Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tram Tuesday - Honolulu, Hawaii

Although we don't know the exact date of the postcard, the publisher (Wall, Nichols & Co.) stopped production in 1912, so I suspect the card is from sometime between 1907 and 1912.

The signs on top of the car show Fort Street and Punahou on the front and Kalihi and Waikiki on the back. The initials on the front of the car stand for Hawaii Rapid Transit & Land Company, a company founded in 1898, which developed electric streetcar service in Honolulu. The streetcars ran at 10-minute intervals and helped to popularize Waikiki.

This was not the first streetcar service though. Hawaiian Tramways Limited had previously provided mule-drawn streetcars, starting in the 1880s. By 1942, the streetcar system had been completely replaced by buses.

Most cities the size of Honolulu currently have some sort of streetcar or light rail system. Honolulu doesn't, but it has plans for an elevated transit line, a proposal that has been fiercely debated for years. Honolulu just received approval from the Federal Transit Administration to commence construction, but opponents are suing to stop the project.

Here's the back of the card.


  1. Too bad we don't have those wonderful old trams in all our cities today. And look at that house....

  2. That's a really nice view of the streetcar. I would be afraid to ride on one with open sides like that, though.

  3. It is nice to be close enough to see the long dresses. It's a wonder how those women managed in the heat.

  4. such a lovely old postcard!
    love the house!!
    I'm with Linda..how did they tolerate the heat in those dresses?

  5. Yes, look at all those heavy clothes in the tropics! Where are the swimsuits that came down to the ankles?

  6. Regarding the clothes: it's never really that hot in Hawaii, but the sun is extremely strong. It has a tendency to sneak up on you, particularly if you're light skinned. When I lived in Hawaii, I sometimes wore muumuus to prevent getting a sunburn in 15 minutes. I also wore hats. I never felt too hot.

  7. Good postcard, and what a neat streetcar! (looks like a lowrider)

  8. An accurate description of the streetcar by Postcard Ranch! And I LOVE the open sided streetcars, riding them in San Francisco is great fun- it definitely is not like riding the bus...

  9. This is on the corner of Wilder and Pi'ikoi looking makai Ewa, taken from where Makiki Firestation Eng 3 is. I grew up in the neighborhood, and that house was there till the late 70's. It was so beautiful.



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