in the midst of a highly productive and fertile district, 12 miles distant from Honolulu, and is now a beautiful town, with an abundant supply of pure artesian water, with wide streets, a substantial station, and several modern residences already built, and with improvements going on as rapidly as a large force of workmen can push them to completion.
The Oahu Land and Railroad Company founded the town.
Water supply.—Pearl City is said to have facilities for supplying 10,000 inhabitants. There is now an artesian well which flows to a height of 28 feet, and has a capacity, when pumped, of 2,000,000 gallons per day. The water from this well will be pumped into a reservoir 100 feet high, and be used to supply the peninsula.
There is another reservoir on the more elevated ground, 200 feet above sea level, with a capacity of 1,500,000 gallons, which can be increased to 16,000,000 as soon as necessary. This is supplied from mountain streams.
Pearl City consists of 2,200 acres of land, which was owned in fee simple by the Oahu Railroad and Land Company, 18,000 acres adjoining which is held by the same company under a fifty-year lease, and is being sublet for fruit-growing purposes. Three companies have recently been incorporated, two of them with a capital of $30,000 each, and have rented a choice portion of this land, which will be planted principally in bananas and pineapples.
The 2,200 acres which the town proper comprises, includes the whole of the peninsula extending into the harbor, and the lots on the mainland, the latter of which are on a gradual slope of land inclining toward the mountains.
The site of Pearl City has long been a favorite spot where boating, bathing, and fishing can be enjoyed under the most favorable circumstances. A good breeze is always blowing from the ocean. The temperature of the water is perfect for bathing all the year round.*
Diamond Hill—About 31/2 miles southeast of Honolulu; a signal station for incoming vessels.
Waikiki.—A village lying about 1 mile northwest of Diamond Hill. There is no anchorage in front of it.
Island of Hawaii. (Map D.)
In shape the island of Hawaii is a wide triangle, sides 85, 75, and 65 geographical miles. Almost the whole surface is a gentle slope from one of the four volcanic mountains: Mauna Kea, on north, 13,805 feet, the highest peak in the Pacific Ocean; Mauna Loa, on south, 13,600 feet; Mauna Hualalai, on west, 8,275 feet; and Mauna Kohala, on northwest, 5,505 feet. The slopes on the west are so gentle that the base of terminal cones may be reached on horseback. In the Mahukona district the face of the country is regular, ascending gradually from coast to summit of highland.
The plain lying between the mountains of Hawaii is many square miles in extent.
Coast.—The south point of the island of Hawaii, called Ka Lae, is very low, rising with a gentle slope to the hills behind. The southern side of the island is much drier and the country more open and free from forest than on the north, where, indeed, the forests are very dense.
From the south to Kumukahi, the east point of Hawaii, there are no bays or good anchorages.† The coast is exposed to wind and swell.
*Pacific Coast Commercial Record. †Except the small bay at Kaalualu
From the east point almost to Hilo Bay the coast is precipitous, and against it the sea continually beats with violence; thence for thirty miles the shore is remarkable for the number of streams (85), running at the bottom of ravines, 1,800 to 2,000 feet deep, which furrow the side of Mauna Kea and render travel along its coast very laborious. Ridges between the ravines, terminating at the sea in precipices from 100 to 500 feet high, oblige the road to run inland. The northeastern ooast is very generally steep and rocky, though here and there are small bays or breaks in the cliffs where the natives are able to land their canoes.
Upolu Point is the northern extremity of the island. Behind it lies an extensive plain in good state of cultivation, rising gradually to the foot of the mountains.
From the north point of the island the west coast is at first barren, owing to want of rain; the face of the country is regular, ascending gradually from the coast to the summit of highland in the interior. From Kawaihe Bay to the village of Kailua there is no anchorage or shelter.
Kealakekua Bay, where stands the monument to Capt. Cook, R.N., is the best anchorage of the south coast; but south of it lies a rugged lava-covered shore, where large masses of rock, miles in extent, often form perpendicular cliffs against which the sea beats with fury.
This formation extends half a mile into the interior, and as the distance from the sea increases the soil becomes richer and more productive. The face of the country within this rocky barrier is rough and covered with blocks of lava more or less decomposed, but at a distance of 2 miles from the coast begins to be well covered with woods of various kinds, which are rendered almost impassable by an undergrowth of vines and ferns.
The interior of the island of Hawaii is a strange blending of fertility and desolation. In the valleys are often found regions of extraordinary richness, that are reached only by crossing arid districts strewn with rocks and bowlders, or overlaid by recent streams of lava still uncovered by soil.
Barren wastes are succeeded by vegetation so dense as to be almost impenetrable, or by pleasant grass lands lying near forests of the peculiar koa tree, which is characteristic of this island. The trees in the koa forests frequently grow close together from a soil carpeted with long rich grass; they are large in size, of hard, dark wood, and were formerly greatly used to make the canoes of the islanders.
The density of the forests is proportional to the amount of rainfall, which, upon the windward side of Hawaii, is phenomenally great.*
On Hawaii is found a peculiar grass, said to have been brought to the island by accident. In its green state it is hardly fit for pasture. Cattle and horses eat it, but it apparently affords very little nourishment, though more when cured. So dense and high is this grass that it is difficult to ride through it. Another, and perhaps the best variety of grass, comes from Mexico; it is called, locally, maniania grass, and wherever it grows forms the richest and most velvety sward imaginable. It is highly nutritious and animals are very fond of it.
Such being the character of the interior of the island, roads are in general bad, and communication difficult.
*Maj. Dutton says that this may attain to more than 300 inches annually in the interior of Hawaii; 240 inches have been measured at Hilo.