Ward Centers is Hawaii’s premier open-air, street shopping destination, located in the heart of Kaka‘ako and just minutes from world-famous Waikiki.
Consisting of five pedestrian-friendly shopping “neighborhoods,” Ward Centers is a community gathering place for all – locals and visitors alike.
Ward Centers is owned and managed by The Howard Hughes Corporation. The Howard Hughes Corporation is a preeminent developer and operator of a diverse portfolio of real estate assets in premier locations including, master planned communities and long-term mixed use properties in the United States. The Howard Hughes Corporation is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol HHC. For more information, visit www.howardhughes.com.
Over a hundred years ago, Victoria Ward and her husband, Curtis Perry Ward, once owned an estate comprising over 100 acres in central Honolulu, including the land where Ward Centers is situated. At its greatest extent, these lands stretched all the way from Thomas Square to the shore. Until Hawaiian property laws changed in the 1870's, the Ward's stewardship responsibilities included all of the fringing reef fronting their property as well as fishing rights that extended indefinitely out to sea.
Victoria was born in Nu'uanu in 1846, the daughter of English shipbuilder, James Robinson and his wife, Rebecca Previer, a woman of Hawaiian ancestry whose chiefly lineage had roots in Ka'u, Hilo and Honokowai, Maui. C.P. Ward, Victoria's future husband, was born and reared in Kentucky, and he arrived in Honolulu in 1853. A vocal defender of his southern homeland during the War Between the States, C.P. Ward is remembered for his business acumen and staunch family loyalty. In the years before his marriage to Victoria in 1865, Ward established a thriving livery and dray business that serviced bustling Honolulu Harbor.
As was common for many young married couples of English and Hawaiian ancestry during this period, Curtis and Victoria Ward socialized comfortably with Honolulu's expatriate British families as well as with members of the various Royal families. This was a period of considerable turbulence in Hawaiian political affairs, and Curtis and Victoria joined with their friends in resisting the rising power of the sugar barons and firmly opposed reciprocity with the United States. Even in later years, Victoria Ward held to her political convictions and remained a loyal friend and supporter of Lili'uokalani after the overthrow of the monarchy in 1893.
For many years, Curtis and Victoria made their home near Honolulu Harbor on property presently occupied by the Davies Pacific Center. Seven daughters were born during these years: Mary Elizabeth (the future Mrs. Frank Hustace), Kulamanu, May (the future Mrs. Ernest Wodehouse), Einei, Lucy, Kathleen and Lani.
The Wards built their final home, "Old Plantation," on property now occupied by the Blaisdell Concert Hall and Arena. Completed in 1882, this stately, Southern-style home featured an artesian well, vegetable and flower gardens, a large pond stocked with fish, and extensive pasturage for horses and cattle. Self-sufficient as a working farm, Old Plantation was surrounded by a vast coconut grove. A few of these same palms, all well over 100-years old, remain on the Concert Hall property. Old Plantation became one of the showplaces of Honolulu and remained substantially unchanged for nearly 80 years.
Members of the Ward Family worked hard to preserve Hawaiian cultural traditions and also supported many social service activities in the community. The Wards were early supporters of child welfare and animal rights, and they devoted considerable energy toward the establishment of the Hawaiian Humane Society. They also contributed financial support to Kapi'olani Maternity Hospital, St. Clement's Church, and to the Academy of the Sacred Hearts.
After the death of her husband in 1882, Victoria Ward and her daughters carried on active management of the family estate, and many of the land-use decisions they made still influence Honolulu's development and impact the lives of residents and visitors to this day.