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Honolulu in Honolulu County, Hawaii — Hawaiian Island Archipelago (Pacific Ocean)
Fort DeRussy
— Waikīkī Historic Trail —
 
Fort DeRussy Marker Photo, Click for full size
By J. J. Prats, October 23, 2008
1. Fort DeRussy Marker
 
Inscription. This green expanse in the middle of Waikīkī is Fort DeRussy, named in honor of Brigadier General Rene E. DeRussy, Corps of Engineers, who served with distinction in the American—British War of 1812. It was started in 1908 as vital American bastion of defense, but today it serves as a place of recreation and relaxation for U.S. military personnel and their families.

If you turn toward the mountains, all the land you see before you extending to the foothills of Mānoa Valley was planted in taro for many centuries. But, as the number of Hawaiian farmers in Waikīkī died off and the demand for poi decreased, by the 1870’s taro production praotically ceased. Successful rice planting experiments led to a kind of “rice fever” which swept of the islands.

Chinese rice planters took over abandoned taro patches and turned Waikīkī into a vast rice plantation. For a few years, rice not sugar, was king in Hawai’i. The disappearance of taro from Waikīkī not only marked an economic change, but a cultural change as well: Hawaiian mythology says the first man was born of Hāloa, the sacred taro plant. The planting and eating of taro was for ancient Hawaiians the
 
Fort DeRussy Park and Marker Photo, Click for full size
By J. J. Prats, October 23, 2008
2. Fort DeRussy Park and Marker
 
basis of their existence and their spiritual sustenance as well. When taro disappeared from Waikīkī, as it did from so many areas, so did the spirit of Hāloa.

The coconut grove near this historical marker is the oldest and last of its kind in Waikīkī today.
 
Erected by the Vision Team of Kapahulu, Diamond Head and Waikīkī. (Marker Number 20.)
 
Location. 21° 17.13′ N, 157° 49.998′ W. Marker is in Honolulu, Hawaii, in Honolulu County. Marker is at the intersection of Ala Moana Boulevard and Kalakaua Avenue and Pau Street, on the right when traveling west on Ala Moana Boulevard. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Honolulu HI 96815, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. King David Kalākaua (approx. 0.2 miles away); Kaha ha ʻlo me nā Makani (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Story of Kālia (approx. 0.2 miles away); Kuroda Field (approx. 0.2 miles away); “Brothers in Valor” Memorial (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Ala Wai Canal (approx. 0.3 miles away); Kălia Fishponds (approx. 0.3 miles away); Rainbow Mural (approx. 0.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Honolulu.
 
A Small Corner of Fort DeRussy Park Photo, Click for full size
By J. J. Prats, October 23, 2008
3. A Small Corner of Fort DeRussy Park
 

 
More about this marker. Three photos reproduced on the marker have the following captions, “Between 1942 and 1945, an estimated 1 million civilian and military personnel passed through Hawai‘i. Ft. DeRussy was a hub of activity.” “Expansive rice paddies blanketed the wetlands of Waikiki in the early 20th Century.” And “Army engineers xxxx to xxxp the island of O‘ahu in the 1910s occupied a tent camp on the beach.”
 
Additional keywords. Waikiki, Haloa
 
Sunset on Waikiki Beach at Fort DeRussy Photo, Click for full size
By J. J. Prats, October 23, 2008
4. Sunset on Waikiki Beach at Fort DeRussy
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on November 1, 2008, by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,431 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on November 1, 2008, by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia.
 
Editor’s want-list for this marker. Additional photos of the park • Photos of the Hale Koa Hotel • Can you help?
 
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