Ward Wednesdays: The Land We Love

Ward Wednesdays: The Land We Love

‘O Ke’alekūpuna ke kilo, nāna nō e kuhikuhi nei i ke ala e naue aku ai.

The pathways once traversed by our ancestors are the same paths that we should follow toward success. Just as Victoria Ward cared for her beloved land, so to do we; following in her footsteps to preserve her unique heritage.

Flash back to the early 1870s and you’ll see a version of Honolulu that stands in stark contrast to the hustle and bustle that defines the city today. Traffic was nonexistent and almost all commerce was relegated to a few blocks near the harbor and Downtown. At the time, Kaka’ako was a nearly empty stretch of land and most of the city’s residents regarded it as a dusty destination too far removed from the port. However, CP Ward—a southern entrepreneur who immigrated to Honolulu in 1853—saw something different.

Archive picture of Ward Estate

The view from the Ward estate was picturesque to say the least.

In addition to his responsibilities at the harbor where he worked at the Custom House overseeing the majority of the goods that came into port—CP held a variety of side jobs, including a lucrative livery and dray business that required him to stable a small herd of horses. With a soft spot in his heart for animals, CP wanted all of his horses to have the highest quality of life possible. He made it his mission to find land that could be used to pasture his herd after a long day working. Soon, near present day Kaka’ako, he found the perfect acreage.

Located near King Street and Kapi’olani Boulevard, CP saw great potential in the area. With deep soil, fresh spring water, and a fishpond, this swath of land on what was then considered the outskirts of the city, proved idyllic for the Wards. The family dubbed it “The Land We Love” and morphed it into one of the most beautiful pieces of property in the city. Just a few years later, the Wards purchased 77 acres of land that fronted their new home and ran all the way to the sea. Today, Ward Warehouse and Ward Centre occupy this coastal area.

Upon acquiring this substantial amount of property that stretched from present-day Thomas Square all the way to the reefs of Kaka’ako (at the time, it was possible to purchase the reef and subsequent fishing rights) the Ward ‘ohana built the family home, which came to be known as Dixie, and raised their children who would go on to make history in Honolulu. Today, as Honolulu continues to evolve, the land that CP Ward originally tilled, is undergoing its latest metamorphosis as it transitions into a residential and retail hub of the city, and it all began with CP Ward.