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Chinatown's beginnings
Hawaii's first Chinese
Chinatown takes shape
Chinatown's other communities
Chinatown fire of 1886
Chinatown fire of 1900
Chinese culture
A`ala Park
Cultural and economic changes
Chinatown's rejuvenation
Chinatown today
Bibliography - Chinatown



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A`ala Park

Just `ewa of Chinatown a swampy lowland bordered Nu`uana Stream, an area that many wished to see developed. In the 1890s serious plans began to be laid for reclaiming this marshy section of Iwilei and in 1898 the fill project began. By 1899, masonry work to contain the stream was completed and remaining areas were filled with sand and volcanic material. Bounded on one side by Nu`uanu Stream and by Chinatown - with its laundries, shops, slaughterhouses, rail yards, piers and tenements - on the other three sides, A`ala Park was born.

The park featured a bandstand and two baseball diamonds and baseball became the park's defining image. Avid fans came out to watch their local teams - the Honolulus, the Kamehamehas, the Punahous, the Athletes and the Maile Ilimas (the top five teams in 1902) - and weekends often found both fields full with simultaneous games. The park - ruled by the courts a public property in 1925 - was also a popular gathering place for political rallies across many decades. The central location coincided with the city's main train station. Until 1947, the train ran from Ka`ena Point into Honolulu, with the line ending directly across from A`ala Park. Jay Landis remembers, "Every day the train would leave here, go down to Ka`ena Point, go to Kahuku, go load up the sugar and pineapple in Waialua area, come around the point, stop in Makua to pick up cattle if they had cattle and load up the sugar and go back to town." Chinatown and A`ala Park were the meeting place for urban and rural, land and sea, work and leisure, and cultures from all over the world.

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