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Tuesday, February 07, 2012

100 Years Ago Today - Duke Leaves Hawaii

It was on this day, February 7th, in 1912 that Duke Kahanamoku left Hawaii for the first time. He was on his way to the Olympic Trials on the mainland. Duke had recently smashed swimming records at the Amateur Athletic Union's first swim meet in the Territory of Hawaii and much hope was being placed on sending Duke to the mainland to represent Hawaii.

“It would be a good thing for Hawaii from an advertising standpoint if Kahanamoku were sent to San Francisco to take part in the trials. Win or lose, he can be relied on to make a credible showing” – H.M. Ayres, sportswriter for The Hawaiian Star, January 4th 1912.

Duke and his travelling partners "were literally smothered with leis and were the recipients of countless good wishes from friends and well-wishers." (Hawaiian Star - February 8th, 1912). Accompanying Duke was another Olympic hopeful, the distance swimmer, Vincent "Zen" Genoves, as well as the expedition manager, Lew Henderson, and last minute addition, E.K. "Dude" Miller. 

"It was decided at the last moment to send Miller along. He knows the boys intimately and can talk Hawaiian, a fact which should be of great help to the expedition as far as Kahanamoku is concerned."(Hawaiian Star - February 7th, 1912).

The group left Honolulu aboard the S.S. Honolulan bound for San Francisco. In the coming weeks, Olympic Trials were being held in Pittsburgh, Chicago and New York. 

“The Hui Nalu gave their club yell, a quintet club sang “Aloha Oe”, Berringer’s Band struck up “Auld Lang Syne” and it was off and away with the speedy water artist on whom the Territory is banking to bring her much fame and advertisement.” (Hawaiian Star - February 8th, 1912).

The above photo is mis-captioned. From left to right are Genoves, Miller, Kahanamoku and Henderson. The photo is from the February 27th edition of the Hawaiian Star, but the picture was obviously taken upon departure from Honolulu as there would have been no other locations where the group would have been showered in leis.

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