Honolulu's Changing Landscape

Linda Jones
Linda Jones
Mason Glenn
Mason Glenn

By Paul Drewes

(KHNL) - While many Island businesses come and go, ones that have been here for decades, can be missed long after they are gone.

Because some were more than just a business, but also reminders of our past.

Its hard to miss the towering cranes and construction happening in Honolulu.

But while shiny new buildings are being put in place, several longtime businesses have closed this past week, leaving some with a sense of sadness.

"I saw the closed sign and i was flabbergasted," says Mike Ferguson, over the closure of TGI Fridays.

Along with the Ward and Waikiki Friday's shutting down, this week we also saw the final frames of the Kam Bowl.

"I'm going to miss this place, I'm really going to miss this place," says one saddened bowler.

And over the weekend, the Varsity Theatre went dark.

"Today is the last day at Varsity Theatres and it's just horrible," said Linda Jones on the movie house's final day.

But its more than just movies many will miss, its also the decades long connection they made with these Island businesses.

"When something like that goes, you lose a piece of your past," says Glenn Mason, a local architect who encourages saving historic buildings.

Because it may not be just the businesses packing up, the buildings could also go as well.

The historic Waikiki Theatre was leveled to make room for new shops. But it doesn't have to be the case.

Just because a building is no longer being used, its not always used up.

A good example is the Hawaii Theatre, which was slated for demolition but has been restored to a beautiful place for the performing arts. A look around downtown or chinatown, will showcase the different building styles from our past. These old structures hold more than familiar businesses, they can also hold memories for many.

"Old buildings are representations to our past and they anchor us to our past. Preserving important historic buildings is essential to maintaining our sense of who we are where we came from," adds Mason.

Meanwhile, an update on the Kam Bowl, the lanes are closed, but its popular restaurant and barber shop are staying open for another week. They will close for good Thursday, June 28.