Honolulu Stadium
Termite Palace
Honolulu Stadium.jpg
Honolulu Stadium is located in Oahu
Honolulu Stadium
Honolulu Stadium
Location on the island of Oahu
Honolulu Stadium is located in Hawaii
Honolulu Stadium
Honolulu Stadium
Location in Hawaii
LocationHonolulu, Hawaii, U.S.
Coordinates21°17′35″N 157°49′37″W / 21.293°N 157.827°W / 21.293; -157.827Coordinates: 21°17′35″N 157°49′37″W / 21.293°N 157.827°W / 21.293; -157.827
Owner
  • Honolulu Stadium, Ltd. (1926–1975)
  • State of Hawaii (1975–1976)
Capacity25,000
SurfaceNatural grass
Construction
OpenedNovember 11, 1926[4]
ClosedSeptember 1975[5]
DemolishedDecember 1976[1]
ArchitectRothwell, Kangeter & Lester[2]
Main contractorsWalker & Olund[3]
Tenants

Honolulu Stadium was a multi-purpose stadium located in the Moʻiliʻili district of Honolulu, Hawai'i, at the corner of King and Isenberg Streets. Opened in 1926, it was the primary sports venue in Hawaiʻi preceding Aloha Stadium. During its final years, the stadium could hold about 25,000 fans; it was demolished in 1976. A public park, Old Stadium Park, now occupies the location.[6] A plaque at the corner of King and Isenberg commemorates the stadium. Some of the property wall that stood behind the stands on the west end still remains.

Description

The stadium was bounded by King Street (north, third base); Isenberg Street (east, left field); Citron Street and Date Street (south, right field); and Makahiki Way (west, first base). It was catty-corner to, and replaced, Mo'ili'ili Field as the venue of choice for the University of Hawaii's athletic teams. Mo'ili'ili Field stood on the northeast corner of King and Isenberg, and was also bounded by South Beretania Street to the north and east. It still exists, in the form of "Mo'ili'ili Neighborhood Park", which has two ballfields within it.

In the baseball configuration, home plate was in the northwest corner; the third base line ran along King, and left field seating was bounded on the east by Isenberg. Field dimensions mentioned in local newspapers varied somewhat, but the consensus appears to be: left field 325 ft (99 m), right field 305 ft (93 m), and center field 430 ft (130 m). The football field ran parallel to the third base line, but away from the infield; the west end zone was near the first base line and the gridiron ran east-southeast, through right field and center field. The sideline seating for football was in right field and along the third base line.

History

The stadium was owned throughout most of its history by Honolulu Stadium, Ltd., a private entity that was incorporated for $150,000 in 1926.[7] As of 1943, the stadium was leased to the University of Hawaii.[8] By the 1960s, Honolulu Stadium had long since reached the end of its useful life. It was made mostly of wood and was frequently attacked by termites, resulting in it being nicknamed "the Termite Palace". In January 1975, the State of Hawaii purchased the stadium for $8.5 million—at that time, the University held a majority of the shares of Honolulu Stadium, Ltd.[9]

The stadium was the longtime home of the University of Hawaii's college football team (then known as the Hawaii Rainbows) from 1926 to 1974, and the minor league baseball Hawaii Islanders of the Pacific Coast League (PCL) from 1961 to 1975. In its final years, the stadium also was home to The Hawaiians of the World Football League (WFL) in 1974 and 1975.

The stadium was the venue for several bowl games: the Poi Bowl (1936–1939, 1945), Pineapple Bowl (1940–1941, 1947–1952), and Hula Bowl (1960–1975). It also hosted high school football, world championship boxing matches, and was used for stock car racing. Track was also run at the stadium; it was the site of Hawaii's first night track meet in 1949.[10]

Famous athletes who competed in Honolulu Stadium include Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth in 1934;[11] Joe DiMaggio, who hit a home run out of the park while playing for a military team in 1944;[12] and Jesse Owens, who outran a horse in an 80-yard dash at the stadium in 1946.[13] Irving Berlin performed at the stadium in 1945, Elvis Presley performed in 1957, and Billy Graham inspired a capacity crowd a year later.[14]

The 1971 Hawaii Rainbows football team hosted the undefeated and top-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers at the stadium in early December.[15][16] The defending national champions were fresh off their "Game of the Century" win on Thanksgiving at No. 2 Oklahoma, and defeated the Rainbows, 45–3. Nebraska went on to defeat Alabama in the 1972 Orange Bowl on New Year's Day for a 13–0 season.

In the stadium's final event, the Islanders won their first PCL championship over the Salt Lake Gulls, in six games concluding on September 8, 1975.[5][17] The stadium was replaced by Aloha Stadium in Halawa, which opened the following week.[18]

References

  1. ^ "It's Gone!". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. December 2, 1976. p. 1. Retrieved January 24, 2021 – via newspapers.com.
  2. ^ "Erection of Steel Work for Honolulu Stadium is Begun". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. October 9, 1926. p. 26. Retrieved January 24, 2021 – via newspapers.com.
  3. ^ "Stadium Permit Out". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. October 23, 1926. p. 21. Retrieved January 24, 2021 – via newspapers.com.
  4. ^ "Town Team Wins 14-7 Game from the Dean Eleven". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. November 12, 1976. p. 22. Retrieved January 24, 2021 – via newspapers.com.
  5. ^ a b Checketts, Brent (September 9, 1975). "Islanders erupt, clinch crown!". Deseret News. (Salt Lake City, Utah). p. C1.
  6. ^ "Mural at Old Stadium Park to showcase park's past, present, and future". City and County of Honolulu. Retrieved 24 November 2021.
  7. ^ "Football Officials Are Ready For the Opening Of the 1926 Grid Season". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. September 28, 1926. p. 8. Retrieved January 24, 2021 – via newspapers.com.
  8. ^ "Letter Box". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. August 28, 1943. p. 15. Retrieved January 24, 2021 – via newspapers.com.
  9. ^ Takayama, Gregg (August 5, 1976). "Battle Raging over Stadium Money". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. p. 12. Retrieved January 24, 2021 – via newspapers.com.
  10. ^ Cisco, Dan (January 1999). Hawai'i Sports [History, Facts, and Statistics]. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. p. 348. ISBN 0824821211. Retrieved April 11, 2019.
  11. ^ Loui Leong Hop (October 26, 1934). "Big Leaguers in 8-1 Victory". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. p. 10. Retrieved January 24, 2021 – via newspapers.com.
  12. ^ Machado, Carl (June 5, 1944). "DiMaggio Homers Over Left Wall". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. p. 8. Retrieved January 24, 2021 – via newspapers.com.
  13. ^ Hogue, Bob (October 19, 2016). "Olympian Jesse Owens In The Islands". Honolulu Star-Advertiser. p. O63. Retrieved January 24, 2021 – via newspapers.com.
  14. ^ Ryan, Tim (November 25, 1996). "Honolulu Stadium: Hawaii's field of dreams". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved January 24, 2021.
  15. ^ "Hawaii holiday". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). (AP photo). December 3, 1971. p. 16.
  16. ^ "Orange Bowl tilt remains big one". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). Associated Press. December 6, 1971. p. 15.
  17. ^ "Islanders top Gulls for title". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). September 10, 1975. p. 18.
  18. ^ "Aloha Stadium – Trivia". Archived from the original on 5 August 2016. Retrieved 11 July 2016.

Further reading