Kalaheo Hillside

Kalaheo Village, or Kalaheo Hillside as it is more commonly known, is located on the windward side of the island in Kailua. Kalaheo is a fairly large development, consisting of twenty different units developed between 1953 and 1961. The earliest units, one through nine, are located makai of the Kawainui canal, which runs parallel to Mokapu Boulevard. This area is now more commonly known as the Koolaupoko neighborhood. Units eleven through twenty are located mauka of the canal. This area is still referred to as Kalaheo Hillside. The survey focused primarily on units eleven through twenty. Kaneohe Bay Drive to the north, the canal to the east, Kalaheo High School to the south, and the sloping hillside to the west bound this area.

Developer Q.C. Lum began the first phase of a housing development in Kailua known as Kalaheo Village in 1953. The project included 102 homes, and was intended to help ease the housing shortage on island after the war. Lum selected this site for his new development because of the “progressive community strides being made by the towns on the Windward side of the island,” meaning the construction of nearby schools, shopping centers, roads and theaters. The general area of this first unit is bounded by Kainalu Drive to the North, Kalama Street to the east, Oneawa Street to the south, and Kainui Drive to the west. According to Lum, the homes were “planned for comfortable living in Hawaii’s informal manner,” thus each home had three bedrooms and two bathrooms with a living room and a lanai. Advertisements showed homes with L and T-shape plans, and boasted attractive features including ceramic tile baths, asphalt tile floors, redwood or Philippine mahogany siding, sliding pass-through windows in kitchen, asbestos shingle roofs, hot water heaters and steel sinks. Lots were leased to homeowners under a 55-year lease program from Kaneohe Ranch Company, and prices ranged from $12,495 to $13,595.

Lum ran advertisements in The Honolulu Star-Bulletin and The Honolulu Advertiser for new units in Kalaheo Village along the canal on Kainui Drive, between Kaiholu and Oneawa streets in May of 1955. The ads touted three and four bedroom “ranch-style” or “ranch-type” homes and eight different floor plans to choose from. Features included redwood construction, carefully selected color schemes, planted front lawns, paved driveways, and close proximity to churches, schools and a shopping center. Land was leased under a 55-year leasehold with Kaneohe Ranch Company. Prices of homes in these units were markedly higher than those in the earlier units, ranging from $14,950 to $17,250.

By 1956, there were 490 homes in the Kalaheo subdivision, and Lum began construction of unit eleven mauka of the Kawainui canal. Unit eleven was to include 410 additional homes. The homes were designed by architect Phil Fiske and built by Lum. An April 1956 article highlighted the new phase’s attractive features, mentioning that “each three bedroom, two bathroom house will boast a two-car garage, hardwood floors throughout and a fine, unobstructed view.” One ad depicted a home with an L-shape plan with a lanai, hipped roof, and wood sliding windows. As with previous units in Kalaheo, there were eight different floor plans to choose from. The following year, a variety of plans were announced for the continued development of Kalaheo. Lum added 23 more homes to Kalaheo, all designed by architects Wimberly and Cook. The homes were three bedrooms, two bathrooms with two-car garages, and were either split level or single story. Prices ranged from $22,500 to $23,300. Kalaheo was also the site of one of Mid Pacific Lumber Company’s “Parade” homes in 1957. The split level, four bedroom, two bathroom home is located on Kaneohe Bay Drive above the Central Union Church, known today as the Windward United Church of Christ. It was designed by architect Herbert Beyer and built by R.Y. Sugimura. Beyer arranged the rooms and the lanai to take advantage of ocean views and tradewinds. Additionally, it was announced in late 1957 that mainland developer Centex was planning to develop unit twenty of Kalaheo. An article in The Honolulu Star-Bulletin from September 1957 stated Centex would begin construction in Kalaheo with a 201 home pilot project. The pilot project was intended to help understand “what people want and what price sells.”

Plans for the Centex-built Kalaheo Village unit twenty were signed off by the city planning commission in June 1959, and advertisements for the new model homes appeared in newspapers as early as December 1960. Advertisements offered an opportunity to “really live Hawaii,” an effort to appeal to those looking for a neighborhood with an authentic local feeling.

Four models were offered, which all featured three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Advertisement photos showed homes with Storybook Ranch elements including L-shaped plans and low pitched gable roofs with fancy bargeboard. The homes also featured picture and jalousie windows. Prices ranged from $21,000 to $22,300. Attractive features of the development included “all-electric living, wonderful windward living, outstanding schools and churches, top recreational facilities and the finest shopping centers.”

Homes in the survey area, units eleven through twenty, were primarily built between 1957 and 1961. The survey area focused on Ilimano and Iliaina Streets between Ilihau and Ilikupono Streets. Although the homes along Mokapu Boulevard between Kaneohe Bay Drive/North Kalaheo Avenue and Oneawa Street are part of units 11 through twenty, they were not surveyed because of the high number of privacy walls and fences along that major thoroughfare. Homes between Ilihau and Ililani streets are primarily part of the Fiske designed and Lum built development. Originally, these homes featured an L-shape plan with an integrated carport. They were single wall construction with vertical board, a single girt and wood sliding windows. They had gable-on-hip roofs with decorative lattice in the gable and sometimes a decorative medallion in the center, reflecting an Asian influence. A relatively small number of these homes remain in Kalaheo, as some of them have been demolished and replaced with larger two-story homes. Only a very small percentage of the remaining homes retain original features. Generally, the building footprints remain the same, although nearly all of the integrated carports in this section have been enclosed with period inappropriate garage doors. Many of the horizontal wood sliding windows have been replaced with either jalousie or vinyl sliding windows.

Homes between Ililani and Ilikupono streets are primarily part of the Centex-Trousdale developed unit twenty. These homes originally had L-shape plans with either an integrated or attached carport/garage and low pitched gable roofs with exposed beams or fancy barge board. Construction types included wood frame, CMU and concrete brick with picture, jalousie and sometimes clerestory windows. A number of these homes have been demolished and replaced with larger two-story homes, and several have larger second story additions. Most of the remaining original homes from this section retain original windows, although some have been replaced with vinyl casement or awning windows. Many carports have been enclosed with period inappropriate garage doors. As a whole, roughly 30% of the homes in units eleven through twenty have been either demolished and replaced or added to in a manner that alters their original plan. 50% of the remaining original homes have altered windows or garage doors. Kalaheo units eleven through twenty lack the cohesion needed for it to qualify as a National or State Register district.