Celebrate a Legacy Honoree Henry J. Kaiser
Henry J. Kaiser had already established himself as a noted industrialist when he came to Hawai‘i in 1954. Though in his seventies when he arrived in the islands, he lived up to his reputation as a mover and shaker, developing real estate and tourism projects on a grand scale. His first investment in Hawai‘i’s tourism industry was the purchase of the Niumalu Hotel and about 20 acres of land. With much bigger visions in mind, he demolished the old hotel and began construction of a signature property – the Hawaiian Village. But, the Hawaiian Village was much more than a hotel building. Henry added a lagoon to the grounds complete with boating facility, water activities, and a docking area for five pink catamarans (pink was the favorite color of his wife Alyce Chester Kaiser).
Always an innovator, Henry built the distinctive Kaiser Dome on the hotel property. The innovative design used lightweight aluminum (another of the industrialist’s interests) and provided the resort with space for small conventions and groups.
Henry sold his interests in the Hawaiian Village in the early 1960s, but continued to undertake big development projects in the islands. He developed Hawai‘i Kai as a residential community with 12,000 homes, shopping centers, marinas, a golf course and other municipal facilities. He also founded and developed Kaiser Permanente Hospital and KHVH radio.
Henry’s Kaiser’s imprint on Hawai‘i remains with the buildings and developments that he created.