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Views of the Eruption, 1907.

Cover Image: Masthead of Ka Nupepa Kuokoa published on January 25, 1907.

Aloha Nūhou Monday!

Just as the Mauna Loa eruption this past year did not last very long, so too was the 1907 eruption which only lasted about two weeks. Today’s post shows views of the eruption, both through the lens of a camera and through the eyes of three artists.

Image: “Ohohhia Nuiia o Luahine Pele e na Makaikai.” Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, January 25, 1907, p. 1.


The Mauna Loa and the Kīnaʻu are Filled with Honolulu’s Multitudes Traveling to See Pele.

According to the news heard these days, the lava flow on Hawaiʻi continues, and it is this great lava flow that those fond of travel were excited to go and see last week Saturday.

There were several hundred who squeezed together into the office of the steamship company to purchase tickets for them to go. The steamships that carried the travelers to where they could see the flowing lava were the Kīnaʻu and the Mauna Loa.

These ships departed Honolulu at 10:00 on Saturday morning, but the Mauna Loa left at 10:00 on the dot and the Kīnaʻu left at 10:30.

When the ships went past Lānaʻi, the conditions of the day were seen. Because of the smoke from the caldeira, the haze was like fog blocking the light.

At 10:30 on Saturday the passengers on the Mauna Loa began to see the burning lava and they all rose to observe that thing which they greatly desired to see.

At daybreak on Sunday, the ships were enjoying the calm at the border of Kona next to Kaʻū. Captain Simerson (Elena) thought to sail the ships to where he saw the lava flow some days earlier, but when he sailed there, the lava no longer was flowing. Therefore, they turned back to where they stopped earlier at Puʻu Pele, and from there the passengers were let out.

Those who got horses at Hoʻopuloa went on horseback while those who were without horses climbed by foot. And for those who were adamant that it was a very far climb, they remained on the ship. The distance to this area where the lava was flowing was four miles from the ship.

From among all the passengers who strived to be first to arrive where the lava was burning, to the gentleman Frank Armstrong goes that honor. But the $10 prize from the president of the steamship company went to Mrs. Marshal, the very first lady from the passengers of the Kīnaʻu who arrived to where the lava was, and to Miss Ada Rhodes of the passengers of the Mauna Loa, $10. This prize only went to the ladies.

The lava that the sightseers witnessed burned and flowed calmly. The expanse of the area covered by the lava reached half a mile in width. And when they understood the nature of the flow, they could guess it traveled about forty-five feet per hour. The lava is not flowing equally; some of it flows ahead while some comes from behind.

According to the accounts of some of the people, all of the lava comes flowing and rises upwards to about a hundred and fifty feet high. When you looked at it, it was as if it was fire spreading in the forest.

At 6:00 on Sunday evening, the steamships left Hawaiʻi and returned here in Honolulu on Monday morning.

(Kuokoa, 1/25/1907, p. 1)

Image: A view of the 1907 eruption of Mauna Loa by George Stratemeyer. “Ka pele o Mauna Loa.” Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, January 18, 1907, p. 3.

Image: The lava as seen by the sightseers. “Ka Pele a na Makaikai e Nana ana.” Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, January 25, 1907, p. 6.

Image: This is one of the scenes. “O Keia Kekahi o na Hiohiona.” Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, January 25, 1907, p. 6.

Image: The ʻōhiʻa are uprooted by the lava flow. “Ulaa Pu ia na Ohia i ka Pele e Kahe ana.” Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, January 25, 1907, p. 6.

Image: Lava flowing over the ʻaʻā rock. “Ke Kahe ana o ka Pele Maluna o ke A.” Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, January 25, 1907, p. 6.

Image: A view of the lava, by J. T. Stacker. “Kekahi Hiona o ka Pele.” Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, January 25, 1907, p. 7.

Image: The blazing of the fires of Mokuʻāweoweo, Mauna Loa, by D. Howard Hitchcock. “Ka Lalapa o ke Ahi o Mokuaweoweo, Mauna Loa.” Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, February 1, 1907, p. 3.

Image: The Scene after Three Days of Blazes. “Ka Hiohiona Keia mahope o Ekolu La o ka Lalapa ana.” Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, February 1, 1907, p. 6.

Image: The Stirring of the Fires of Mokuʻāweoweo. “Eia no Keia Wiliau o ke Ahi o Mokuaweoweo.” Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, February 1, 1907, p. 6.

This post is part of He Aupuni Palapala: Preserving and Digitizing the Hawaiian Language Newspapers, a partnership between Bishop Museum and Awaiaulu with assistance from Kamehameha Schools. Mahalo nui loa to Hawaii Tourism Authority for their support. Learn more about this project here.

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