big mainland railroads. You may not have noticed that the Oahu road is perfectly ballasted, and in fine order, and that its trains run with little jar at high speed. But that is the fact. Past the wide cane fields of Ewa and Oahu, and the sisal plantation, the train rushed onward, and around the mountains that come down close to the line at Waianae. They are rugged hills, opening back into a succession of beautiful valleys at the far heads of which tower cliffs serried with waterways dropping straight down, it seems for thousands of feet. And on the other hand, is the blue sea. It was a still sea, yesterday, until Kaena Point was passed. Then the rollers came dashing in upon the rocks.
ALL MEET AS EQUALS.
Still on and on sped the train, and presently the cliffs fell back for the land of Waialua and, with a sugar mill in the background, there appeared the little white targets that mark the holes of the Haleiwa golf course. The train rushed by the depot at Waialua, to the amazed wonder of a lot of little Japs and Chinese and native children, and the evident amusement of a couple of very bright looking small haole boys, who waved their hands and smiled at us, on the observation platform of the special.
“Some of your caddies?” I said to Mr. Boyd.
“Not at all. One of those boys plays a very good game of golf,” replied the Secretary of the Promotion Committee in a tone of grave respect.
I don’t know that anybody has ever said that in the love of a sport the grown up and the little chap meet on a common level, but it is true.
THE GORGE OF WAIMEA.
Past the Haleiwa, too, our train rushed, and in a few minutes we saw the Heiau of Kupopolo over against the precipitous hill on the left of the track, looking exactly like a cattle pen in the distance. But we went on past it. Mr. Fred Smith desired to show his guests the beautiful gorge through which Waimea steam breaks to the sea, and the train was run to the middle of the bridge across the river. It is a wonderful gorge, wild and beautiful, and the glimpse of the valley further up is one of the best scenic bits on this island of Oahu. The stream is beautiful, too, and yesterday it was especially fine, a tawny flood pouring into the ocean a mass of water that discolored the sea for several miles. Upon the high bluff, just across this stream, are the ruins of the temple of the priests, with which ruins are associated that old tale of the massacre of the Daedelus men. You will read all about that in the histories.
THE TEMPLE PROPER.
The train was then run back to the Heiau that we had come to see, or that the antiquarians in the party had come to see that they might discuss its restoration intelligently, and the party left the car and made its way up the slope to the old temple.
It was a walk, perhaps, of a little less than an eighth of a mmile, climbing a gentle slope all the way. Truly those old Hawaiians chose sightly places to worship in. From the temple, the countryside sweeps away to the southward in a long stretch that would joy the soul of a painter. The sea is in front, and to the northward, where the mountain range runs down to the water, there is a variation of the prospect that is pleasing.
The Heiau, so far as any living person knows, is one of which there is no record in Hawaiian tradition. It had a local name, “Kupopolo,” but no special significance attaches to that. It is a large double structure, as shown in the diagram herewith prepared by Mr. Thrum. It lies as nearly as can be ascertained by a pocket compass, north and south in its greatest dimension, the peculiar entrance being on the northwestern corner. The temple faces west. The entrance—there is trace of but one—was a narrow way, apparently, between two walls of stone masonry. Continue reading