Byran O. Clark, a California citrus farmer, read about the Hawaii Land Act of 1895. The Act gave land to individuals who wanted to homestead for three years in order to qualify for the right to purchase land for farming. Mr. Clark gathered twelve families from California to settle the land that is the present site of Wahiawa.
Wahiawa District is on an island surrounded by the north and south forks of the Kaukonahua Stream. The north fork of the Kaukonahua Stream proved to be unexpected an obstacle for the homesteaders. There was no bridge, so for three years anything that came into or out of Wahiawa had to cross at the ford, which is near the present day Cypress Avenue. In 1902, the community built a wooden, single lane bridge just east of the present day A. A. Wilson Bridge.
The area now became known as the Wahiawa Colony Tract. The homesteaders formed a settlement association known as the Hawaii Fruit and Plant Company. The area was planted with various fruit trees and pineapple. Although hundreds of fruit trees were planted, the area seemed to be perfect for the cultivation of pineapple.
By 1906, the pineapple farmers were having difficulties in getting their crop to market. The Settlement Association voted to give a free depot and railroad yard to the Oahu Railway and Land company as an enticement for the railway to extend the railroad tracks from Waipahu Mill into Wahiawa. This extension was 9.4 miles long, had 45 curves, and an upgrade of 880 feet. The cost of building the line was $150,000 and took 6 months.
The first train passed over the rails on July 11, 1906. Two trains were scheduled to run daily; one in the morning and the other in the afternoon. The afternoon train was a mix of freight cars and passenger coaches. A round trip fare was $1.80 for an adult. The train helped the Hawaiian Fruit and Plant Company to get their freight into and out of Wahiawa.
The civic association called the Wahiawa Improvement Club followed the Settlement Association. A. A. Wilson was named the president of the club. His first item of business in 1923 was to appoint Bradshaw Harrison to research various types of bridges and select one that would best fit the needs of the Wahiawa area. After reviewing statistics, Harrison decided on a steel structure. Although a steel brudge would cost more than a cement bridge, the upkeep would be much less.
The Virginia Bridge & Iron Company of Roanoke, Virginia build the new bridge which opened to traffic on January 21, 1927, at a cost of $104,000. The community called the new bridge "the airplane bridge" because the sound of tires going across the bridge sounded like a propeller-driven airplane. The bridge was named for A. A. Wilson.
In 1948, when the bridge was 21 years old, there was talk about replacing it. But nothing happened until the bridge was 50 years old. A federally-funded project was started by C. K. Moseman Construction Company on March 14, 1977. The six-lane bridge was scheduled to be completed by November 9, 1979, but due to problems with an unstable foundation, it was finally opened for traffic in the spring of 1984.It took seven long years to complete.
Last modified 4 March 2017.
©2017 Wahiawa Historical Society. All rights reserved. Pages by Bob Lormand