Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Oahu's Floral Fete Circa 1909

In 1866, the Sacramento Union newspaper dispatched a relatively unknown journalist to write a travelogue designed to introduce the American public to the Sandwich Islands, also known as Hawaii. Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, published recollections of his 1866 Hawaiian visit in his book "Roughing It", which described his 1861-1867 tour of the Wild West. He described a horseback ride to the Mauoa Valley above Honolulu thus, "Impressed by the profound silence and repose that rested over the beautiful landscape, and being, as usual, in the rear, I gave voice to my thoughts. I said:
"What a picture is here slumbering in the solemn glory of the moon! How strong the rugged outlines of the dead volcano stand out against the clear sky! What a snowy fringe marks the bursting of the surf over the long, curved reef! How calmly the dim city sleeps yonder in the plain! How soft the shadows lie upon the stately mountains that border the dream-haunted Mauoa Valley! What a grand pyramid of billowy clouds towers above the storied Pari!"

The photograph above, from the Library of Congress collection, shows the Princess of Mauoa in her flower bedecked car turned into a float for the parade in Honolulu's Floral Fete in 1909.

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