Do You Have Great Natatorium Photos Like This?

Violet Louis-5-HiRes

Time to check your ohana’s photo albums, scrap books, storage boxes and slide carousels.

We need photos of you, your family and your friends at the War Memorial Natatorium in Waikiki. If you have home movies, even better.


The Friends of the Natatorium are working with the film and television pros at TalkStory Productions to produce a documentary.

We want to tell the Natatorium’s story. From the global conflict it was built to commemorate to the Olympic champions who swam at the Tank and international swimming records set there.

But more than a sports history piece, it’s a love story: The love of the people of Hawaii for ohana, for enjoying our ocean together, and for happy memories and sacred places. We want to share those personal stories about your family’s ties to the Natatorium.

And what better time to tell those stories? 2015 marks the 125th birthday of Duke Kahanamoku, the Olympic hero, surfer and cultural icon who ceremonially opened the Natatorium on his 37th birthday in 1927. And this is also the 90th anniversary year of the vote in the territorial legislature to go ahead with construction of our War Memorial on the shore of Waikiki.

Violet Louis-3-HiRes

Natatorium lifeguard/swim teacher, big band singer, and Pearl Harbor witness Violet Louis at “the Tank.”

Mahalo, Jeri!

Our search for archival photos and footage for this production is off to a great start, thanks to Oahu native Jeri Williams and the Natatorium photos passed down to her from her late mother, Violet Louis Williams.

Jeri, who now lives in California and works at UCLA, has kept and treasured those photos. Now you can enjoy them too. You see a couple on this page, but see them all in this Flickr photo album.

Be absolutely sure to read the captions; the stories are tremendous, particularly the one about Dec. 7, 1941. And click on the photos – especially the one of the iconic diving tower and slides – to enlarge them so you can appreciate the detail.

So What’s in Your Photo Albums?

Do you have photos of family outings at the Natatorium? International or local swim meets? Swimming lessons? Your dad’s poolside hijinks with his best pal growing up? Your grandmother and grandfather’s first date? Natatorium lifeguards in action?

Do you have color slides or 16 millimeter home movies?

We’re interested in all of it and more. Please be in touch with us at Mahalo!

More Mahalos!

Thanks also for their support of this project to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Philip and Gerry Wong Ching Family Fund, an anonymous donor, and the good folks at TalkStory Productions.

And a big, big thanks to the Star-Advertiser’s Bob Sigall for helping us to get the word out on this project in the Feb. 20 edition of his Rearview Mirror column.

Categories: Documentary, Friends of the Natatorium, History, Images, News coverage, Uncategorized, and Videos.