Coffee Break: Time-Tested Treasures
Matsumoto Plque Ceremony

JM. Matsumoto store celebrates 120 years in Hale‘iwa this year.     PHOTO COURTESY HSL

Jason Genegabus

Amidst the sleek glass and steel of new construction in urban Honolulu there stand silent sentinels of Hawai‘i history — buildings that have stood for a century or more.

To the untrained eye, these structures might seem like relics of a bygone era. But for those in the industry, they’re
also lessons in resilience, sustainability and artistry.

Why should we care? The answer lies in the inherent value of these buildings as vital characters in the overall narrative of Hawai‘i construction. They’re tangible connections to our past and offer insight into architectural trends, materials and techniques of previous eras. These structures are also part of our community’s identity and a reminder of where we come from as a community.

Two great examples of historical structures worth celebrating are the M. Yoshida Store buildings at Hale‘iwa Store Lots, which celebrated their 100th anniversaries in 2023. Meanwhile, the nearby M. Matsumoto Store building will have stood in the same spot for 120 years in 2024 — simply amazing!

All three properties are visible from Kamehameha Highway and are listed as “significant” within the Hale‘iwa Special District. These days, the M. Yoshida buildings are occupied by Rajanee Thai Hale‘iwa and Snoopy’s Surf Shop, while Matsumoto Shave Ice continues in the same spot since the Matsumoto family took over the building in 1951.

Hale‘iwa Store Lots was completed in 2015 as a redevelopment project of Kamehameha Schools, with a primary goal being to perpetuate the area’s rich history and culture.

The fact these buildings have stood for over a century is a testament to the quality of their construction.

As we move into 2024, let’s not overlook our past. These buildings aren’t just remnants of history; they’re beacons of inspiration, sustainability and cultural richness.


Jason Genegabus
Senior Editor
[email protected]

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