Before Centex-Trousdale became the foremost developer of Kaneohe Ranch lands in Windward Oahu during the 1960s, the merger had separate beginnings on the mainland. Centex Construction Company was formed in Dallas, Texas around 1950. Sometime soon thereafter Centex became involved with the Murchison brothers, also from Dallas. The Murchison brothers came from a wealthy Texas oil family, and Clint Murchison, Jr. was the founder of the Dallas Cowboys football team. Clint took care of property development for Centex and his brother, John D., handled insurance interests for Centex. Between 1950 and 1956, Centex developed $200 million dollars worth of residential projects across the mainland under the direction of the Murchisons.
Paul W. Trousdale was a developer, who at one point was the largest homebuilder in southern California. Though he never finished college, he established Trousdale Construction Company in 1946, and began building tract housing in areas such as Long Beach, Wilmington, Compton and the San Fernando Valley. He first became interested in the development of Kaneohe Ranch Company lands between 1946 and 1947, and in 1952 he became associated with H.K. Castle, owner and president of Kaneohe Ranch. That same year, Trousdale partnered with the Murchison brothers to develop the Mills Estate in Burlingame, California. Between 1955 and 1956, Trousdale became the president of Waikiki Development Company and partnered again with the Murchison brothers, forming Hawaiian Housing, a sales and development corporation.
In February 1957, Hawaiian Housing Corporation acquired the exclusive right to develop Kaneohe Ranch lands for 15 years. In September of that year Hawaiian Housing and Kaneohe Ranch announced “Centex was in Hawaii to build houses in Windward Oahu ‘in partnership’ with Trousdale and the Murchisons and Kaneohe Ranch Company and Hawaiian Housing Corporation.” H.B. White, executive vice president of Kaneohe Ranch explained to the Star-Bulletin, “Centex will provide subdivision improvements for other house builders on Kaneohe Ranch property- such as William Blackfield and Q.C. Lum- but will also build houses itself.” Centex would work from a master plan of approximately 12,000, and planned to build 10,000 homes.
Kalaheo Hillside unit 20 in Kailua was the first housing project developed by the new Centex partnership. According to James B. Holmans of Centex Hawaii, the 201-home development was a “pilot project to see what the market is an find out what people want.”
Following Kalaheo Hillside unit 20, Centex developed four additional subdivisions on the Windward side including Kukanono Hillside, Aikahi Park and Ahuimanu Estates in Kailua, and Kapunahala and Pikoiloa in Kaneohe between 1960 and 1968.
Clint Murchison, Jr., the original motivation for Centex coming to Hawaii, died in 1987 in Texas. Although his fortune reached $250 million by 1984, he filed for personal bankruptcy in 1985, blaming the collapse of the real estate market and oil prices.
Paul Trousdale passed away in 1990 in Santa Barbara, California. Aside from his earlier residential developments in Hawaii and northern and southern California, Trousdale also was involved high-end developments in Beverly Hills and Palm Springs. Additionally, he built a hotel in Waikiki and southern California’s first cooperative apartment building in Los Angeles.
Centex remains a major homebuilding company nationwide, with projects still being built in Hawaii today.