Kaiser Story Reflects U.S. Industry's Plight

The articles on Henry J. Kaiser and the Kaiser empire brought back some personal memories.

From 1954 to 1962 I worked for the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Estate in Honolulu, Hawaii. In the late 1950s, Mr. Kaiser arrived in Hawaii. His first venture was building the Hawaiian Village hotel in Waikiki, now owned by Hilton. Shortly after this, he entered into an agreement with the trustees of the Bishop Estate to develop an area in what was known as the Maunalua District of Honolulu (near Koko Head). Formerly, this land was leased to pig farmers, and there was a commercial fish pond nearby. It became Hawaii-Kai Development.

Once his development agreement with the trustees was signed, Mr. Kaiser built his own residence overlooking Maunalua Bay. There were many amenities, including an elaborate kennel for Mrs. Kaiser's dogs. Mr. Kaiser was an early riser, and since he lived on the periphery of his new real estate development, he was out in his golf cart practically at dawn every day inspecting its progress.

Mr. Kaiser had a no-nonsense working style and was very impatient with anyone or anything that impeded his plans. He knew what he wanted and how he wanted it done. The trustees had a somewhat different style. Previous to Mr. Kaiser, the trustees required that they approve every step in the development of a project, whether it involved an individual or a group. Mr. Kaiser was in too big a hurry to wait for approvals, and he and the trustees had a bit of difficulty for awhile. After reaching a compromise, they worked well together. I believe Henry Kaiser was an asset to Hawaii. I was very impressed with him and admired him very much.


North Hollywood

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World