Neighborhood History: Mo‘ili‘ili Karst

One of the most intriguing urban legends of Honolulu are the underground caves around the University and King area known as the Mo‘ili‘ili Karst.  From time to time, we see this photo, which looks like a peculiar situation - two boys of different races, fully afloat in a row boat exploring the underground caves through the streams that fill these caves.  

Taken in 1897 and now part of the Bishop Museum archives,  Mo‘ili‘ili was almost completely covered with marshy taro and rice fields, duck and fishponds. all of which fed the population of a growing Honolulu.  

Read more about Moi‘ili“ili's underground caves and water systems, and the fatal accident in 1934 that changed this unique ecosystem and environment almost overnight, in Historian Peter Young's blog, Ho‘okuleana / To take responsibility.