The Howard Hughes Corporation is bringing back a familiar name for its newest developments. Victoria Ward was a leading businesswoman in Honolulu — with her community contributions starting in the 19th century.
The Howard Hughes Corp. has just dedicated a centerpiece park in the heart of its 60-acre development and named it after Victoria Ward. The developer’s next high rise apartment building, to go up adjacent to the park, will be called Victoria Place.
Victoria Ward was born in 1846, daughter of an English shipwright, John James Robinson, who was one of Honolulu’s largest employers at the time. In 1865, at the age of 19, she married a Kentucky native named Curtis Perry Ward, who had lived in Hawaii for 12 years. Starting in 1870, the couple acquired parcels of land in an area then known as Koula, near Thomas Square. In all, the they amassed 100 acres, extending from King Street to the ocean, bound on the Ewa side by the Catholic cemetery and the land that would later house McKinley High School in the Diamond Head Side. There they build a grand home they called The Old Plantation.
Curtis Ward died at 53, leaving his 35-year-old widow with children to raise and businesses to run. She took over the business of transporting goods, which she later sold, leased out a salt operation, and ran the Koula lands as a working farm.
Victoria Ward died in 1935, but not before forming Victoria Ward Ltd. To pass on her lands to her own daughters. By that time the city had grown, and Ward had already been in legal battles, over the price the city offered to run Kapiolani Boulevard through her property. To this day, the pattern of development in the area is defined by the original Ward holdings. The Neal Blaisdell Concert Hall stands roughly where the family house stood. And what Howard Hughes is developing are the lands makai of Kapiolani Boulevard that Victoria Ward Ltd. sold in 2007 to General Growth Properties for $250 million.