Press "Enter" to skip to content

ISLAND HISTORY: The harlots of Wailua Homesteads, Kaua‘i

In his book, “Kaua‘i As It Was In the 1940s and 1950s,” Mike Ashman (1921-2018), a radio broadcaster at KTOH radio, Lihu‘e, during 1940 and 1941, and later during 1948 through 1952, wrote a chapter about the harlots he’d heard tell of residing at Wailua Homesteads, Kaua‘i, in 1940.

Ashman wrote: “There were two or three cottages separated alongside what today is called Kamalu Road. Built like plantation houses, they had three bedrooms, a bath, and a combination kitchen-living room. On the covered lanai in front was a long wooden bench where, on very busy nights, patrons waited their turn to be invited inside. At the small kitchen table were about four chairs where the next batch of customers was served cold beer or soft drinks along with bagoong and kim chee.

“Most of the girls were haoles from the mainland, a few were locals, and some were Polynesians from the South Pacific.”

If asked, they would reply with variations of, “We’re here to make a lot of money and then go back home with a nice nest egg, get married, and raise a family.”

According to Ashman, “A couple appeared on Kaua‘i one day. She was a tall, slender, stately Samoan who looked like she might have been a high school beauty queen. He was a handsome Afro-American.

“She went to work for Von Hamm Young Company as a part-time outside saleswoman, peddling her bike through plantation camps, selling household appliances and bicycles. He volunteered to work free as a disk jockey for KTOH.

“Early every afternoon he would drop her off at some plantation camp, where she began making calls on homemakers. Later, as the men returned from the fields, she peddled her bike to their cottages and dormitories. If they desired something other than electric frying pans or bicycles, she’d sell it. When the plantation whistle blew at 8 p.m. she’d close her display case and wait for him to pick her up.

“After a number of months, the police called KTOH to tell me the couple was to be arrested and shipped off to Honolulu.”
Source: The Garden Island

Be First to Comment

    Leave a Reply