“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Honolulu in Honolulu County, Hawaii — Hawaiian Island Archipelago (Pacific Ocean)

Afong Villa


—Waikīkī Historic Trail —

Afong Villa Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, October 23, 2008
1. Afong Villa Marker
Inscription. On this site stood the villa of Chun Afong, Hawai‘i’s first Chinese millionaire, who arrived in Honolulu in 1849. By 1855, he had made his fortune in retailing, real estate, sugar and rice, and for a long time held the government monopoly opium license. Chun Afong was a member of King Kalakaua’s privy council, and married Julia Fayerweather, a descendent of Hawaiian royalty, with whom he had 16 children, 13 of whom were daughters. He was the inspiration for Jack London’s famous story, “Chun Ah Chun.” His Waikiki villa occupied three acres of landscaped grounds. Here he gave grand parties for royalty, diplomats, military officers and other dignitaries.

In 1904 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers purchased the property for $28,000 to make way for the construction of Battery Randolph and the no-longer-extant Battery Dudley to defend Honolulu Harbor from foreign attack. The battery consisted of two 14-inch guns, capable of firing a 1,560 pound projectile over a range of 14 miles. It was constructed with reinforced concrete walls and a roof up to 12 feet thick. In 1969, the Army attempted to demolish Battery Randolph, but it resisted all efforts of the wrecking ball. The use of dynamite was rejected as too dangerous. One of the last important military fortifications of its time. Battery Randolph was dedicated
Afong Villa Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, October 23, 2008
2. Afong Villa Marker
on December 7, 1976 as the home of the U.S. Army Museum of Hawai‘i.
Erected by Vision Team of Kapahulu, Diamond Head, and Waikiki.
Location. 21° 16.683′ N, 157° 50.017′ W. Marker is in Honolulu, Hawaii, in Honolulu County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Kalia Road and Saratoga Road. Click for map. It is just off the beachwalk on the Diamond Head edge of the Fort DeRussy grounds, near the Waikiki Shore Hotel. 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. Japanese Light Tank (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); U.S. 105mm Howitzer M3 (about 300 feet away); Japanese Type 1 (1941) (about 300 feet away); Kawehewehe (about 300 feet away); U.S. Prefabricated Pill Box (about 400 feet away); U.S. Light Tank, M24 (about 400 feet away); Monarchy Cannon (about 400 feet away); Mahiole (about 700 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Honolulu.
More about this marker. There are four photographs reproduced on the marker with the following captions: “Chun Afong, the ‘Merchant of the Sandalwood Mountains,’ sponsored many gala events at his Waikiki beach villa.” “After becoming a successful businessman, Chun Afong married Julia Fayerweather, a Hawaiian-Caucasian of chiefly descent.” “Completed in 1911, Battery Randolph’s guns were built to defend Honolulu Harbor from attack.” And “Coastal Artillery Units fired practice rounds at Ft. DeRussy, but its guns were never used in actual defense of O‘ahu. Photo ca. 1915.”
Also see . . .
1. Merchant Prince of the Sandalwood Mountains: Afong and the Chinese in Hawaii. 1997 book by Bob Dye. “Afong not only went to the right places at the right times, he prospered in businesses that bankrupted others. Where other entrepreneurs saw Hawaii to be at the periphery of empire, Afong saw the Islands as the strategic center of a dynamic East-West market, free from the costly revolutions and wars that plagued other regions.” (Submitted on November 16, 2008.) 

2. Battery Randolph. “The first test firing of Battery Randolph’s guns took place in November, 1914. The Army took pains to warn Waikiki residents, but no one was fully prepared for the effects of the shock wave that rocked the neighborhood. Little actual damage was done, though dishes rattled and some windows cracked blocks away. To avoid damage in later years, as Waikiki continued to grow, the guns were seldom fired.” (Submitted on November 16, 2008.) 
Categories. Asian AmericansMilitaryNotable PersonsNotable Places
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. This page has been viewed 2,022 times since then and 91 times this year. Last updated on , by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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