KAILUA-KONA — Two properties on Honokaa’s main street have been nominated to the National Register of Historic Places.
The National Park Service is considering adding the Matsujiro Fujino property at 45-3390 Mamane St., and the Honokaa Garage property at 45-3586 Mamane St., to the register, according to the U.S. Federal Register published July 30.
The service is seeking comment from the public on the significance of the properties nominated. Comments may be sent to National Register of Historic Places, National Park Service, 1849 C St. NW, MS 7228, Washington, DC 20240. They are due by Aug. 14.
The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the United States historic buildings, districts, sites, structures, and objects worthy of preservation. It was established as part of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 and is overseen by the National Park Service.
According to the Department of Land and Natural Resources State Historic Preservation Division, which nominated the Matsujiro Fujino property, the M. Fujino Store, a commercial store and family residence, was constructed in 1925 with the addition of a garage in 1939 and a basement and additional room in 1956.
The M. Fujino Store operated at the location on the makai side of Mamane Street from 1925 to 1957 selling groceries, Japanese silk goods, tobacco, cold drinks and more, according to SHPD. Since closing, the building has hosted a handful of businesses including Margaret’s Kitchen and Ken’s Wholesale, as well as C C Jon’s Snack In’ Shoppe, which operated from 1978 before closing in 2015 when the Fujino heirs sold the building.
According to the nomination form: “The Fujino Building Property conveys its sense of historic character through structural and associative integrity, and it has documented historical significance within the contexts of the development of Honokaa. It is representative of the development of small ‘Mom and Pop’ businesses and specialty services outside the plantation hegemony. The community benefited from these independent businesses, their policy of ‘all comers welcomed,’ and the resulting social integration.
“Customers benefited from the increased range of goods available. The Fujino Store is a good example of a general merchandise store which featured goods such as coffins and modest luxury items not found in other stores in Honokaa.”
The Honokaa Garage, located on the makai side of Mamane Street, dates to 1912-14 as the M.S. Botelho Garage and served for decades as an automobile garage and gas and oil station. It’s also been known as Kuramitsu Garage and Paiva Garage. It’s currently Honokaa Marketplace.
Unsubstantiated town lore says the building dates to 1896 and housed a Japanese theater.
“The Honokaa Garage is associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad development patterns of Honokaa and Hawaiian history in the area of commerce, as an important later 19th/early 20th century automotive servicing center for the local (sugar) plantation workers, ranchers, and independent farmers. The building’s simple yet commanding presence on Honokaa’s main street and has long been established as an important focal point for town activities and events,” the registration form nominating the property states.